The second series of Komixx Entertainment’s ITCH will premiere this Friday 17 September on ABC ME and ABC iview. Produced and filmed in Western Australia, the ten-part live-action adventure series continues the thrilling capers of science obsessed Itchingham Lofte and his friends; the characters created in the award-winning books by popular British broadcaster and author Simon Mayo.
The first series of ITCH was a hit in Australia when it premiered on ABCme in 2020. It has since been seen around the world being acquired by channels including CBBC in the UK, BYUtv in the US and in New Zealand on TVNZ.
ITCH was created in 2012 when the author started writing short stories for his then 10-year-old son and which subsequently grew to become a franchise of best-selling novels. Now, Simon Mayo is delighted that these stories, reset from the UK to the other side of the world in Western Australia, can be seen internationally as a TV series.
“To get one series of ITCH on TV was fantastic. To get a second series is testament to the international quality of the actors and production team. Viewers around the world will get another chance to marvel at the sheer wonder of the Periodic Table!” says Simon Mayo.
In Series 1, after Itch discovers a mysterious rock which is quickly identified as a powerful new element he is forced to protect it from a sinister organisation seeking to weaponize its energy and is forced into a difficult decision on the future of the rock. Series two moves the story into a whole new adventure. After Itch and his friends are shocked to find dead fish washing up on the shores of Seaburgh after a boat explosion, they suspect toxic foul play once again involving evil corporation Greencorp. In their efforts to keep the water safe, they make a discovery that threatens Seaburgh and the whole West Australian coast with devastation.
Komixx Entertainment returned to the Great Southern coastal town of Albany in Western Australia to commence production of series two of ITCH in October 2020 with a challenging nine week shoot in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, led by executive producer & series producer Amanda Morrison.
“We were delighted to return to Albany as our fictional Seaburgh for ITCH Series 2 with our West Australian crew. This picturesque country town has the beaches, coastlines and Australian bush landscapes to depict our environmental storyline. However, in Series 2 the world expands to a darker underground world, which led the production to new locations in Perth, the Peel region and in studio with amazingly detailed sets,” says Amanda Morrison, Head of Global Production and Managing Director of Komixx Entertainment, Australia.
ITCH Series 2 sees the return of Perth actor Samuel Ireland as Itch, Kylah Day as Lucy, Melanie Wozniak as Jack, Charles Russell as Tim, Keala Kern as Chloe, Harrison Popple as Darcy, Henry Mendez as Quinn, and newcomer Lauren Campbell as Bella.
“It has been exciting to return our original ensemble cast who made their mark as breakout stars in the first series,” says Morrison. “This time they tackle bigger stunts, more action and the synergy between the cast working as a team, creates even more magic on screen in ITCH Series 2.”
Morrison says shooting during a pandemic was the catalyst for the production employing state of the art LED studio technology – a first in Australian television production and children’s broadcast content. Komixx secured the services of Perth-based visual effects studio Last Pixel to provide VFX and LED screen technology services for simulated car travel and background animation content on giant studio sets at the ABC Perth studios.
“ITCH Series 2 was the first WA production to start filming since COVID, and the use of this technology enabled us to contain the production by bringing some of the locations to us in a studio environment. The technology presents endless possibilities; we could literally bring the world to Perth,” she says.
Last Pixel collaborated with global live events company Mediatec to build and run a 22 x 4 metre wall comprising of 144 panel and 6.4 million individually programmable LEDs, where real-time virtual environments and sets were filmed behind the actors. This removed the need for greenscreen technology, capturing everything in camera at a high resolution.
ITCH Series 2 sees the return of writers Melanie Halsall, Dan Berlinka, Heather Wilson, and Jessica Brookman alongside newcomers Ceinwen Langley, Craig Irvin and Rhys Graham.
Melanie Halsall, writer and executive producer, explains that Komixx Entertainment is passionate about championing diversity, equality and emerging talent. “This series we had an over 50% female writing team, and a 50-50 split of male and female directors. We feel it’s important to champion new and less experienced writers where possible and would like to include writers from more diverse backgrounds going forward.”
ITCH Series 2 is directed by award-winning Australian directors Nicholas Verso and Tenika Smith. Highly experienced in children’s television, Verso returns as a director from the first series to direct the first block of Series 2. Smith directs the second block of the series fresh from directing over 50 episodes of Neighbours, and eight episodes of The Heights for ABC TV.
The series is aimed at 8 to 12-year-old girls and boys equally, with family co-viewing one of the keys to the success of ITCH. “Its appeals to kids both younger and older, but ITCH is something that parents enjoy watching with their children,” explains Morrison.
She says there are many reasons ITCH has struck a chord with audiences of all ages. “ITCH is a unique action-adventure genre for Australian children’s television. The diverse and authentic cast, the current environmental themes of the series, and our teenage hero Itchingham Lofte with his love of science is endearing and inspiring and together they have made ITCH a big hit internationally.”
Morrison further reflects: “ITCH is about accepting you who you are, and who others are as well. It’s about the power of imagination, and using intellect and teamwork to conquer the odds. And its about taking care of Planet Earth. These are themes we can all relate to in the world today.”
Produced by independent film and TV producer Komixx Entertainment for the ABC, ITCH Series 2 received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. The series was financed with support from Screenwest and the Western Australian Regional Film Fund, and ABC Commercial holds worldwide distribution rights. Komixx Entertainment in Perth, Western Australia, is a joint-venture producer with the UK-headquartered iGeneration Studios.
Watch brand new episodes of ITCH from Friday 17 September on ABC ME and ABC iview.
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