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Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Thursday, 30 September 2010 18:06 UK
Educational children's DVD created by Norfolk couple
Still from Jack and Holly's Christmas Countdown
Jack and Holly's Christmas Countdown explores Christmas themes

A couple from Norwich are hoping to take on the might of Disney and Warner Brothers with their children's DVD.

Jezz Wright and Julianne Martin came up with the idea for Jack and Holly's Christmas Countdown after purchasing an educational DVD for their son.

Unimpressed with the content, they decided to create their own cartoon.

"I think it counters a lot of the very brash, bright colours, fast cut aggressive programming that is aimed at children," said Mr Wright.

"When we had our son five years ago we bought quite a few educational DVDs and we were quite horrified just how little educative content there was.

"It was a conversation you have one evening with the other half - 'come on we can do better than this' - and so the seed was planted."

Best friends

The cartoon features two animated best friends exploring topics related to Christmas.

"The concept of Jack and Holly is that it's an early awareness DVD aimed at pre-schoolers which teaches children about the magic of Christmas," said Mr Wright.

"Christmas is that magical time of year that children look forward to but nobody really tells them what it's all about," he added.

With so many children's programmes with huge promotional budgets the couple hope that their unique selling point will establish them in a crowded marketplace.

"It's much more interactive. For a start the characters speak to the children, the viewer - from what we've seen that just doesn't happen on children's television" said Mr Wright.

"But from anecdotal evidence and focus groups of young pre-schoolers that we've shown the DVD to, they're responding.

"Jack and Holly will ask them if they understand and they're nodding back."

Children's television

Still from Jack and Holly's Christmas Countdown
The characters speak to the viewer drawing them in

The couple's background has helped them to create the final product, even though they admit that one aspect did catch them out.

"I've got a background in television production and in a past life was a journalist so I'm quite adapted to researching and finding out the facts and figures," said Mr Wright.

"My wife was a children's' television producer before she took some time out to look after the children.

"But we had very little experience in animation - that was a very steep learning curve!"

The DVD is already available to buy online and Mr Wright is looking forward to challenging the established studios.

"The proof of the pudding is in the product. If something is good it's 'Facebooked', it's blogged, it's talked about in cyberspace and parents are extremely astute when it comes to sites like Mumsnet and other parenting forums," said Mr Wright.

"I think that if the word gets out there - and we hope it will - then people will wax lyrical and we can give some of these corporates a run for their money. It's going to be good fun trying!"


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