London, 5th July, 2016 – Comedian, musician and actor, Bill Bailey will play the loyal and lovable Wilbur the cat in the brand new animation series, Winnie and Wilbur set to air on Channel 5’s hugely popular pre-school strand, Milkshake.
Bill Bailey said “Winnie the Witch is already a huge hit with kids all over the world so I’m delighted to bring Wilbur to life. I’ve got a lot in common with this cat: we’re both extremely agile, we both love cheesecake, and given half a change, we like to fall asleep in a cosy basket.”
Bailey joins comedian Katy Brand who was announced as the voice of Winnie in November. Based on the best-selling Winnie the Witch books by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul, published by Oxford University Press, Winnie and Wilbur is currently in production with UK-based Winduna Enterprises and will air on Milkshake in 2017.
An accomplished musician and unique comic talent, Bailey is known for his work on television shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Black Books. He is currently on tour with his latest live show Limboland.
Clair Robinson, Acting Head of Children’s at Channel 5 said, “Bill is the ideal choice for Wilbur and audiences will be truly tickled by his performance. Bill and Katy are a dream team as our lead characters and I cannot wait for the series to premiere on Milkshake.”
Since Winnie the Witch was first published in 1987 the series has continuously expanded, currently selling over 7 million copies worldwide. The series follows Winnie, a wild, unpredictable and totally lovable witch and Wilbur, her cat and long-suffering best friend who gets caught up in Winnie’s wonderfully wrong spells and their hair-raising consequences. Their amazing and hilarious adventures will be turned into 52 x 11 minute episodes for a target audience of 4-7 year olds. Winduna is working with the renowned animation studio King Rollo Films to recreate the intricate, rich and lively graphical style of Korky Paul’s illustrations with techniques that completely preserve the original look of the beloved book series.
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Notes to editors:
About Milkshake Viewing
Milkshake saw its best ever year on record in 2015, delivering YoY growth in audience share among key demographics, with 19 million viewers tuning in. 2016 continues this trend, seeing Milkshake achieve its strongest year to date figures on record amongst 4 of its target groups (Children, 4-9s, Boys 4-9 and HWK), and maintaining its position as the leading breakfast channel among children in consecutive months since November 2015.
Channel 5’s Milkshake is home to some of the world’s favourite preschool characters. There is a range of stimulating and engaging programmes that include strong story led animation, genuine documentaries for pre-schoolers and presenter led high quality musical entertainment. Channel 5 broadcasts 24 hours of children’s programmes every week. Milkshake is on air from 0600 – 0915 every weekday and 0600 – 10.00 on Saturday and Sunday. For further information visit www.milkshake.tv
About Channel 5
Channel 5 launched as Britain’s fifth public service broadcaster in March 1997 and reaches 4 in 5 of the UK viewing public each month with a broad mix of popular content, including quality factual programmes, entertainment, reality, sport, 5 News, acquired and original drama and pre-school children’s programming through its award winning Milkshake strand. Sister channels 5* and 5USA compliment Channel 5 with a mix of must see entertainment and US drama, while Demand 5 is a free video on demand service with the latest programmes from Channel 5, 5USA, 5* and milkshake! Demand 5 is available on Channel5.com, set top boxes, Smart TVs, games consoles and mobile devices. For all the latest news from Channel 5, follow us on Twitter @channel5press, @channel5_tv and @demand5_tv
About Viacom International Media Networks
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is comprised of many of the world’s most popular multimedia entertainment brands, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Channel, VH1, VIVA and COLORS. Viacom brands are seen globally in more than 600 million households in 170 territories and 37 languages via more than 200 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than 550 digital media and mobile TV properties. For more information about Viacom and its businesses, visit www.viacom.com. Keep up with Viacom news by following Viacom’s blog at blog.viacom.com and Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/Viacom.
About Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press (OUP) is a department of the University of Oxford. OUP Children’s Books has something for every child with a children’s list that includes picture books, fiction, poetry, home learning, dictionaries and non-fiction.
Our list includes many award-winning authors such as Tim Bowler, Gillian Cross, and Geraldine McCaughrean, as well as debut authors and spectacular illustrators. Favourite picture books such as Winnie the Witch continue to delight children, and our wonderful non-fiction titles are full of fascinating facts to enthral young readers.
We offer a home-learning and dictionary range that provides the only complete dictionary range for children aged between 4 and 16, and the ever expanding Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper scheme based on the ever popular Oxford Reading Tree.
For further information visit www.oxfordchildrens.co.uk or contact Harriet Bayly on 07981 887363 or Harriet.email@example.com