Northern Ireland

Autism child programme Pablo sold to US and Canada

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Media captionPablo is a five-year-old boy with autism who approaches everyday situations in a novel way

A Belfast-made BBC programme starring a child with autism has been purchased by transatlantic broadcasters.

Pablo, an animation series written and produced by Paper Owl Films, will debut on US network Universal Kids on Monday - the beginning of World Autism Awareness Week.

It has also been sold to Canada's public broadcaster CBC.

The programme is due to be aired in Latin America, Australia, the Middle East, China and Africa later this year.

Pablo has proved popular with young viewers of CBeebies and RTÉjr since it first aired in September 2017.

Having drawn impressive audiences and ratings in the UK and Ireland, series two is now in production.

Each episode follows the story of a resourceful five-year-old boy with autism, who approaches everyday situations in a novel way.

Image caption Jake Williamson, the voice of Pablo

Using magic crayons, he creates an imaginary "art world" filled with animal characters which help him turn life's challenges into adventures.

Inspired by the real-life experiences of children with autism, each episode is devised, co-written and voiced by people on the autistic spectrum.

Pablo creator, Grainne McGuiness of Paper Owl Films, said: "We wanted to create an authentic and compelling children's TV series to encourage greater understanding and empathy around autism.

"We're delighted that UK and Ireland viewers have so enjoyed the magic of Pablo and very proud that his exciting adventures are now going to be shared with millions of new children and grown-ups across the world."