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Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 16:03 GMT
Barbie eyes new horizons
Barbie's 40th birthday bash in 1999
Barbie, the world's best-selling doll, is entering the world of movies and electronic games.

Barbie, like all little girls, is constantly evolving and never stands still

Mattel spokeswoman
The announcement by Mattel, the US-owned company that makes Barbie, at the American International Toy Fair signifies new directions for the $1.5bn (1.04bn) selling doll who has been around since 1959.

A UK spokesperson for Mattel, the company that also make Cabbage Patch Kids and Sesame Street toys, said: "Barbie, like all little girls, is constantly evolving and never stands still."

Remember when: The very first Barbie in 1959
"This is just a continuation of what makes Barbie relevant and so popular."

Barbie already features on CD-Rom but this will be her first venture into handheld computer game.

It is hoped that the technology will retain fans' interest in Barbie as they get older.

Return to form

The 84-minute straight-to-video animated film stars Barbie as Clara in The Nutcracker, choreographed by the master-in-chief of the New York City Ballet and with music by the London Symphony Orchestra.

One animator's entire job is dedicated to getting the swish of Barbie's hair just right in the animated ballet.

A host of vintage Barbies
Barbie starred in a work-out video in 1990, a venture which did not sell well, but this time Mattel thinks it has hit on a winner.

"Ballet is a top play pattern for girls and The Nutcracker is the classic Christmas ballet so this should really interest them," said the spokeswoman.

The film will be accompanied by a range of Nutcracker Barbie dolls, a book and ornaments.

Barbie's fortunes floundered in the 90s but have recently returned to form.

"She's been around for 42 years and she's still the number one in the UK," said the UK spokeswoman.

See also:

02 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Posh and Elton's Barbie party
21 Jul 99 | The Company File
Barbie gets hitched to Power Rangers
08 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Barbie: Sparkling at 40
28 Apr 00 | Education
Barbie unveils education policy
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