Rocket Licensing is looking to secure toy and publishing partners, as well as specialists in educational products and resources, for the popular CBeebies show Yakka Dee, an English language learning series for pre-schoolers learning to talk. The series is also targeted at children with speech difficulties, and those learning English as a second language.
It’s part of Rocket Licensing’s remit as the property’s international licensing agent for territories excluding China, for the animated and live-action hybrid series, now in its third series on the UK pre-school channel. Series four and five are both now in production and are due to air in 2021.
The series has been developed by the writer and director, Katie Simmons (Go Jetters, Show Me Show Me, and Mr Bloom’s Nursery) and director and producer, Lotte Elwell (Peppa Pig cinema experience, Teletubbies, My World Kitchen and more) alongside Steve Smith at Beakus animation studio (Olobob Top).
Dee helps children learn language through play, visual representation and repetition. Each five-minute episode focuses on one word, with a mixture of live action and animated content and bright, bold colours. The branding is modern and vibrant, eye catching and idiosyncratic and hugely appealing to the young audience.
Rocket Licensing will follow its initial toy and publishing initaitive with further pre-school product categories, including apparel, accessories, social stationery, and games. The move is in response to reports of high consumer demand for licensed product, includng weekly requests from parents via the brand’s social media pages.
Yakka Dee! launched in 2017, with a peak audience of 474,000 viewers (8.9 per cent audience share) and is currently aired twice daily on CBeebies. BBC Studios has also signed for distribution in Ireland, Brazil, China, South Korea, Latin America and Turkey.
In 2019, a YouTube channel was launched, experiencing 5.3 million views in the first two months. The channel now has 161K subscribers and 46 million views, and is growing exponentially on a daily basis. ‘Aprende con Yakka Dee: Panza’, a Spanish episode via CBeebies Español, has had over 80 million views on the channel since launch, while ‘Yakka Dee: Banana’ has received 30 million views and ‘Can you Say Tummy?’ has reached 17 million in just three months.
Rob Wijeratna, joint MD, Rocket Licensing, said: “Yakka Dee! is a real gem in CBeebies’ programming, and combines all of the must-have attributes of a successful preschool property – fun, education and great characters – with contemporary, bright and instantly recognisable production.
“We are also proud to be representing an ethnically inclusive brand, with Dee as a non-white lead character having become an inspiring role model for many. The loyal fan-base is ready and waiting for consumer products and we’re excited to start talking to licensees.”
Yakka Dee producers Steve Smith, Lotte Elwell and Katie Simmons comment: “We are thrilled to partner with Rocket for Yakka Dee! licensing. We are so proud of our character, Dee, and have seen first-hand how she empowers children to speak with confidence, energising them and connecting deeply with them. We are looking forward to working with Rocket to create more touchpoints for our audience, and in so doing help more children.”