Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Making of Q Pootle 5: An Interview With Author Nick Butterworth

Nick Butterworth is a multi-million selling, award-winning author and illustrator. His books include Q Pootle 5, the Percy The Park Keeper series, Tiger, Albert Le Blanc and The Whisperer. Nick has sold over 15 million books worldwide and his books have been published in more than 30 languages.

His book Q Pootle 5 has recently made the big leap from page to small screen, and he is the Executive Producer, Production Designer and Writer of the show.  Here he talks about the making of the series.

How would you describe Q Pootle 5 as a show?

Q Pootle 5 is a fun and exciting show with friendship at its heart. It taps into the world of young children where imagination always trumps reality!

And how would you describe him as a character?

Q Pootle 5 is a friendly and fun-loving person who has a real sense of adventure. He’s very kind and loves spending time with his friends. He’s good at solving problems – but he’s not infallible – sometimes it can be a problem of his own making!

How did Q Pootle 5 make the jump from book to screen? Tell us about the creative process...

The idea came from my two books, Q Pootle 5 and Q Pootle 5 In Space. My son, Ben and I initially looked at the two books and the characters that we felt could be developed. Ideas would arrive very quickly. For example, one of us might suddenly ask, “Where does a character live?” and from this, we might develop a number of ideas, not always related to the original question! It was very satisfying when one idea sparked another. Of course we wanted to maintain the integrity of the original books, but the possibilities that animation offered, the creation of a world with movement, voices, music and sound effects, inspired us to take things further.

Snapper is a family company – what is it like working with your family on the series?

Speaking for myself and for my wife Annette, who is also deeply involved in the production process, I can say that it has been a real pleasure. We each have individual strengths and areas of responsibility. But we also have a certain amount of overlap.

What do you love about Q Pootle 5?

For me it has been hugely satisfying to be able to widen the scope of what I have been trying to do in the field of children’s books. TV is a much more collaborative process than publishing. Working with Ben and Annette has allowed me to work with people I like and respect towards the common goal of creating a high quality, narrative based children’s TV series.

What makes the show appealing to the pre-school audience (and parents)?

Space is exciting and intriguing to people. The series has diverse, strong stories and rich nuanced characters that people can identify with. There is a lot of fun and laughter in the series and some very tender moments too, which all seem to really resonate with children and parents. Why did you choose to create the show in CGI? CGI gives us the opportunity to create very real environments and we knew with the right animators – and Blue Zoo are very much the right animators – we could realise much more of our vision for the series. Being able to move and fly through the world and space in three dimensions gave us so much scope for storytelling.

Ed Gaughan is the voice of Q Pootle 5, here is what he has to say about the show.

Tell us about Q Pootle 5 - how would you describe the show?

Q Pootle 5 is an animated series set in space, on a planet called Okidoki. It follows the adventures of a group of loveable alien friends. The show feels to me like the children’s TV I grew up loving, such as Mr Benn and The Wombles, as it is very character driven.

Tell us about your favourite character in the show ...

All the characters are ace but we all have a soft spot for Planet Dave!

What’s your favourite thing about him?

I love his lugubrious voice.

What do you think it is about the show that children are going to enjoy?

The characters and their interaction, the music, the spaceships!

What was it like working with Nick Butterworth and the team?

Nick and the team are great. They have a clear idea of what they want but allow us the freedom to make the characters come alive.

What was your favourite TV series as a kid?

Mr Benn, The Wombles, Bagpuss, Chortlon and the Wheelies, Top Cat, Stingray and Thunderbirds.

Lara is already a big fan of the show, which airs every morning at 8.15am on CBeebies.

Don't miss your chance to
win a copy of the original book the series is based on
in our giveaway.

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