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Friday, 25 February, 2000, 11:29 GMT
Tweenies take on the world
The Tweenies
The Tweenies have enjoyed a meteoric rise
Children's BBC stars the Tweenies are on the road to global stardom after being snapped up by a host of foreign networks.

The all-singing and dancing capers of the colourful foursome have been bought by broadcasters in France, Australia, Portugal, South Africa and Singapore.

The deals have netted the BBC Wordwide 3m and make the Tweenies the fastest-selling children's product from the corporation's commercial arm - outstripping their famous predecessors the Teletubbies.

Forward-thinking

The international appeal of the Tweenies mirrors their instant success amongst the under-fives in the UK since making their debut last autumn.

They are designed to complement the Teletubbies in broadcasters' schedules, the property is already exceeding expectations in all areas

Jeff Taylor, BBC Worldwide
And Jeff Taylor, BBC Worldwide's director of global marketing and brand development, has expressed his confidence in the Tweenies' future.

"While today's children still tune in to television, they take for granted a far wider choice of media and products, including the internet, books, videos, magazines, toys and other associated products," he explained.

"Our vision for the future is to engage children around the world and across all media in a way that makes a real difference to their lives. We firmly believe that the Tweenies, like the Teletubbies, achieve just this.

"They are designed to complement the Teletubbies in broadcasters' schedules, the property is already exceeding expectations in all areas."

A further 20 countries are said to be interested in screening the programme and a European deal has been signed with toy makers Hasbro.

Recipe for success

The BBC says the Tweenies, made by independent producer Tell-Tale Productions, is primarily for children who have graduated from the Teletubbies.
The Teletubbies
The Teletubbies have been outshone
Jake, Fizz, Milo and Bella are the four gaudy-coloured child-like characters who play, sing and explore their world, along with Doodles the dog.

But the Tweenies - unlike the Teletubbies - have different ages and emotional depth.

Producer Will Brenton said: "We wanted the Tweenies to walk, talk and have the dexterity that youngsters have and we wanted them to be able to convey emotion and character through their facial expressions."

The formula seems to have worked. UK figures show that sales for the Tweenies videos Song Time and Ready to Play are close to 900,000.

Tweenies' toy sales are nearing one million, 500,000 books and 400,000 magazines featuring the characters have also been sold, while the Tweenies website averages 600,000 hits a month.

Next week sees the start of BBC Showcase - an annual market for broadcasters to view and purchase the corporation's programmes.

More than 400 buyers are expected to attend the Brighton event and the Tweenies are expected to be one of the hottest properties on the shelf.

See also:

23 Nov 98 | Entertainment
Teletubbies face Tweenie battle
29 Jul 99 | Entertainment
The battle for tots' TV
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