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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 13:06 GMT
Postman Pat faces update
Postman Pat
Postman Pat has enjoyed a 20-year run of success
Postman Pat faces changes to make the children's programme more relevant to today's young audiences.

But Entertainment Rights, which make the animated puppet show for the BBC, has dismissed reports that it had been asked to include black and Asian characters in the series.

"There has been no specific request to make the programme more multi-cultural," an Entertainment Rights spokeswoman told BBC News Online.
Postman Pat
Pat works in the fictitious village of Greendale

The BBC has also denied making any such request.

But the company said the series did have to be "redeveloped and refreshed" to keep up with "the changing lives of children".

"A brand needs to continually reinvent itself to keep its appeal," said the spokeswoman.

Success

Entertainment Rights bought the rights to Postman Pat after a 5.1m buy out of Woodland Animations in November.

The character, created more than 20 years ago by John Cunliffe, has been a long-standing success for BBC children's TV.

Mr Cunliffe was inspired to set the programme in the fictitious Lake District village of Greendale after he spent years working in the area.

No black characters have ever appeared on screen in Postman Pat's television run, although in the books Pat once worked with a Jamaican postlady.

The author has said that when he conceived the character there seemed to be no-one of Asian or West Indian origin living in Lake District area.

'Racial mix'

The Entertainment Rights spokeswoman said that the company did not know where the story about adding black characters had originated.

"I don't know where the story has come from and neither does John Cunliffe," she said.

"Postman Pat lives in a small Cumbrian village and it's not the same racial mix as a big city - but it's not something we're ruling out, either."

But Postman Pat fans are unlikely to see any changes soon.

"I doubt it will be next year - it takes so long to develop these ideas," said the spokeswoman.

See also:

08 Nov 01 | Business
Postman Pat sold for 5m
24 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
More children have TV 'in bedrooms'
19 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Postman Pat gets the sack
29 Oct 01 | Business
Pingu sold for 16m
28 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
The 100 Greatest TV Kids' Shows results
20 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Bob the Builder fixed for Japan
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