By Shelby Brooks

THE POPULAR children’s book series Real Pigeons is being turned into a TV show and has a surprising connection to South Gippsland.

Real Pigeons illustrator Ben Wood was born and raised in Mirboo North and credits his high school art teachers for encouraging him to follow his passion.

The series is co-created by Ben and author Andrew McDonald and follows the antics of a team of crime fighting pigeons that act as a surveillance system, looking after the city they live in.

The Real Pigeons books has been sold in 11 countries. It was recently announced the books would be turned into a TV series and movie by Nickelodeon.

Ben said Nickelodeon approached the pair after the first book was published in 2018.

“It actually happened really quickly. We were a bit gobsmacked really. We never expected to have the level of excitement that the series has received in Australia and internationally.”

The Real Pigeons Fight Crime TV series will be executive produced by The Late Late Show host James Corden and executive producer Ben Winston with Andrew and Ben serving as consultants throughout development and production.

“They were really keen to sign on,” Ben said.

“It’s still really early stages but we are thrilled that James and Ben have signed on because they have the right humour for the series.

“The story is funny but it also has a lot of heart and they seem like the right fit for the series.”

Andrew first developed the idea for the series by questioning how ubiquitous pigeons are, Ben said.

“Most of the time humans don’t pay much attention to them,” Ben said.

“But the book is really about how this team of five pigeons, who all have different – what we call pigeon powers but are basically character strengths – what they can bring to the team and how they can solve things.”

Ben said the books are a mix of the traditional style of storytelling with visuals and text, mashed up with comic-book style panels and cinematic viewpoints.

“It’s always a juggle for what’s the best way to tell the story,” he said.

“We wanted both elements; the text and imagery, to be really strong and give readers a lot to go through.”

Book six is set to be released in November this year.