SINGAPORE - Popular children's entertainment programme Hi-5 is filming its latest season in Singapore, the first time the 14-year-old show is being produced outside of Australia.
Its executive creative director and executive producer, Ms Julie Greene, notes that it was a natural progression as Singapore-listed private equity firm Asiasons Group acquired Hi-5 in July last year from Nine Network Australia and Southern Star Entertainment for an undisclosed amount.
The 100-per-cent acquisition gives Asiasons ownership of the TV show - which is seen by more than one million children in around 80 countries - including production, licensing and merchandising rights.
Vietnamese, Mandarin and Mexican versions of the show are in the pipeline; these would be the first non-English-language editions to be produced.
According to Ms Greene, 44, the decision to film the current show in Singapore was an easy one to make. "Singapore's been a massive loyal fanbase that really loves the brand and they love the characters.
Singapore has always been a second home for the cast," says Ms Greene, who has been with the show since 2004.
In fact, Singapore was the first overseas stop Hi-5 came to, adds cast member Stevie Nicholson.
The 29-year-old Australian says of filming the show away from Australia: "For us, it's like taking Hi-5 on the road. With Hi-5, we spend threequarters of the year touring with our live stage shows. And it felt quite natural to take that experience on the road with the filming team."