The BBC’s flagship autumn show for kids, Shoebox Zoo, meant bringing Celtic carvings to life while working with a transatlantic team of animators, artists and compositors.

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If the characters of Ailsa the Adder, Bruno the Bear, Edwin the Eagle and Wolfgang the Wolf mean nothing to you, then you don’t watch enough children’s TV. The CBBC series Shoebox Zoo, which was also shown on Sunday afternoons on BBC1, was a highlight for children this autumn.
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Combining Celtic mythology with CGI characters, the show used the well-known voices of Rik Mayall, Simon Callow, Alan Cumming, and Siobhan Redmond. The Celtic relics in the show are conjured to life by 11-year-old Marnie McBride.
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Though produced by CBBC Scotland, the creation of the characters, and graphic design for the series fell to the London-based BBC Post Production. It was one of four companies invited to pitch for the job by Claire Mundell, head of BBC Scotland, and went on to work with a pre-production and production unit based in a lighthouse in Scotland, and Canadian animation house Calibre Digital Pictures. 
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BBC Post Production’s team for Shoebox Zoo was led by animation design consultant Paul Kavanagh, plus post producer Ashleigh Lane, animators Mike Gilbert and Warren Fearn, and illustrator Pete Wane. Their first job was to design the four central CGI characters. Real-world carvings (actually resin models) would eventually to be made to complement the animated characters, and be used on-set during filming. 
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