3Megos to produce Nelly Jelly animated series

Based on a popular Lithuanian preschool book range, the project has attracted writing talent behind Fireman Sam and Thomas & Friends.

British studio 3Megos has signed on to develop and produce a new CG-animated series called Nelly Jelly, based on a popular Lithuanian publishing franchise.

Author/illustrator Lina Žutautė’s same-name book series for preschoolers was turned into a 2D-animated feature film called Nelly Jelly: My Movie that hit theaters in Lithuania last April, generating US$263,778 (Box Office Mojo). To make the concept work internationally, 3Megos is planning to “revamp” the animation style seen in the film and also add more points of universal appeal in development.

The TV project was first announced in May, and Laura Beaumont (Fireman Sam) and Paul Larson (Thomas & Friends) have since come on board as scriptwriters. 3Megos is currently working on a pilot episode and starting up co-production discussions, which will be a focus for the company at Kidscreen Summit in San Diego next month

To build momentum for the brand beyond its domestic market, Nelly Jelly’s owner NJWorld has also signed UK-based licensing agency Brands with Influence to handle its consumer products rights worldwide (excluding the Baltic region).

Nelly Jelly is about a five-year-old girl who goes on quests with her imaginary besties, meeting magical creatures and learning important life lessons along the way. Since the first of 100-plus titles in the series launched in 2010, more than 2.3 million Nelly Jelly books have been sold in Lithuania. The brand also has a thriving local licensing business that spans categories like food, toys and apparel.

3Megos CEO Martin Lowde says the series will expand the scope of the Nelly Jelly world and tap into a new “warmer” CG style. Looking to craft a co-view appeal for preschoolers as well as millennial parents, he adds that the series will focus on humor and relatability by exploring some of the relatable and “wobbly” moments of early childhood. “Nelly’s learning journey will help viewers cope with similar problems, such as being scared of the dark or not wanting to tidy your room.”

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