MEDIA: ZEITGEIST - Channel 4 contemplates the pharmaceutical thrills from Atomic Arts' Animal Pharm

Is the world ready for an animated sitcom set in a mental institution that looks suspiciously like a drug testing centre? We could be about to find out, because one of the most talked-about projects to be unveiled at the recent MIPCOM programming market held in Cannes was Animal Pharm, from Atomic Arts.

The property seems to be right up Channel 4's street and the broadcaster did put up some of the initial investment. However, no official deals have been signed yet.

Animal Pharm is what you get when the animals in Animal Farm develop a habit they can't afford and have to sell themselves as guinea pigs to keep getting some sort of fix.

Guinea pigs, though, are about the only furry things you won't find here.

The "medical" staff is lead by Victor the Vulture and the inmates include Harry the manic-depressive hyena, Randy the sex-addicted panda and Delia, a psychotic cane toad who's not averse to selling the odd dose of her hallucinogenic secretions over the internet. Sick but brilliant.

Show: Animal Pharm

Producer: Atomic Arts

Package: First series has 13 24-minute episodes

Target market: 16- to 34-year-olds, skewed towards teenagers

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