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'Saturday Club' Television Series and Game Launches on Hopster TV
02 Apr 2019 : News Desk
Saturday Club
‘Saturday Club’ was created by Derry-based children’s media company, Dog Ears, with funding from Northern Ireland Screen.

The new original animation series has launched on Hopster TV, a BAFTA-nominated preschool learning and entertainment platform. The preschool show is designed to nurture empathy in young children.

‘Saturday Club’ follows the adventures of four friends – Tian, Jo, Suzie, and Jamie – who meet in a play den each Saturday to discuss their week and play make-believe. Each of the 6 x 3-minute episodes introduces a situation where pre-schoolers have to put themselves in others’ shoes in order to better understand them.

The series is directed by John McDaid (‘Puffin Rock’) and Robin Davey (‘Hey Duggee’) with Ellen Solberg (‘Two Minute Tales’) and Fionnuala Deane serving as executive producers.

‘Saturday Club’, the animation, was made available worldwide from April 1st. It can be found on the Hopster mobile app and on the Hopster channel available on selected smart TVs such as Amazon Fire TV, EE TV and Roku in the UK, Comcast Xfinity, DISH and Sling TV in the US and on many other platforms around the world.

Accompanying the new animation, Hopster has created a Saturday Club game that helps children further explore feelings and emotions with the help of the Saturday Club characters. Developed with the support of EmpathyLab, a UK not-for-profit organisation that inspires children to put empathy into action and is the founder of Empathy Day. The game draws on experiences from EmpathyLab’s primary school programme, which is designed to build real-life empathy skills in the classroom.

Initially exclusively available from the App Store, the Hopster ‘Saturday Club: Empathy game’ lets kids match emotions to expressions, create fun expressions and track their feelings with an emotions calendar.

Miki Chojnacka, Chief Content and Creative Executive of Hopster said:

“At Hopster we believe that good entertainment should always teach kids something new. While academic skills are important, we think that children’s socio-emotional growth is often overlooked. So we decided to partner with Dog Ears to create a preschool show and accompanying game that nurture kids’ emotional intelligence and encourages them to consider the feelings of others.”

John McDaid, Creative Director at Dog Ears said:

“We’ve always written empathy into our stories, but we thought ‘Let’s make an entire show about empathy! – A show about stepping into someone else’s shoes and how that can change your view of the world for the better. The power of empathy, particularly in the development of young children, is something I’ve been fascinated with for a long time. Watching my own children and how they respond and empathise with others was the catalyst for Saturday Club.”

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said:

“Northern Ireland Screen was delighted to provide development funding to Dog Ears for the creation of Saturday Club. Dog Ears is a prominent member of our thriving animation sector and its team has a great reputation for working alongside major global names in children’s programming. Saturday Club is an exciting and unique concept and we are really looking forward to seeing the end result.”

Director Ciara Hyland discusses Cogadh ar Mhná
Tony Kearns on Editing
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