Beach tales hit small screen

Joanne CarmichaelJoanne Carmichael
Joanne Carmichael
A minister’s wife has seen the characters she dreamed up during beach walks turned into an animated television series.

‘Lily’s Driftwood Bay’, about a girl who lives on an island, launched on top children’s television channel Nick Junior recently.

It was the culmination of a story that started seven years before for Joanne Carmichael, who lives in Lenzie with husband Reverend Dan Carmichael - the minister at Lenzie Union Church.

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Inspiration came when the couple bought a bolt hole “not much bigger than a beach hut” on the Isle of Arran.

The mum-of-two said: “After months of filling my pockets with beach treasures, one day I sat on the sand and started to create first characters, and then trees, flowers, cakes, props and scenery from the beautiful wave-washed pottery, sea glass, driftwood and other more weird and wonderful beach finds.

“I plucked up the courage to sell them as pictures - first at Lenzie Primary PTA Craft Fayre and then Scottish Art Galleries.”

But the characters were destined to break out from Joanne’s pictures, with Belfast television company Sixteen South snapping up the idea and hiring some of the best-known voices in the business to bring them to life.

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Joanne said: “I’ve watched as my idea of a wee girl Lily - who lived in a beach hut and who would rush down to the waves each day to see which new treasure had been washed ashore - has developed into Lily’s Driftwood Bay with such amazing voices as Peter Mullan, Jane Horracks and Stephen Fry.

“I’ve been working with them and a talented team of over 100 people as Creative consultant over the last few years as they’ve developed it and brought it all to life.

“It’s still very hard to believe it all started on Arran’s beaches and Lenzie Primary PTA craft stall!”

And now Joanne is hoping to give something back to the island that inspired her - joining forces with the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) to campaign for cleaner beaches and seas around Arran.

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She explained: “I have always regarded Arran’s treasures washed ashore as a ‘gift from the sea’ for me as an artist, but I have been acutely aware all along that whilst to me the salvage is ‘sea treasure,’ for seabirds and marine life, they can prove to be deadly.

“I am delighted to be able to give something back to Arran, the beautiful Island where it all began.”