Robin Lyons is very much in demand as a writer and story editor of animation projects. He works with his writing partner, Andrew Offiler. They have just finished story editing and writing scripts for YoYo, a series for Italian public broadcaster RAI, and are working on the development of two series for Irish company, Futurum.
Robin’s writing career started as a student at Oxford where he contributed sketches for several revues in which he performed, including two Oxford Revues, An Exhibition of Ourselves and Her Majesty’s Pleasure.
He also wrote a dramatic adaptation of André Maurois’ book Fattypuffs and Thinifers which was performed in the open air.
His first professional work was a one act play commissioned by the British Dance Drama Theatre called He Looks Like An Angel. He contributed song lyrics to several productions by the Red Light Theatre, writing with composer Charlie Barber. He wrote and directed a full length dramatic work based on the life and work of French author and jazz artist Boris Vian, again with music by Barber.
At this time Robin started collaborating with composer Chris Stuart with whom he had performed at Oxford writing comedy songs which they performed with their own musical revue. Robin wrote all the lyrics, links and sketches for their live shows as well as for broadcasts on radio and television. These included several revues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, starting with The Penultimate Show On Earth at the Richard De Marco gallery.
The revue became known as Baby Grand. Apart from live performances it made appearances on BBC radio shows such as Medium Dry Sherrin and Not Now, I’m Listening as well as the tv shows Pebble Mill at One and Friday Night, Saturday Morning. These featured songs written by Robin with Chris Stuart.
Other shows featuring the group and written by Robin include two specials for HTV, shown on the ITV network: For Patrons Only and Back in the Pavilion.
For BBC radio, Robin wrote and performed in a series of 6 x 15 minute programmes for Radio 2 The Baby Grand Song Factory, a 45 minute one-off comedy The Underwater Towering Inferno, as well as a half hour of sketches and songs satirising the devolution referendum of 1979 for BBC Radio Wales. Chris Stuart wrote the music for these shows.
For television Robin wrote and performed in two series of 6 x 30 minute programmes for BBC 2, Verse, Worse and Baby Grand and Say It With Baby Grand. Again all the music was written by Chris Stuart.
At the same time Robin was working as a freelance critic, covering dance and jazz for the Guardian but also contributing to Jazz Journal, TES and the Western Mail. He also write several scripts for BBC Schools Radio, including a three part musical with music by Chris Stuart.
He also ghost wrote the children’s books SuperTed for its creator Mike Young and this led to the writing that Robin Lyons is best known for today – scripts for animation. Whilst pursuing a career in animation Robin has also continued to work with Chris Stuart, writing songs for other artists and performing occasionally as a duo. He wrote links for The Chris Stuart Cha Cha Chat Show for BBC Wales tv and with Chris Stuart wrote and performed the 6 x 30 minute BBC Wales Radio comedy series The World in Half an Hour.
Animation credits include:
SuperTed (37 x 8 mins) written by Robin Lyons. For S4C/BBC
A Winter Story (25 mins) written by Robin Lyons. For S4C/BBC
Easter Egg (25 mins) written by Robin Lyons. For S4C/BBC
Turkey Love (25 mins) written by Robin Lyons. For S4C/BBC
Gerald Of Wales (25 mins) written by Geoff Ballinger, Robin Lyons, Andrew Offiler and Wayne Thomas.
Space Baby (development for a series and pilot script). Written by Robin Lyons and Judy Rothman. This became the Hanna Barbera series Fantastic Max.
The Princess And The Goblin (80 min). Internationally distributed animated feature, including on 800 screens in the US. Screenplay by Robin Lyons, adapted from the book by George MacDonald
After this feature Robin started writing with former storyboard artist Andrew Offiler, with whom he continues to work and with whom he has written and/or story edited the following shows.
Tales of The Tooth Fairies (26 x 5′) Robin and Andrew were the story editors for this series.
Robert Creep: A Dog’s Life. Robin and Andrew wrote this half hour special for Channel 4 based on an idea by director Claude Luyet.
Kersplat! This live action series about comics for Channel 4 was written by Robin and Andrew.
Santa’s First Christmas was a Christmas special for WDR and the BBC written by Robin and Andrew.
Billy The Cat (First Series 52 x 25′) Robin and Andrew were the story editors for this series for international distribution, working closely with ZDF. They wrote 6 scripts.
Robin and Andrew worked on several development projects for Central TV, writing a bible for an animated series based on Treasure Island, as well as a 50 minute adaptation of the Thackery novel, The Rose And The Ring.
They also wrote several scripts for HahnFilm in Berlin, most notably the animated feature Asterix in Amerika. They also wrote scripts for the animated series Wilf, Urmel, BiBi Blocksberg, Benjamin Blümchen and Renaade.
They wrote five half hour specials as part of Cinar’s The Real Story Of… series. Baa Baa Black Sheep, O Christmas Tree, Au Clair de la Lune, Sur Le Pont D’Avignon and Here Comes The Bride.
Romuald The Reindeer a series shown on the BBC was created by Robin Lyons and Andrew Offiler but they only wrote one of the 13 episodes. The series was written by Roger Planer whose brother Nigel voiced the title character.
Jules Verne’s Amazing Journeys was a series of television features made for France TV. Robin and Andrew were the story editors and wrote one feature length episode, The Jangada.
Albert Says/ Albert Asks were educational series made for ZDF by Cologne Cartoon. Robin and Andrew were story editors of these series and wrote many of the scripts.
Siebenstein: Küsse in Angebot. Robin and Andrew wrote this half hour episode of the long running live action/puppet series for ZDF. They also wrote scripts for the spin-off series Rudi and Trudi.
The Hurricanes (65 x 25′) Robin and Andrew were story editors of this top rating animation series broadcast on ITV. They wrote 13 of the scripts.
Flight Squad (26 x 25′) Robin and Andrew wrote 13 episodes of this series for Canadian company Cinar.
Unlikely as it may seem, Robin and Andrew wrote an episode of Maxie’s World, a series about a cheerleader surfer girl for Dic.
Lenny and Tweek. Robin and Andrew wrote some episodes of this series for JEP Animation and WDR.
The Blobs and Meeow! These were series adaptated from books and made for STV. They were broadcast on the ITV network. Robin and Andrew developed them for television and were story editors. They also contributed scripts.
Little Hippo/Petit Potam. Robin and Andrew were story editors of this 52 episode series made by Marina for France TV. They wrote several scripts and also the screenplay for the spin-off animated feature, called simply Petit Potam.
Hilltop Hospital (52 x 10) This was a BAFTA winning series series adapted by Robin and Andrew from the books by Nicolas Allan. They acted as story editors and wrote 11 scripts. Broadcast on ITV it was the top rating preschool animation show of its day, outperforming Bob The Builder and others.
They wrote a three part radio series for BBC Schools, Radio Jukebox.
Fireman Sam. They story edited and wrote 9 episodes of the final series of Fireman Sam to be made in stop motion.
Psi-5. They created an idea for a sci-fy animated comedy for S4C and wrote a pilot which was broadcast.
Hana’s Helpline (52 x 10) Made for Channel Five, ZDF and S4C this series won a Broadcast Award for Best Children’s Programme, beating off five BBC shows. Robin and Andrew were story editors and wrote 11 scripts.
Igam Ogam (52 x 10) was made for the same broadcasters. Robin and Andrew were story editors and wrote 25 scripts.
Vic The Viking Robin and Andrew wrote 9 scripts for this CG comedy series, a remake of a 70’s series.
Julio Bunny is a 52 episode series adapted from the best selling books by Nicola Costa. It was made by Zodiak (Milan) and broadcast on RAI YoYo. Robin and Andrew were story editors, working with Tea Orsi. They wrote many of the scripts.
Inui. This 52 episode series was made by Jep Animation for ZDF. Robin and Andrew started as story editors but ended up writing 49 of the 52 scripts.
Purple Turtle. Robin and Andrew were story editors for this series for Indian company Aadarsh.
YoYo. Robin and Andrew developed this series and were story editors for all 104 episodes, writing over 30 of the scripts. YoYo is made by Showlab in Turin for Rai YoYo and the first series had spectacular ratings on the channel. At the time of writing this (early 2020) the second season has yet to be broadcast.