Henry is a typical five-year-old middle child. He loves his family, enjoys playing outside with his friends and says exactly what he thinks the moment it pops into his head. He’s just the sort of high-energy kid who might live right down the street or even in your own home. Except, of course, for one small detail — Henry is a monster.
After nearly four years of planning and production, we’re so excited that animated series Henry Hugglemonster premiered last Friday on Disney Junior in the UK. The show, based on the popular children’s book I’m a Happy Hugglewug by award-winning children’s book author/illustrator and Ireland’s Children’s Laureate Niamh Sharkey, follows the adventures of Henry and his loving, bustling monster family, known as The Hugglemonsters.
We’re especially proud that Henry Hugglemonster is produced by Oscar®-nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films — also responsible for Doc McStuffins — in Dublin, Ireland, and is the latest series being developed and produced by Disney’s London-based production hub.
To learn more about the new series, we recently talked with Beth Gardiner, vice president, Production and Development, Disney Junior EMEA, who sees Henry Hugglemonster as a perfect fit for the growing network. “We were thinking about mums, dads and grandparents watching Disney Junior shows with their kids, but realized that we didn’t really have a program that focused on a family,” she says. “Henry Hugglemonster is essentially about Henry’s family, seen through his eyes.”
Each 22-minute episode features two 11-minute stories that take preschoolers and their parents on Henry’s adventures as the young monster plays with his friends and tries his best to get along with his three siblings. “Henry has real kid emotions and real kid circumstances,” Beth says. “The core is emotional stories centered around his family, but it’s set in this very unusual world of monsters.”
Notably, the new show features an impressive lineup of vocal talent. “We chose people that we felt fit these monstery characters,” Beth explains. Parents tuning in with their young ones might even recognize some of the character’s voices. “Brian Blessed is an icon! His booming voice was a great addition to the show. He plays Eduardo Enormomonster, the giant monster in Roarsville,” she says. “Brenda Blethyn, plays his wife, Ernestine, and she has a very sweet, bubbly voice. It was just a lovely and funny pairing. Singer Geri Halliwell plays pop star Isabella Roarsome, whom Henry’s older sister Summer really looks up to.”
Those of you living in the UK can check out Henry Hugglemonster on Disney Junior. This roarsome new series launches in the US and France in April, and then continues to roll out across EMEA throughout 2013.