Following the premiere of The Itch of the Golden Nit, a record-breaking animated film created by kids for kids, Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere goes behind the scenes.
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-After a year in the making,
The Itch Of The Golden Nit has hit our screens.
But this is no ordinary animation.
Myself and thousands of kids from all over Britain got together and
thought up some genius ideas with the Tate Movie Project.
And...we made a film!
It's the result of the biggest movie-making project of its kind.
In this special,
how children created a ground-breaking film,
with a bit of help from award-winning animators Aardman.
And some of the best names in showbiz.
But how did it all come together?
I'm at London's Leicester Square for the premiere of
The Itch Of The Golden Nit. You expect to see some celebrities,
but the stars are just arriving.
I'm talking about a special gang of movie-makers -
the creators of the main characters.
I've been waiting all year for this!
It's so amazing, I don't know what to expect.
-The stars have arrived, off you go!
Hey, brother. That's what I'm talking about! Dapper.
It all started nearly a year ago with the Tate Movie Project,
a mission to create an animated movie made by kids for kids.
From story and characters to music and sound effects.
Blue Peter helped launch the project last year...
We're launching our brand-new movie-making show!
..working with Tate galleries and Aardman Animations,
the people behind Wallace & Gromit.
More than 25,000 of you signed up to the website.
9,000 more took part in workshops on board the Tate Movie truck
and at art galleries all over the country.
That material gave animators some brilliant staff to work with.
Everyone will be so impressed.
Let's meet the children behind the characters.
Starting with the Golden Nit.
The Golden what?
Toot, toot, toot, toot!
What is it?
Pull yourselves together! Haven't you seen the Golden Nit before?
'No, I can't say I have, actually,
'but I know someone who's itching to tell us more.
'Meet this cat.
'He belongs to 13-year-old Sarah, creator of the Golden Nit.'
-How did the idea all come out?
-He had fleas,
we were flea-combing him on our porch,
there were fleas jumping everywhere, so I drew them as my nit.
When people mention fleas, I get itchy -
especially with hair like this, things can nestle in this!
Nits love a nice head of hair, and that's
where the Golden Nit is hiding.
To escape Evil Stella,
I hid in the most boring, insignificant place I could find.
'The cat no longer has fleas,
'but he does have something else I just can't ignore.'
Your cat has got thumbs?
Yeah, he has five toes instead of four on his feet.
-That's not normal!
-We don't know why he has them.
One of his sisters had five toes as well.
Wow, he doesn't like to stay still!
OK, our star has gone, we've lost the star.
That's a diva cat! 'There goes the inspiration for our first character.
'Hopefully he'll give the movie the thumbs up.
'Make way for our next character, Ten Heart Hero.
'Each heart's designed by a different child.'
My beautiful rainbow spaceship!
But when our hero started life, he had a different name.
Meet Super Light.
The force behind him is Aidan, aged nine, creator of superheroes.
Super Light, the guy you created. Talk me through his features.
-The thing I think about is the chin.
-What was the inspiration behind it?
I don't know, I just think it makes him look bold,
-could scare enemies.
-Do you think
a chin that massive,
-it really makes him look like a proper superhero?
So, we go from this guy to this guy, Ten Heart Hero,
which is actually the superhero that is going to be in the film.
A change of colour, the chest, but the same character.
Some bits are an improvement,
like the cape. I didn't think of adding a cape.
It's my drawing still, just the colour has changed.
I'm still happy with it.
How do you feel about your idea
being chosen to be in this phenomenal film?
Amazed. It's like...
For about a week after I got the news, I couldn't believe it.
I was like, it must have been a dream or something.
'But there's room for more than one superhero in this movie.
'52 of them, each designed by a different child.
'Turns out movie-making can be addictive.
'Sisters five-year-old Fiona and seven-year-old Emma sent
'200 drawings to the website.
'They've no idea their characters have made it in
'until I show up at their house.' Hello!
I'm Andy. Do you recognise these two characters?
I did the dad on that side, and Fiona did that one.
What if I told you these two drawings are
two main characters for the Tate Movie Project?
Pretty cool? It is really cool!
I'm coming over to you!
I've got you now, Nitty!
Leave our Beanie and Beryl alone.
I'm loving Beryl's new look. Hasn't Beanie grown?
It's Beryl that has shrunk like us, love.
She's not the brightest star in the galaxy, is she, your Julie?
The Tate Movie crew searched far and wide for pictures and story ideas,
from children all over the UK.
In eight months, more than 9000 children took part in workshops,
producing tens of thousands of pieces of work.
And this is where it all ends up - Aardman Animations.
The nerve centre of our movie-making operation,
and also home to this guy. Alright?
The same people behind these characters have been
bringing your creations to life.
Sarah Cox is the movie's director.
How many children have submitted entries?
I just had a look, there was 57,113 just right now.
This shows the magnitude of this -
-It's massive, really big, yeah.
You received loads of entries - pictures, sounds, that stuff.
When it comes to the animation, do you tweak them?
No, I want to keep exactly the same as how the children drew it.
All we did, when you get a drawing, you get it from one viewpoint,
so we would turn the character round and draw the back,
or the side, or make the eyes roll and the eyebrows go up and down,
open the mouth and shut the mouth. So we added bits.
If the person drew it in a runny-outy red felt-tip pen, we would find
-a runny-outy red felt. So
-you stayed true to what has been created?
I'm really intrigued to see how the process is getting on.
I'll introduce you.
'It's not just the characters - every background scene is
'made from different drawings.
'This scene was made by around 80 children.
'If they needed something specific,
'they put the call out on the website. Any dress designers?'
# My name is Stella, I am the best! #
With Stella, how many children would it have taken
to design this into her costume?
Stella was designed by one child,
but then each costume has got so many different pieces.
She's got a dress by one girl, and a hat by somebody else.
Every costume, she's got a different handbag and necklace.
So Stella has got about 50 different stylists.
I am named Stella!
I might have to take a leaf out of Stella's book!
Once the drawings have been scanned in,
they can be cut out and moved around.
This is where the fun starts.
How do you bring these characters to life?
They're like a puppet,
you're selecting the part of the character and moving it around,
and when you're happy, you move on to the next frame.
Can I have a go with Captain Iron Ears? I like him.
-What am I doing here?
-Press that to click on the body part.
Just by clicking and rotating, you can control that.
I'm going to try and imitate Captain Iron Ears,
-having drunk some rum.
Oh, I chopped his body in half. Let's not do that.
I like that, it's a lot of fun.
This must take a lot of time.
How long would it take you to do a scene?
It depends on the scene, the characters,
-but we might do eight seconds a day on a good day.
-Eight seconds a day?!
I can't wait for the film.
Especially if Captain Iron Ears has anything to do with it.
# Oh, I'm a smelly pirate and I sail the seven seas
# He's a smelly pirate, and a stinky pirate's he... #
'But who on earth came up with the idea
'for such a smelly, stinky pirate? I went to find out.'
You don't look like someone who has created
-a stinky, smelly pirate.
-Well, I did!
-Can I come in?
-Yeah, come in.
Thank you very much.
'Orla first heard about the Project on Blue Peter.'
-So this is where all that creativity happens?
Look at this on the wall - are these your drawings?
-talk about your character, Captain Iron Ears.
Have you got a picture? Look at that!
Probably one of the hairiest pirates I've seen.
Where did you get the inspiration?
I got the inspiration from my Uncle Richard.
-Is Uncle Richard that hairy?
Have you got any pictures of Uncle Richard?
Yeah, I actually do have some here.
Wow! Let's just stop here, this is amazing.
Uncle Richard, quite a pasty body with a very red face.
-I think he's been in the sun too long.
-Just a bit!
OK, look at this.
Uncle Richard as a pirate.
Let's just compare them. We could have some similarities here.
Brilliant. How does it feel for you to have your character
-being in the actual film?
-It's just mind-blowing, amazing.
I never thought it'd happen.
It seems you've got quite a good talent for drawing.
As for Uncle Richard, a job well done, mate.
Arr, me hearties! Arr!
Goodbye, Captain Iron Ears, and all your crew.
Farewell, me hearties, I'd come with you, but I need a poo.
Time to give Captain Iron Ears
and the rest of your characters some celebrity voices.
I'm at the recording studios, and I've heard
there's some big stars involved.
I like to sail the seven seas.
# Do the funky dad dance, do the funky dad dance. #
Not just the world, silly, it's the end of the entire universe!
They are shooting full-fat custard torpedoes at us.
Things are going to get sticky.
You have my nit, I want it back.
Goodness me, all this kerfuffle over a tiny parasite.
Pull yourselves together.
Haven't you seen the Golden Nit before?
Mr Comedy himself, David Walliams, is the voice of Sarah's golden nit.
It really is a nit that's golden.
Would you look at that? There are some similarities there.
You can see why they thought of me.
The quick way to the sun.
How did you decide what voice to go for by just looking at this picture?
You try and get an attitude.
The nit seems to be quite pompous.
Get off! Will you stop that?!
Put me down. Do something!
Fiona's character, Mum, is played by Miranda Hart.
Any similarities there?
What do you think?
Same lips. Nose a little bit as well, and the orange cheeks.
Yeah. I sometimes wear an orange blusher, so there you go.
It's the rage nowadays.
Yoo-hoo! Hi, kids. Missed you. Looking cool.
How do you decide what voice to give her?
She's silly and jolly and upbeat, so that's what I went with.
I've got a strange sensation down my back.
It's telling me you're going to do it.
'Nothing fazes her.'
-She's up for a little laugh and her voice sort of goes like that.
Everything's very exciting. I'm quite a enjoying it.
I was sort of doing a little dance, going, "Go, Beanie."
Physicalising it. You do really get into it.
And Miriam Margoyles has swapped Harry Potter
for the character of Mummy Socks.
She looks a bit like an octopus.
She does. How many legs?
-She's only got six legs.
-She's got seven eyes.
She's quite posh.
She's in a spaceship.
She's going to take over the universe.
I like knitting and crochet and taking over the universe.
-Not much happening there.
-It's a quiet life really.
Doesn't surprise me.
It's a golden cast including several cameo roles chosen by children.
Little did I know I was about to join them.
Did you know that you are going to be in this animation as well?
-Are you serious?
-This is your character.
-What do I do with Catbot?
I don't know, you are half cat, half robot.
-Are you serious?
-I'm serious, yes, you're going to be in it.
-No one's told me this amazing news.
-You are not getting paid!
I do it for love, I do it for the kids.
Catbot to the rescue. All right.
Come here, love, have a cuppa. I'm ready.
This has been my dream come true for years.
We'll be at a film premiere and we'll be the stars of the film.
-Completely. I'm a cat robot and you are...
-A golden nit.
I can't wait to see the film now, I really can't.
I'm starring in a film with David Walliams and other stars.
This is pretty cool.
The Itch Of The Golden Nit Fireboy. Wrapped.
Marvellous. That was great fun.
Your character, done.
Your words, done. His character, done.
-Our job, done.
But we haven't finished yet. Our movie needs a soundtrack
and that's where composer John Brown comes in.
He's using a space chase scene to show me how music can be created.
We start with a blank slate. What speed do you think it was?
-Quite fast paced.
-And what kind of sound did you think?
A bass sound. I'm going to try and find a bass.
That's quite astronomic as well.
It is. Futuristic sound.
We're talking vortexes, black holes.
This is space.
-We start recording that.
-After three, two, one - go.
Brilliant. And what would you add on to that?
I think we need something to sound a bit cosmic.
MAKES SHOOTING SOUNDS
OK. Too spacey?
One more. That's the one.
-I'm really good at beatboxing, too.
Let's find those sounds.
That's good, that bass drum is good.
A and E.
OK, let's make it happen.
HE LAYERS THE SOUNDS
It's now time to see what it sounds like on the actual scene.
Over my buffed body.
This universe is for sharing, sweet feet.
BEATING, SPACEY MUSIC
-What do you think?
-It's just screaming potential.
-I'd hold on to it if I were you.
-I'll copyright it.
-When you are releasing your first...
So did my music make it into the movie? No, it didn't.
But I like to think I gave John some ideas to work with.
At least I've got Catbot.
I did the voice for a character called Catbot.
-You haven't by any chance got a scene...?
-I don't know if you've done the music.
-I've done the music.
-I have to say you are one of the late super heroes.
They call them super zeros because they are so late,
they are so useless. I don't know if you knew that.
Hold on. That's not the brief I was given.
-I was told I'd be...
-They lied to you.
-I'm a zero?!
That's even less than zero.
I don't know quite how to take this.
Let's just see it.
Stretchy McStretchy. To the rescue!
Hold on, hold on, hold on.
My bit was just like... "Catbot".
Stretchy McStretchy got some serious lines there.
Why didn't anyone give me Stretchy? It's all about screen time.
To the rescue. We got here as quickly as we could.
So my Catbot lines got cut - great(!)
But it's not about me,
it's about as many children as possible taking part.
Like these guys in Leeds
who've composed music for a scene with Beanie.
What do you sound like together, does it sound really big and epic?
A bit, yeah.
-I said yeah.
They are recording it on percussion instruments,
but they've only had a few days' practice.
This could either be ridiculous chaos or quite harmonic.
I'm going for a mixture between the two.
SHE PLAYS IN TUNE
Let's try it again, one more time.
Because it's a film
and because the film is all edited to very specific times,
the speed at which we play and perform and record,
this music today, has to be very, very precise.
Are we ready? We're going to try it a bit faster. 1, 2, 3, 4.
THE PLAY IN HARMONY
Brilliant. Very nice.
Very dreamlike. Very nice.
I am Ten-Heart Hero and I fight evil for justice.
Good work. Your music made the final cut.
I wish I was a super hero then I'd be a somebody, not a nobody.
Finally to the sound effects,
and guess who helped with the spooky forest?
What we are going to do is use the power of your voices
to create these sounds. Are you up for it?
Can you do that?
This would be the leaves in a swamp. Give a little rub.
The wind sound.
I didn't even have to tell you - that's amazing.
We are going to do all those sounds at the same time. 1, 2, 3 - go.
Shh! What was that?
Sorry, that was me.
That is really effective.
Brilliant. You may stop. Round of applause for everyone.
A year after the launch of the Tate movie project,
The Itch Of The Golden Nit is ready for the big screen.
We've got a story...
You are going to hear your words and pictures and see them on telly.
An amazing cast of characters...
I am so intrigued that this is made just by kids.
It's really, really clever and really sweet.
I can't wait to see it.
And a soundtrack bringing it all together.
A film by kids, for kids.
They are quite clever these kids, aren't they? I feel under threat.
Here it is... Our film.
The Itch Of The Golden Nit.
34,000 children contributed to making this.
I think we should get it to the projectionist.
I'm speechless, I'm just so excited.
I'm looking forward to seeing how all the characters turn out.
It feels mind-blowing, I can't believe I'm here.
OK, here you are.
-The actual film. Good luck.
-Thank you, let's do it.
So, the moment we've all been waiting for.
Our movie-makers are about to see their work
on the big screen for the first time.
# I'm a smelly pirate and I sail the seven seas. #
Stretchy McStretchy. To the rescue.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-What did you think of it?
-It was really good.
-Really? What did you think of your character?
-He was really good.
-I thought it was amazing.
-What was your favourite bit?
My favourite bit, that's hard.
So many brilliant bits.
There we go - bang!
Young directors of the future, loving it!
That was completely beyond my expectations.
Catbot made a cameo appearance, I don't like what they did with it.
Technically I'm a film star now but let's face it,
it was about the kids.
Everything you saw in there had been created by all these children.
Even though there were adults involved, the power
went to the kids today and that is exactly what I'm happy about.
I'm so proud of it and so should you.
Following the premiere of The Itch of the Golden Nit, a record-breaking animated film created by kids for kids, Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere goes behind the scenes to see how this groundbreaking film was made. How did it get to the big screen? What do the voiceover stars like David Walliams and Miranda Hart think of the film? Plus Andy meets the young children who created the main characters.