The war in Ukraine has been devastating, especially for children displaced by the turmoil, and, as a result, people around the world have come together to do what they can to help those suffering. But what can a broadcaster do? Well, entertainment-like TV shows can bring a sense of escapism, as well as laughter, joy, and happiness. This is exactly what Sky wanted to provide for displaced Ukrainian children, and so they decided to localize ‘Pip and Posy’ for the incredible Sunflower TV project, with help from Take 1, now VITAC.
Sunflower TV Brings Light to a Desperate Situation
Sunflower TV is a dedicated, ad-free YouTube channel, launched with the intention of bringing entertainment and respite to displaced Ukrainian children, allowing them to feel a sense of familiarity through watching shows in their native language. Established by PACT and launched in July 2022, the channel contains a range of British children’s content dubbed into Ukrainian, including ‘Peppa Pig,’ ‘Go Jetters,’ ‘Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom,’ ‘Thomas & Friends,’ and more. Alongside these recognizable British titles, the channel also features shows produced by Ukrainian companies like ‘Brave Bunnies’ and ‘Eskimo Girl.’
The broadcast world has rallied around the project with Aardman, All3Media, Banijay, BBC and BBC Studios, Channel 4, Channel 5’s Milkshake!, S4C, Entertainment One, FILM.UA, Fremantle, Glowberry, ITV and ITV Studios, Little Dot Studios, Mattel, Paramount and Nickelodeon, Starlight Media in Ukraine, STV, and YouTube all getting involved. For their part, Sky hand selected four shows to be dubbed for Sunflower TV – including ‘Pip and Posy,’ one of the largest brands launched by Sky in 2022.
Bringing the Lively ‘Pip and Posy’ Universe to New Audiences
Originally produced by Magic Light Pictures, ‘Pip and Posy’ follows the charming friendship between a rabbit, Pip, and a mouse, Posy. The simple but engaging stories are an adaptation of the acclaimed book series of the same name, illustrated in eye-catching style of Gruffalo illustrator, Axel Scheffler. A celebration of friendship, laughter, and games – the show is the perfect fit to provide a pop of positivity to Sunflower TV.
VITAC was tasked with dubbing 10 episodes of the children’s series into Ukrainian for Sunflower TV. Each episode runs for around 10 minutes and features two to four voice actors – but what may seem like a simple localization project was complicated by the exact circumstances that motivated this endeavor.
A key aspect of dubbing a show like ‘Pip and Posy’ is to ensure that the personality and tone of the original characters is maintained in the new version, and young voice actors would be needed to bring the playful nature of the show to life for Sunflower TV’s audience. This in and of itself was no problem – the VITAC team is accustomed to the complications of working with underage talent and is experienced in securing the necessary governmental permissions, organizing studio inspections to ensure safety protocols are upheld, and working around the school schedules and limited working hours of minors. The challenge the team faced, however, was in sourcing young Ukrainian voice actors during a time when the country faces uncertainty and turmoil – and when so many young people have been displaced.
VITAC tackled this challenge by utilizing a hybrid workflow solution – dipping into different pockets of voice talent across borders to ensure the highest possible standard of dubbing was delivered. The Ukrainian voice talent was sourced from both the UK and Germany and the young cast included both experienced dubbing artists and new talent sourced specifically for this project.
A Job Much Bigger than Just Content Production
At the heart of the ‘Pip and Posy’ project was more than just a need to produce project deliverables. The key was understanding the potential impact the content could have on Ukrainian children – providing them with light-hearted relief during one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. And the show is a perfect fit, with a calm tempo and stories surrounding loving and caring friendships. ‘Pip and Posy’ is just the burst of warmth and laughter these children need.
Get in touch with VITAC to find out how we can support your next localization project.