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Peter Rabbit TV series to 'democratise' character's appeal

LONDON - Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit is set to be "democratised" as a brand by a new TV series in 2011 following an agreement between Potter Frederick Warne and licensing agent Chorion.

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The two companies will work together on an animation series design for international distribution to exploit the ongoing appeal of Potter's characters, including Jemima Puddle-duck, around the world.

Lord Alli, chairman of Chorion, said the aim was to introduce a new generation of children to the characters which, he told The Guardian, currently appeal to "posh people".

Alli said: "At the moment they are the top end. So posh people buy them in America and posh to middle-class people buy them here. Our job is to take them from the high end to allow all children to buy into it. It's about democratising the brand."

One of Chorion's other properties Paddington Bear, has recently appeared in a Marmite TV advert and promotion. The character is also used on-board British Airways in children's packs.

According to Frederick Warne and Chorion, Potter herself made Peter Rabbit the world's first licensed character when she designed and patented a Peter Rabbit doll in 1903.

She went on to approve the first range of Peter Rabbit licensed merchandise, including a soft toy, puzzle, handkerchief and tea set.

Today the annual value of licensed Beatrix Potter merchandise is $300m (£188m).

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