Charlie and Lola are fictional children created by the English writer and illustrator Lauren Child in 2000. They were introduced in a series of picture books and later adapted as animated television characters. Lola is an energetic and imaginative little girl; Charlie is her kind and patient older brother who is always willing to help Lola learn and grow. Charlie and Lola's parents, as well as their friends' parents, are often mentioned, but never seen.
The series' first book is I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, published by Orchard Books in 2000. The U.S. edition was published in the same year by Candlewick Press, with the title: I Will Never NOT EVER Eat a Tomato. For that first book in the series, Child won the 2000 Kate Greenaway All-Medal Trophy from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject. For the 50th anniversary of the Medal (1955–2005) it was named one of the top ten winning works, selected by a 2007 panel to compose the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite.
In 2005, the series was made into an animated TV show.
Various colouring books and a magazine are also available in the UK.
The "Charlie and Lola" books have been translated into Welsh under the name Cai a Lois and into many other languages.
Main article: Charlie and Lola (TV series)
The books have been adapted by Tiger Aspect into a cartoon series, using a collage style of animation which accurately captures the style of the original books. Directed by Kitty Taylor and Claudia Lloyd. 2D cel animation, paper cutout, fabric design, real textures, photomontage, and archive footage are all employed and subsequently animated in a software application called CelAction. The cartoons are also notable for their use of children's voices, rather than adult voice actors, a technique pioneered by the Peanuts television specials.
The first series of 26 episodes (11 minutes each) was first broadcast on 7 November 2005. The second series of 26 episodes (again, 11 minutes each) started broadcasting on CBeebies on 2 October 2006 (with the morning broadcast also being shown on BBC Two) a third series followed. In the television series, Charlie is seven and Lola is four, and goes to school (her teacher is called Mrs. Hansen). In episodes of both the first and second series, Charlie celebrates his birthday (in "It's a Secret..." and "This Is Actually My Party"), although this doesn't seem to affect his age in other episodes. The third series, a final 26-episode run, was broadcast in the UK and the US in the 2007-2008 television season. With two special episodes broadcast in 2006 and 2007, a total of 80 episodes were produced.
Charlie and Lola's Best Bestest Play directed by Roman Stefanski with music by Julian Butler was first performed at Polka Theatre on 26 April 2008 and has subsequently been performed at the venue again in 2010 and 2012. Following a series of international tours, it was staged for the first time at Glow, the events and exhibition space at Bluewater in Kent, by Watershed Productions over the Christmas period of 2013.
Charlie and Lola's Best Bestest Play is based on the characters created by Lauren Child and adapted by Jonathan Lloyd, Artistic Director of Polka Theatre. A sequel, Charlie and Lola's Extremely New Play premiered at King's College School in 2012 before also touring internationally.
Charlie and Lola's Favourite and Best Music Record was released on 19 March 2007, aimed at parents as well as children. The music is largely a development of existing interstitial and theme music taken from series 1 and 2. There are elements of easy listening, lounge, big band jazz, reggae, bluegrass, eastern European, sci-fi, Latin, classical and film music. There are 17 tracks plus one hidden track, with the programme's theme tune opening and closing the album.
Each track includes spoken word extracts from the series. In many cases, these are manipulated to fit with the musical accompaniment.
"The Bestest in the Barn" was released as a single on 12 March 2007. It features Lola and Lotta teaching various animals on their farm how to sing, dance and play music. This is the only track on the album which does not appear in any episode. Lola and Lotta do however appear as farmers in "I Do Not Ever Never Want My Wobbly Tooth To Fall Out". They also have a tendency to imagine that animals are capable of developing impressive human skills, as seen in "We Do Promise Honestly We Can Look After Your Dog" and "I Will Not Ever Never Forget You Nibbles". "The Bestest in the Barn" now features on a playlist of CBeebies programme music played throughout CBeebies Land at the Alton Towers Resort.
The album is a collaboration between various composers and musicians who write and perform for the TV series. Much of the music is programmed but many tracks feature performances by musicians from London-based bands – Menlo Park, Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland.
Four of the tracks have been animated by Tiger Aspect Productions: "The Bestest in the Barn", "Sizzles", "Batcat" and "It's Snowing". "The Bestest in the Barn" video is encoded as an mpeg on the album CD, and all four videos are included as DVD extras on the series 2 DVD collection.
Theme Tune written by Tom Dyson and Soren Munk
Production & Arrangement with John Greswell
All other tracks written by John Greswell and produced by Greswell / Taylor for MPM London Ltd.
Demon Music Group Ltd.
BBC Worldwide Ltd.
All tracks published by Tiger Aspect / BMG Music Publishing
Sleeve Package design by David Mackintosh
"The Bestest in the Barn", "Dancing Dogs", "Batcat" and "It's Snowing" promos animated by Tiger Aspect Productions. Tom Beattie, Betti Doherty, Alistair Douglas, Catherine T. Elliot, Tim Fehrenbach, Claudia Lloyd, James O'Shea, Caroline Parkinson, Mark Patterson, Steve Perkins, Kitty Taylor, Clare Winkworth, Andrew Zein.