Animated Beachcombers series in development on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast with industry veterans

From a media release:

As Canada’s beloved television series The Beachcombers marks its 50th anniversary, industry veterans Blair Peters and Nick Orchard have teamed up to bring an animated version to life. Created by L.S. Strange and Marc Strange, the CBC show was the most successful drama series in the history of Canadian television with 387 episodes over 18 seasons.

Peters, who lives on BC’s Sunshine Coast, and Orchard, who worked on the original series and brings over 30 years of experience to this new project, have inked a deal with the show’s original creators. The team is fleshing out designs and concepts in the coming months with a plan to pitch the series to Canadian, US and European broadcasters in Spring 2023.

The Beachcombers is one of the most successful Canadian television series of all time. The half-hour family adventure show ran on CBC Television for 387 episodes over 18 seasons, from 1972 to 1990, and is Canada’s second-longest-running scripted television series. An audience favourite, it was named one of Canada’s all-time best television series in a 2017 poll conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival.

Watched by more than 1 million Canadian viewers per episode in its prime, Beachcombers played a pivotal role in the development of film production in British Columbia and provided an early template for uniquely Canadian content on television. Ahead of its time, the series featured Indigenous characters and storylines, and often dealt with subject matter involving preservation of the land.

The original Beachcombers has been licensed to over 35 countries worldwide and versioned into numerous languages.

Blair Peters loved cartoons as a kid and was lucky enough to find his way to Sheridan College in Oakville, after completing high school at White Pines in Sault Ste. Marie. From there, he took his first job at Crawley Films in Ottawa before moving to Vancouver to start up Studio B Productions with his colleague, Chris Bartleman. The studio went on to produce over 1000 half hours that sold to over 100 countries worldwide on networks such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Teletoon, YTV and the BBC. After 20 years in business that saw the Studio receive numerous awards, the pair sold the company to media giant DHX Media in 2007. Blair stayed with the company until 2011. He now consults for creators and develops series of his own.

Nick Orchard has been in the film and television business for over half a century, beginning as a child actor on stage, radio and TV, and later producing hits like “The Beachcombers” (CBC), “Eastenders” (BBC) and “Brookside” (Channel 4). For the past 30 plus years, as head of Soapbox Productions Inc., Nick has produced network series such as the popular teen drama “Northwood” and produced and directed award-winning documentaries and comedy series such as the iconic “Double Exposure” for CTV and the Comedy Network.

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