LONDON – Shaun the Sheep, a show featuring a doe-eyed animated farm animal from the makers of Wallace and Gromit, has come in at the top of a poll of the BBC’s favorite children’s TV characters from the past 70 years.
Shaun, who made his first appearance in Aardman Animation’s Oscar-winning stop-motion adventure A Close Shave in 1995, beat out Postman Pat, who came in second in the rankings based on votes compiled by Radio Times magazine and the British Film Institute. Paddington Bear came in sixth on the list and was also named favorite character from the 1970s, while the Teletubbies failed to make the top 10.
Since getting his own spinoff series in 2007, Shaun the Sheep has featured in some 130 episodes. The show has aired in 170 territories, including the Disney Channel in the U.S., and picked up two international Emmys and a children’s BAFTA award. An Aardman-produced Shaun film is currently in the works and set for a March release.
“I’m chuffed, flattered and delighted, on behalf of everyone who has worked on Shaun the Sheep, for this honor. Many BBC animated characters were a big and important part of my childhood. It’s amazing to think that Shaun will be a part of so many people’s happy memories,” creator Richard Starzak told Radio Times.
The list comes amid a recent increase in reboots of classic children’s TV shows in Britain. Last month, it was announced that Danger Mouse, the much-loved animated cartoon series that began in 1981 and aired for more than a decade on ITV, would be returning to screens next year with the BBC co-producing 52 new episodes.
Also making a BBC comeback is Teletubbies, which became a huge international success in the late 1990s. A new 60-episode series — this time in HD — will be made on a replica of the show’s iconic green outdoor set. The original set was dug up last year after the owner said she was tired of fans trespassing on the land.
And last week it was revealed that 1980s animated series SuperTed, about an anthropomorphic toy bear with cosmic powers, is scheduled to be revived, with a 2016 return eyed. However, creator Mike Young has admitted that the show’s characters might have to change to reflect current sensitivities.
“In SuperTed, we had a gun-slinging cowboy, a flamboyantly gay skeleton and a fat guy who had jokes made about his weight. And all these things you just wouldn’t do today. But you can still write the show in a funny, entertaining way,” he told Radio Times.
Meanwhile, a remake of 1960s sci-fi show Thunderbirds entitled Thunderbirds Are Go! — with effects coming from New Zealand’s Weta Workshop — is also in the works and due to air next year on ITV.