NI children’s author could achieve TV dream thanks to climate change stories

An Ulster author has moved a step closer to seeing her weather-based characters make it onto the small screen.
NI children’s author Yvonne Fleming, creator of The WeatherbiesNI children’s author Yvonne Fleming, creator of The Weatherbies
NI children’s author Yvonne Fleming, creator of The Weatherbies

Yvonne Fleming dreamt up The Weatherbies while telling stories to her two boys, and although her sons are no longer of an age to listen to bedtime stories they are still part of the creative process.

After a successful publishing deal in 2018 followed by an animated pilot, the Maghera author has teamed up with script writer Jodi Reynolds, who has worked on the Peter Rabbit TV series, and UK production partner Threewise, who want to make 52 episodes featuring Yvonne’s characters including Sammy Sun, Rosie Rainbow and Willy Wind.

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Yvonne said: “It’s been great working with Jodi and learning more about the industry. I’ve also been working with Michael Ford, an executive producer at Threewise, to take it to market and see where it goes next.

“I’ve lived and breathed these wee characters for so long. I still would have a lot of input at this stage with it. We’re just seeing where the journey takes us.

“Writing for a book is different to writing for an animation, each commissioner will be looking for different things – some may want entertainment, some may want education. The way things are now, the eco-friendly side of The Weatherbies is a good selling point.”

She added: “It was always my goal for The Weatherbies to create a group of characters so as to make that automatic connection for children with the weather outside and make them more aware of what the weather is doing and how things that we do can affect the climate and how the weather reacts.

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“It’s about entertaining kids but also giving positive messages that will benefit them through their lives whether it be climate, recycling, solar power, wind power, even day-to-day lessons of sharing and caring and helping each other out.

“It’s relevant to children all around the world because everyone interacts with the weather in some shape or form.”

Yvonne and her husband Peter have two children – Steven, 21, and Shane, 17.

The Maghera woman used to run a hair and beauty salon, then became a childminder after having her two boys.

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She said: “The boys have been a sounding board from they were kids, they still give a lot of advice. They grew up with The Weatherbies, it’s been good for them too because they’ve got to see into the industry, from the initial idea through to development as an animated series.”

On the potential of a TV series, she said: “When I self-published the first book, if that’s all I’d ever done it was still an achievement. It’s kept moving forward positively, I’m just delighted with it.”

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