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Calon (TV production company)

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Calon (TV production company)

Industry animation
Fate re-folded as Calon
Founded 1982
Founders Robin Lyons
Defunct Siriol Productions
Headquarters Cardiff, Wales
Key people Robin Lyons
Subsidiaries Siriol Productions
Blunt Films
Kalisto Ltd.

Calon (Welsh for ‘heart’) was a Welsh animation television production company based in Cardiff, which primarily produced animation series in Welsh for S4C. The company was formerly known as Siriol Animation and Siriol Productions.


Calon was set up following the management buy-out from Entertainment Rights of Siriol Productions, when Entertainment Rights moved its head office to London. Most members of staff stayed with Siriol to help re-establish the company as an independent production company.[1] Deal included all rights to current productions and a few older titles such as Hilltop Hospital, but most right to older series were kept with Entertainment Rights.[2]

The company eventually employed over 40 people and was been a developer of talent in the Welsh animation industry for over 25 years.[3] Calon continued working on award-winning animation production, but expanded into live-action content for the UK and international markets, and to co-produce with major networks outside the UK.

In July 2010 the company filed for voluntary liquidation when hoped-for investment to expand the company failed to materialise.[4]


Two series of Hana's Helpline were produced for Five’s Milkshake block for preschool children in co-production with S4C and German broadcaster ZDF. One series of Igam Ogam was made for S4C, Five, ZDF Enterprises and the Gaelic Media Service on BBC Alba, and also a puppet series called The Zoo Factor for CBBC. Calon's live action drama credits included Help! I'm a Teenage Outlaw for ITV and Nickelodeon. During 2011 ITV asked Calon to create a new sitcom for the channel [5] and is also working with The Osmonds on creating a film based around the wild west.[6]

Hana's Helpline

Hana's Helpline is a stop-motion animation series for children, about Hana the duck who runs a telephone helpline for animals with problems. The principal voices are provided by Arabella Weir, Boyd Clack and Caroline Harker with most of the other voices being provided by children.

There are 52 episodes, each 10 minutes long. Its first broadcast was in Wales under the Welsh title Holi Hana, on 2 April 2007. Its first English broadcast was on Five on 12 June 2007 It has also been broadcast in a selection of other countries - for example it began broadcasting on TVB Pearl, starting 10 May 2007. Books are available from Random House Children's Books from January 2008. A range of character toys was also developed by Golden Bear Toys along with the first DVD of the show which was released in November 2007. A second compilation was released in Easter 2008.

Siriol Productions

Siriol Productions ("Siriol" means 'cheerful' in Welsh language) was founded in 1982 by Mike Young, his wife Liz Young, animator Dave Edwards and producer Robin Lyons and based in Cardiff. The company was originally created when the three men approached the newly formed Welsh TV channel S4C and secured a commission to produce an animated series of SuperTed (which Mike Young created). With support from S4C, the partners set up an animation company, Siriol Animation. SuperTed was a highly successful with the company winning a prestigious BAFTA award in 1987. The show first aired in 1982 and started airing on S4C in Wales and on the BBC in England. It also ran for one season and 37 episodes. Following its success with SuperTed, the company was commissioned by S4C to produce another series called Wil Cwac Cwac which was based on a series of children's books that were first published in Wales in the early 1920s about a little duckling who is always naughty and lives in a farm village with his family and friends. This in turn was followed by further commissions from S4C for half hour specials created for the animated series Fox Tales. Lyons and Young have also been involved in working on a children's stop motion animated series, Fireman Sam in 1987 except it was produced by Prism Art and Design Ltd and Bumper Films. In its early years, the studio worked exclusively for S4C, and Robin Lyons (Managing Director) decided to broaden its customer base and to move into co-productions to form Siriol Productions in 1988. In 1989 Mike Young left the company and moved to America to set up his own company, Mike Young Productions. Young also teamed up with Hanna-Barbera to develop a show called Fantastic Max (which was originally called Space Baby) and to create a sequel of SuperTed entitled The Further Adventures of SuperTed.

Siriol moving into co-productions has proved successful, resulting in such productions as The Princess and the Goblin an 80 minute film made with Hungary’s Pannonia Film Studio and Under Milk Wood a 50 minute TV special using the 1950s voice recording by Richard Burton. These productions have enabled Robin Lyons to develop extensive contacts throughout the animation industry, both with broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV, and with other leading animation studios. In 1989, Siriol, together with three other animation studios in France, Germany and Belgium formed EVA Entertainment and its co-productions grouping under the EC’s CARTOON programme as part of its MEDIA initiative. EVA was the first grouping company established under this initiative. The group set up co-productions with major European broadcasters, typically with the BBC in Britain, FR3 and Canal+ in France and ZDF and WDR in Germany. It also made co-productions with other European partners as well as with American and Canadian co-producers.

Within two years, the grouping set up its own distribution company, EVA Entertainment. It was headed up by Steve Walsh, the former head of co-productions at Goldcrest Films. In 1995, EVA received a substantial private investment and attracted top executives from BBC Children's International, Mikael Shields and Tony Stern. EVA Entertainment has made many series and specials, (the group’s major productions were controlled creatively by Siriol) which were sold to over fifty different countries on five continents which included Robert Creep, Tales of the Tooth Fairies, Billy the Cat (the group’s largest project) and Romuald the Reindeer. The later two programs were produced by Robin Lyons. When EVA was sold to Pearson PLC, Siriol formed other alliances with Scottish Television and SKD Media Plc.

In 1998, Siriol was brought over by Sleepy Kids[7] (Which was renamed Entertainment Rights in 2000) with Lyons expanding his role within the new company. In 2005 a management buyout lead by Lyons took place for Siriol Productions and was renamed Calon.[8]

Siriol has set up two subdivisions. One was Blunt Pictures, which produces animation that is not necessarily aimed at children. Blunt Pictures has made a short film for Deadenders. The other subdivisions was a web design subdivision called Piczled, which has designed the official Basil Brush website and fun-fair rides for Chessington World of Adventures and Alton Towers. Piczled has also worked on other websites such as those for Siriol and Entertainment Rights.


Knife and Wife

Knife and Wife was a British one-off half-hour animated Comedy programme screened on Channel 4 in December 2001. It was created by Blunt Films, the adult animation division of Siriol [11] and written by Paul Rose.

The voice of Knife was provided by ex Monty Python member Terry Jones, whilst the part of his wife, Janine was voiced by actress Jessica Stevenson. Kevin Eldon, Ruth Jones, Paul Putner and Brian Murphy also appeared. The programme was part of the Channel 4 Comedy Lab try-out project, which had spawned several successful series including Trigger Happy TV and That Peter Kay Thing. No full series followed.

Kalisto Ltd

Kalisto Ltd. is a short lived co-venture between the directors of Siriol Animation and Booker Group.[12] Launched in 1986, the company has developed a show called Space Baby (which eventually became Fantastic Max), along with another series called Satellite City (co-produced with Fairwater Films) and the 1991 animated film The Little Engine That Could. Kalisto barely lasted a year before Booker bought the rights back.


  1. ^ 6 July 2005 (6 July 2005). "Superted producer goes it alone | News | Broadcast". Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  2. ^ 1 August 2005 by Lianne Stewart (1 August 2005). "Siriol heads south, and Lyons moves on". Kidscreen. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  3. ^ "News". Calon TV. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  4. ^ BBC News: Cardiff-based Calon TV goes into voluntary liquidation
  5. ^ "to create a comedy series for ITV". Calon TV. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  6. ^ "to animate Osmond’s dream". Calon TV. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  7. ^ 1 August 2005 by Lianne Stewart (1 August 2005). "Siriol heads south, and Lyons moves on". Kidscreen. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  8. ^ 1 August 2005 by Lianne Stewart (1 August 2005). "Siriol heads south, and Lyons moves on". Kidscreen. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ 8 January 2003 by Amanda Burgess (8 January 2003). "Cooking shows: A recipe for success?". Kidscreen. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  11. ^ "BBC Wales Picks Up More Bobinogs", Animation Magazine, 25 September 2003
  12. ^
  • Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy 2003. Edited by Mark Lewisohn. BBC Worldwide 2003.

External links

  • Official website
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