The tyke market: United Kingdom

Hamilton Mattress

Producing Company: Harvest Films

Distributors: Link Entertainment, Egmont Imagination

Creatives: John Webster, Anna Farthing (writers); Barry Purves (director); Christopher Moll (producer); Farrington Lewis (art direction and props); Mackinnon & Saunders (models)

Number of episodes/length: 29-minute special; further episodes outlined

Concept: Hamilton, an aardvark with a talent for drumming, goes to the big city with his agent — Feldwick, a caterpillar — to make a name for himself.

Selling point: High-quality model animation with a lavish budget by TV standards — £1.4 million ($2.1 million). Similar appeal as the “Wallace & Gromit” films and “Chicken Run,” drawing on much of the same talent in Aardman’s home town, Bristol. First conceived by John Webster, the legendary advertising creative, in the early 1980s, “Hamilton Mattress” was finally brought to life by Chris Moll, a former Aardman producer, and the BBC Animation Unit, headed by Colin Rose. Music, a book (“The World of Hamilton Mattress”) and a licensing program are also in the works.

Producers’ take: “A great story, very high-quality animation and strong music. It’s going to appeal to the same audience as ‘Wallace & Gromit,’ both adults and kids. Hamilton himself is somebody you just warm to. You’re very sympathetic to his dilemma,” says Claire Derry, managing director of Link Entertainment, which is co-funding the film along with the BBC and Egmont Imagination.

“‘Hamilton Mattress’ is a modern fable, wrapped up in comedy,” says Chris Moll. “It’s about an aardvark who wants to be beautiful and a caterpillar who wants to be rich. The aardvark discovers self-respect comes through his talent, not through the way he looks. The caterpillar discovers that friendship is more important than wealth.”

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