From a media release:
Vancouver BC’s Slap Happy Cartoons Inc. has inked a deal with industry veterans Blair Peters and Nick Orchard to develop, finance and produce an animated series reimagining the iconic Canadian series, The Beachcombers.
In announcing the agreement for The Beachcombers Animated, Slap Happy Cartoons partner Greg Sullivan said, “We’re thrilled to combine our animation expertise with Blair and Nick’s passion for storytelling to bring the timeless charm, comedy, and adventure of The Beachcombers to a new generation of fans. We look forward to updating the classic series in a way that doesn’t shy away from the real issues we face today, but with humour and heart. The timing is right for another Canadian hit series in the vein of Schitt’s Creek and Corner Gas.”
Peters and Orchard announced last fall that they had acquired the rights at an event in Gibsons, B.C. at Molly’s Reach, the café featured in the original series. The event coincided with the 50th anniversary of The Beachcombers, one of the most successful Canadian television series of all time. The half-hour family comedy/adventure series ran on CBC television for 387 episodes over 18 seasons from 1972 to 1990. 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 was licensed to over 35 countries worldwide, was a hit in the UK, Australia and Germany, and was versioned into numerous languages.
Said Blair Peters: “After Nick and I acquired the rights, the next step was to find an animation studio that could help us develop the series. Slap Happy was really a no-brainer, as I had previously worked for many years with the principals Kathy Antonsen, Greg Sullivan and Josh Mepham at Studio B Productions on Canadian classics such as Yvon of the Yukon and Being Ian, both of which went on to sell well internationally and garner awards. With the help of some talented folks at Yeti Farm Creative in Kelowna B.C. we came up with a killer pitch deck, and we’re excited about Slap Happy pitching it soon.”
“I’ve been part of The Beachcombers for over 40 years,” said Nick Orchard, “and Blair and I look forward to working with the talented folks over at Slap Happy to give this classic series a fresh new look for a whole new audience.”
SLAP HAPPY CARTOONS was founded in 2012 by top animation professionals KATHY ANTONSEN, GREG SULLIVAN, JOSH MEPHAM and VITO VISCOMI to realize their passion for creating original, funny and sometimes twisted cartoons for both kids and adults. Since then, the Vancouver studio has produced award-winning original series that have aired around the world – Nerds and Monsters for YTV and The Hollow for Netflix. Slap Happy has also contributed creative production services for local and international clients including Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Knowledge Kids, and the Vancouver Canucks.
BLAIR PETERS has worked in the animation industry for over thirty years, from layout artist to executive producer. As co-founder of Studio B Productions, he went on to develop and produce over 1000 half hours that sold in over 100 countries on networks such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Teletoon, YTV and the BBC. Blair was named a Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneur of the Year, Lion’s Gate Producer of the Year and was awarded the DHX Media Award for Excellence in Animation. He now lives on BC’s Sunshine Coast where he continues to consult on and develop animated projects.
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.