Sweet Cherry has bought the publishing rights to a trio of licences: Aardman Studios’ Shaun the Sheep, nostalgia brand Rainbow, and CBBC reality TV-style show “The Next Step”, which centres around a dancing studio.
Sweet Cherry m.d. Abdul Thadha inked the Shaun the Sheep deal with Aardman’s head of licensing, Rob Goodchild. More than 150 "Shaun the Sheep" episodes have aired on CBBC, and Sweet Cherry’s publishing will coincide with movie "Shaun the Sheep: Farmaggedon", out this autumn. Sweet Cherry will publish four Shaun the Sheep titles, including an annual, a search-and-find title, a junior novel and a non-fiction guide to space to honour the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Thadha said: "This is the perfect time to explore different formats for Shaun the Sheep."
The publisher inked both the Rainbow and "The Next Step" deals with Boat Rocker Studios. Cult show "Rainbow" ran for almost 20 years on ITV, from its ’70s heyday until 1992. It featured puppets Bungle, George and Zippy, and their human sidekick, Geoffrey. Sweet Cherry signed a global, all-formats deal for Rainbow and the range will include hand-puppet books, sound books, novelty, board books and gift titles.
"The Next Step" rights are for the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada, and publishing will include annuals, journals, sticker activity books and junior novels. The October 2019 launch title will be an "annual/fan-based book packed full of facts, tips, activities and quizzes that delve deeper into the world of ‘The Next Step’," the publisher said.