EXCLUSIVE: BBC Three has greenlit a Eurovision-themed animation, its first in two decades.

Galaxy Dance is the youth-skewing RuPaul’s Drag Race UK network’s first animated show since Harry Thompson and Shaun Pye’s irreverent sketch series Monkey Dust, which ran from 2003 to 2005.

Galaxy Dance is set amid Eurovision 2989, with the interstellar dance competition seeing a myriad of alien groups and Earth’s human band competing for a prize fund so gigantic it could save the planet from extinction. The only issue is that Earth is on a notorious losing streak and ‘Galaxy Dance’ is the fiercest contest in the Milky Way. Enter Doyle, Jane and their team of misfits with nothing more to lose.

Starring Liam Bixby (Wreck), Lisa Dwyer Hogg (Dance First) and Mukamajulé Michelo (The Lovers), the one-off is expected to air around Eurovision. Developed by Unreal Engine tech, it is being produced by HaZimation and was made in Northern Ireland with support from Northern Ireland Screen.

BBC Controller of Youth Audiences Fiona Campbell said: “All credit to director and originator Ultan Courtney who has taken his creation through an IBC and Epic Games accelerator programme to prove his concept and appeal as a commission for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.”

Although just a one-off, animation represents an interesting shift for BBC Three and Deadline understands the network would be open to more. Having been reinstated as a linear channel more than two years ago, Director General Tim Davie recently revealed it will no longer commission shows for linear but only iPlayer as part of his digital-first approach. BBC kids boss Patricia Hidalgo has been keen for the corporation to greenlight more animation since she took charge. She tripled animation spend and launched a program to find a British version of The Simpsons, which she has previously described as “about roast beef instead of turkey.”

BBC Three’s biggest hits include the likes of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, The Rap Game UK and dramas like Normal People and Red Rose. A big-budget adaptation of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which Netflix has just boarded, will launch soon.

Producer for Galaxy Dance is Paula Crickard, and Courtney is creator and director. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Gillian Burke.

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