Paragon to create first play park based on BBC cult hit

In the Night Garden characters
In the Night Garden characters
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​ATTRACTIONS company Paragon Entertainment, the firm behind the new Wallace and Gromit ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the £97m Titanic exhibition in Belfast, is to create the first ​pre-school branded play centre attraction in the UK based on the BAFTA award-winning TV programme In the Night Garden.

York-based Paragon will own and operate the attraction in ​an agreement with media production company DHX Media.

The firm is in the process of identifying a suitable location which will also sell In the Night Garden branded merchandise.

The BBC children’s television series has become very popular among children aged between one and four and is seen as a godsend among parents who want to calm their offspring down before bed.

It was created by the original Teletubbies creative team, Anne Wood and Andrew Davenport, and has become a ratings hit on CBeebies.

The In the Night Garden magazine is now the best-selling pre-school title to be constantly in print since September 2007.

Mark Pyrah, CEO of Paragon, said:​ ​“In The Night Garden is a hugely popular brand and one we are thrilled to be associated with.

​“​We look forward to working with In the Night Garden to create an innovative and memorable children’s play experience.

​“​We also look forward to strengthening our relationship with ​​DHX Media through collaboration on this exciting project.”

Tom Roe, ​c​ommercial ​d​irector of DHX Media, said:​ ​“We are delighted to take this well-loved pre​-​school brand into a new attraction with a partner of this calibre.

​“​For the first time little fans will be able to immerse themselves in the brand through a fun play centre experience.

​“​We look forward to realising this vision and bringing In the Night Garden to life within the play centre environment.”

Last month Paragon said delays on a major contract will result in a small half-year loss. The group is working on a number of high profile projects including the National Museum of Kazakhstan, Kidzania London, Dubai Dreamworks Hotel, Hamley’s Russia, Glasgow Science Centre, Harrods Zaha Hadid, Kapsaic Aramco and the new Olympic Museum works.

​Mr Pyrah said: “Whilst there has been delay in a project award for Paragon Creative in the first half, we are confident that we have in place the contracts and the pipeline to considerably increase our pace in the second half of 2014 and deliver a 10 per cent growth in revenue and EBITDA for the full 2014 year.”

The group said a delay to a major Paragon Creative contract earlier in the year has meant that some 2014 work will now move into 2015.

“Whilst we expect a large increase in ‘design and build’ activity from the first half to the second half of this year, this contract delay will result in a small EBITDA loss at the interim stage with full-year EBITDA coming in below current management expectations,” said Mr Pyrah.

Despite the delay the group said that the quality of its order book and pipeline are at “record levels”, underpinning visibility of ongoing growth.

Paragon said its attractions division has made progress in developing and negotiating a number of new attractions con- cepts.