Page last updated at 05:57 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 06:57 UK

Singing sheep show for Al Jazeera

The Baaas sheep family
Baaas aims to give youngsters a taste of a wide range of musical styles

S4C and a Welsh TV production company are joining forces with an Arabic channel to produce a children's series about a singing sheep family.

Baaas will air in Welsh this autumn and in Arabic in early 2009, when the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera launches its own children's channel.

It is thought this is the first UK collaboration for the Arabic channel.

Baaas was first sold to Al Jazeera in 2006 and the Welsh fourth channel said it values their "new relationship".

The two TV channels with begin work next month with Cardiff-based Cynyrchiadau Ceidiog Creations, on a the 52x15-minute series of the pre-school show about an extended family of all-singing, all-dancing multi-racial sheep.

Editing will the be carried out by two companies based in Cardiff while the Arabic version will also be completed in Cardiff.

We are confident that Baaas, like the first series, will prove successful with the Arabic pre-schoolers
Malika Alouane, Al Jazeera

Baaas will air in Welsh under the title Meees in the autumn, as part of S4C's new provision for nursery age children, which will be broadcast on the channel's digital service, available across the UK. It will also be available online.

It will then be broadcast on Al Jazeera Children's Channel's new pre-school service, which is being launched early in 2009 and which is transmitted in Arab and European countries.

Baaas aims to give youngsters a taste of a wide range of musical styles, from opera to rap, while also placing a strong emphasis on family interaction as well as green themes such as recycling.

The series' characters are played by actors dressed in costumes and masks, with animatronic technology controlling facial expressions.

'Strength of creativity'

Delyth Wynne Griffiths, S4C's Director of Business Affairs, said, "S4C values this new relationship with Al Jazeera, in particular given our common interest to provide high quality content for pre-school children.

"This deal is also a reflection of the strength of creativity and rights exploitation among Welsh production companies."

Nia Ceidiog, Baaas' creator and producer and Director of Cynyrchiadau Ceidiog Creations, said, "This colourful, engaging series looks at sibling and family dynamics in a fun way, reflecting the nature of modern-day familial relationships.

"As well as providing youngsters with lively entertainment it will also help support their personal and social development."

Malika Alouane, Director of Communications at Al Jazeera Children's Channel, said, "We are pleased to be part of this first-of-kind children programming co-production, as an Arabic children's broadcaster with major production interest.

"We are confident that Baaas, like the first series, will prove successful with the Arabic pre-schoolers."

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