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June 9, 2016

The New Adventures of Sprout Boy

“There once was a sprout with love to give, looking for friends to share Christmas with.”

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The plucky bud was the star of that gorgeous “Christmas do da” that aired on BBC One in December 2015. Produced by Nexus Productions and RKCR/Y&R, and narrated by Peter Capaldi, it’s one of the few adverts I’m deeply attached to. It has echoes of An American TailThe Forgotten Toys, and Smith & Foulkes’ other beautifully animated commercial The Outsider.

It’s so unbearably cute it hurts.

The slogan: Together at Christmas.

I was inspired to build my very own Sprout. Like the watercolours, it was an activity I had very little experience in and shied away from. Last time I modelled was in 2008 during a character design module.

Using polymer clay and aluminium wire, it took 4 attempts to get the figurine to look and feel right, with no breakable parts, on a tight deadline.

Mum likened him to Gregory Porter.

Now, the wee one can step out into the big wide world, explore, and meet a galaxy of stars for real. On 6th May he went to Cardiff and stumbled upon John and Carole Barrowman at a book signing…

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…and Russell T Davies at an after-party.

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“I don’t want to crush him!”

A week later (12th May) he even met a friend from the future…

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He was super stoked to see Pearl Mackie before she joins his BFF in adventures in time and space. He enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time so much he wants to see every West End show; here is he treading the boards at the Gielgud.

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The Government’s White Paper on the future of the BBC was published that day. Sprout Boy wants nobody messing with his broadcaster.

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No one. Touches. Our. image

Keep it safe.

By the way, you must be this tall to get a job in Animation/VFX. image

*sigh* We’ve got a long way to go.

From June 20th filming started on Doctor Who Series 10, and Sprout Boy couldn’t resist a sneak peek behind the scenes on location in Cardiff. He kept himself warm and dry from the occasional showery outbreaks around the university campus, as he watched scenes from the opening episode being filmed on the 24th.

It took his mind off things.

His commitment and patience paid off when Peter Capaldi and Pearl arrived at the set, in full costume. He was overjoyed to see them again.

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Doctor holding Sprout

They took breaks between shooting takes, meeting other fans. Some were local, some of them had travelled from afar – Sweden, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Bath, Leicester – to catch a glimpse, get selfies and Twelfies, autographs, and exchange gifts and hugs. Together they were united by their love for a 50+year old television show and anticipation for the new series, hitting screens next year. Filming continued into the night, but I had to catch the train back to Port Talbot before dark.

Sprout Boy however didn’t want to leave. He decided to join the Doctor and Bill.

As of 24th June he is kept safe inside his own blue box.

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A sprout is for life, not just for Christmas.

Note: I don’t own the rights to the character. This is purely for enjoyment. And to raise my hopes of getting a creative career in this country we once called GREAT. As a freelance animation artist struggling to find sustainable work, it’s going to be difficult, thanks to people who put their concerns over immigration before social mobility for the younger generation. No division should ever come between us. No division at all. Why can’t we just have fun and nice things and be more accepting?

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