Star Trek’s George Takei is moving to Fluffytown to voice a panda in an animated kids’ series for the BBC.
Takei, who played Sulu in the classic sci-fi series, will voice Elder Panda in preschool series Love Monster, which is a co-production by the British public broacaster’s kids’ channel CBeebies, Boat Rocker Studios, and China’s UYoung.
The 54-part series, which will air in January 2020, is based on Rachel Bright’s Love Monster series. It follows the adventures of hairy hero, Love Monster, as he navigates the challenges of being the only monster in Fluffytown – a world of cute baby animals. With a lot of help from his friends, Love Monster learns to follow his heart rather than his slightly ‘over-thinky’ head, as he searches for the right thing to do.
Elsewhere, Episodes star Tamsin Greig narrates, while Javone Prince (PhoneShop), Sarah Hadland (Miranda), Lewis Macleod (Postman Pat), Freya Parker (Lovesick) and Emma Maclennan (Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil) play Bad Idea Puppy, Tiniest Fluffiest Bunny, Elder Kitten/Dr G Piggles, In-Chicks/Delivery Duckling and Book Cub respectively. Beatbox artist Darren Foreman voices Love Monster.
Love Monster is exec produced by Tony Reed for the BBC, Chapman Maddox for Boat Rocker and James Chen Gu for UYoung. Animation for the series is being produced in the UK by Karrot Animation and A Productions, with a proportion of pre-production on scripts, storyboards and design provided by UYoung’ s studio in China. Boat Rocker Studios will distribute the series and manage the global brand and licensing excluding China and South East Asia, which will be managed by UYoung.
Takei said, “Love Monster celebrates inclusive behavior and collaboration and that’s also very much my philosophy – we find strength, joy and vitality in diversity coming together. I never imagined myself being a panda but I’ve always enjoyed seeing them, especially the young cubs because they’re so cute! Elder Panda is just an older version of them and is still whimsical, fun-loving and life embracing – I suppose it’s a reflection of my standing in human life.”
Tony Reed, Genre Lead, BBC Children’s Animation & Puppetry, said, “We’re thrilled to have such a wonderful cast bringing the residents of Fluffytown to life with such wit and warmth. They lend the perfect balance of comedy and compassion to Love Monster’s colorful and funny adventures. These characters are funny, diverse and inclusive – all the values CBeebies holds dear to its heart.”
Bob Higgins, EVP Content, Kids & Family, Boat Rocker Studios, added, “We are really excited to have such a stellar cast on board. They are the perfect ensemble to bring Fluffytown’s menagerie of inhabitants to life. They bring a wonderful mix of silliness, surprise and sophistication to every episode.”