Channel 4 commissions 50 Years of Mr Men to celebrate half a century of the children’s books

And reveal two new characters voted for by the public

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Channel 4

“Daddy, what does a tickle look like?”

When, in 1971, 8-year-old Adam Hargreaves uttered these immortal words little did he know he’d just given birth to one of the best loved, successful and psychologically important children’s characters of all time: the Mr. Men Little Miss books.

Presented by super fan, writer, actor and comedian, Matt Lucas, 50 Years of the Mr Men will chart the history of the colourful little characters who changed global publishing forever and found their way into the hearts and bedtime stories of generations of children around the world.

To celebrate this milestone birthday Adam Hargreaves, now Author and Illustrator, will be creating five prototype new characters for a global public vote, with the two most popular announced when the programme airs, before becoming the latest members of the Mr. Men Little Miss universe in September this year.

The film will celebrate 50 years of one of the best loved children’s characters of all time. A story that started with a ‘tickle’ in 1971 and became a family dynasty, and one of Britain’s most pioneering, successful and enduring brands globally. The film will showcase the remarkable evolution of these colourful little characters and their role in pioneering a new world of inclusivity and openness. It will explore iconic moments via the extraordinary Hargreaves’ family story, artists and collaborators, child psychologists, marketing gurus, collectors and super-fans from the worlds of fashion, music and the arts.

In parallel, behind the scenes, Matt Lucas will reveal the secret world of the astonishing artistic process: what it takes to brainstorm, draw, write and animate new Mr Men and Little Misses for today’s world. He’ll also help launch the global competition to find the two newest characters introducing them to new generations of children and parents across the planet.

Matt Lucas said: “I grew up on these books and considered the Mister Men and Little Miss characters my friends! I am delighted to be meeting them all again and look forward to finding out the story behind this much-loved, iconic series.”

For the first time ever, the general public will be able to decide the next characters to join the iconic family and be turned into classic Mr. Men Little Miss books. Whether you have an inner sense of zen like Mr. Calm, are always putting others first like Little Miss Kind, have the heart of a lion like Little Miss Brave, have a can-do attitude like Mr. Brilliant or are full of zest like little Miss Energy, there's a part of a character inside everyone.

Voting is now open globally for fans to have their say via the mrmen.com

50 Years of Mr Men was commissioned by Channel 4 Specialist Factual commissioning editor Shaminder Nahal and will be made by Tern TV with executive producer Harry Bell and director Kelly Close.

Shaminder Nahal said: “There can’t be many families who’ve lived without a few Mr Men books at home; who’ve spent a bit a bit of time immersed in that funny, colourful, charming world. From the endless eggs for breakfasts, the crazy houses and the simple stories with their satisfying endings - the world created by Roger Hargreaves feels like an essential part of popular culture. I can’t wait to discover the secrets of how this much-loved universe was created - and to find out who the public choose to be the characters of the future.”

Harry Bell added: “The Mr Men and Little Miss characters are trailblazers for celebrating difference and diversity. That’s the secret to their success. We were delighted to gain such wonderful access to both their special world and to those behind the phenomenal success of the brand. Having Matt Lucas, super fan, adding his own tickle of colour will make this a magical must watch film for all the family.”

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About

About Mr Men. Little Miss
With a cast of over 90 characters the Mr. Men and Little Miss have brought fun and laughter to generations of families for over 50 years. Currently one Mr. Men and Little Miss book is sold every 2.5 seconds worldwide, and lifetime sales total 250 million books.

Over 600,000 Mr. Men Little Miss books were sold in the UK in 2019

Mr. Men Little Miss is the number one selling children’s book in France and the second largest pre-school brand in the UK market

15% growth in UK publishing 2016 to 2018

The largest European growth markets are Greece and Israel, which have seen year on year sales double since 2017 and double sales figures since 2018 retrospectively

China is predicted to expand the Mr. Men Little Miss business with the 25% market share following doubling year on year sales

A third of Brits own a Mr Men or Little Miss book, with a calculated 354m books in households across the UK

Mr. Men Little Miss books are published in 17 languages worldwide
Founded by the late Rodger Hargreaves the series was created in 1971 starting with Mr. Tickle, turning 50 in 2021

Roger Hargreaves died in 1988, aged 53, his son, Adam Hargreaves continued the business writing and drawing the Mr. Men Little Miss books

The first Mr. Men book, Mr. Tickle, was rejected by all the big publishers in the UK, before being published by Fabbri book in 1971

Source Channel 4

February 15, 2021 6:36am ET by Channel 4  

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