Five in deal with Chorion over Blyton rights

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The Independent Online

Madonna may not have heard of Enid Blyton but that hasn't stopped television network Five forming a strategic alliance with the owner of Blyton's literary works to develop programmes based on the books of the best-selling children's author.

The brand management group Chorion, which has owned and managed the rights to Enid Blyton's output since 1996, has announced a deal giving Five the first rights to participate in the production of any new television programmes.

At this stage there are few details of which titles are likely to be transferred to television and how much the partnership is likely to invest although a spokesperson for the company said it was almost certain to involve more than one property. She also added that it was not possible to produce quality programming without making the appropriate investment.

Chorion has already made Blyton's Noddy character a ratings winner for Five with the Make Way for Noddy show becoming the highest-rated programme for pre-school children since its launch last September, outperforming newer characters such as Bob the Builder and Tweenies.

Chorion had previously taken all the risk resurrecting Noddy but now would co-finance the programmes with Five. Five will also be in line to participate in associated retail activity based on the properties.

The announcement coincided with Chorion's rival and one-time suitor, Entertainment Rights, reporting an operating loss of £800,000 for the six months to June. The company is relying on a new series of Basil Brush in the autumn to help it reach analysts' forecasts of £1.5m pre-tax profit for the full year.

Shares in Chorion closed up 0.4p at 6.05p following the announcement.