Northern Ireland

Belfast schoolboy cast in new kids TV show which hopes to help toddlers navigate their emotions

Jack Morgan (11) from Belfast has been cast in a new children's TV show
Jack Morgan (11) from Belfast has been cast in a new children's TV show

A BELFAST schoolboy has been cast in a new children's TV show which aims to help toddlers navigate the wide range of emotions they experience each day.

Jack Morgan (11) plays the hero character in new animated show, Happy the Hoglet.

The show, which has been produced by Belfast-based production company, Paper Owl Films, uses humour and simple stories to help toddlers understand their emotions and feelings.

Each episode is modelled around a gentle life lesson which explores a different emotion and shows children how to acknowledge, accept and share their feelings.

Jack, a student at St Malachy's College, voices the part of Happy, a baby hedgehog who is grumpy, smelly and has fleas, who rides a daily rollercoaster of moods.

The Sunny River Friends all live on an allotment, which they co-habit with humans.

On their daily adventures, the animals explore a full sphere of authentic emotions, gradually building inner strength by tackling their feelings as well as growing positive ones.

Jack, who was a pupil at St Bernard's Primary School in Glengormley and attending the Belfast School of Speech and Drama when he got the role, said: "I think it will be relatable to other children because sometimes they can feel sad, grumpy or happy".

The animation also showcases the voices of other young actors including Evie Stronge, Rosie Petticrew, Daniel Curry and Anna Forsythe, who also grew up in Belfast.

Grainne McGuinness, creative director at Paper Owl Films, said: "Toddlers have so much emotional learning going on.

"We hope that being part of Happy’s story helps create understanding of their own feelings and their own journeys in building emotional resilience," she said.

"We hope Happy inspires its young viewers to connect with themselves and others through the characters of the show".

Happy The Hoglet launches on Monday and will run on ITV’s littleBe daily at 10.40am and on RTÉjr daily at 8am, 12.10pm and 3.30pm.

Each episode will be available on demand via the RTÉ Player and ITV Hub after broadcasting.