New Podcast About ‘The Moomin Phenomenon’ Hosted By Jennifer Saunders And Lily Collins Launches Today

Lily Collins

The five-part series explores how and why the creations of Finnish artist and writer Tove Jansson have been embraced globally, from Scandinavia to Japan.

Moomin Characters will launch ‘The Moomin Phenomenon,’ a five-part audio documentary series narrated by actress and producer Lily Collins, well known for her role in Emily in Paris, and the multi-hyphenate English actress, singer, comedian, and screenwriter Jennifer Saunders, widely recognized for her role as Edina Monsoon in the TV-series Absolutely Fabulous. The Moomin Phenomenon tells the story of how the Moomins went from being characters in a series of Finnish children’s books to a worldwide phenomenon with fans all over the globe, its own philosophy, hundreds of licensed products, and an annual turnover of over 650 million euros.

The Moomins first appeared in The Moomins and the Great Flood, a story written and illustrated by the Finnish artist Tove Jansson and published in 1945. They were catapulted onto the global stage in 1954, when the London Evening News commissioned Jansson to write a Moomin comic strip which ran for an incredible 20 years and, at its peak, was syndicated in 40 different countries.

‘The Moomin Phenomenon’ explores why fans feel such a deep connection to the characters that Tove Jansson created and the unique philosophy of Moominvalley, where the values of love, equality and courage are ever-present. It asks how and why so many artists – from writers and musicians to designers and jewellers – have been inspired by these stories, and how the brand
balances its licensing programme with the importance of preserving the integrity of Tove Jansson’s body of work. Finally, its looks at the life and legacy of Jansson, an incredible woman who lived
according to her own rules.

Featured in the podcast, amongst others, are:

  • Actor Samuel West, who is a lifelong fan and whose daughter is named after a character in the Moomin stories
  • Designer Rika Kawato, who has made Moomin fabrics for the Japanese market for 10 years
  • Publishers Nat Jansz and Mark Ellingham, who were behind the Moomin x Oxfam collaboration which raised millions of pounds
  • Philosopher Sanna Tirkkonen, literature professor Björn Sundmark, and Tove’s biographer Boel Westin
  • Composer Lauri Porra, who has recently created a new audio identity for Moomin Characters (…and is also bass guitarist in the power metal band, Stratovarius!)
  • Jeweller Harriet Vine, who is the co-founder of Tatty Devine, an east-London based jewellery brand with a Moomin range
  • And a fan named Malin Tjernström, who gets her third Moomin tattoo whilst being interviewed for the podcast!

The podcast is hosted by comedian and actor Jennifer Saunders, who is “evangelical” about the Moomins, having voiced the character of Mymble in the recent TV adaptation, Moominvalley. Saunders discovered the Moomins as an adult when her youngest daughter became “fanatical” about the stories.

Jennifer Saunders, narrator of the podcast, said: “My personal admiration for Tove Jansson is huge, but through this podcast I’ve become aware that I’m not alone – she is truly worshipped all over the world, and rightly so. The uninitiated sometimes see the Moomin stories as being only for children – and they are wonderful children’s books, of course – but having come to them as an adult, I fell in love with the philosophy and the charm. There’s something for everybody and every mood. The stories are dark sometimes, and that’s brilliant. I love how all emotions and the internal workings of our minds are there on the page. And they’re funny too!”

Lily Collins, narrator of the podcast, said: “I am thrilled to share the Moomins with new adults and children who will become inspired by these loveable trolls just as I have been. I first discovered the series and its magical illustrations as a child growing up in the English countryside. There is so much to learn through Tove’s writing about equality, respect for nature, and how to break out of your comfort zone in search of an adventure. I try to bring all of these themes into my daily life as an adult and still today return to the Moomin stories again and again. My husband and I have even started our own Tove Jansson collection of artwork and personal letters that we deeply treasure and
will pass down for generations to come.”

Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove Jansson, said: “Tove was an incredible artist and an exceptional person. She wasn’t afraid of walking her own path and was true to her ideals, and these things fed into her creations – they’re part of what makes the Moomin stories so special. I’m very happy that her work continues to resonate so deeply with people all around the world today.”

Antonio de la Cruz, the producer of ‘The Moomin Phenomenon’, said: “Producing this podcast has been such a joyful experience. Those of us who have always had Moomin in our lives can sometimes take its profound impact for granted, so it’s been really wonderful to have the opportunity to explore that in-depth. From speaking to a paediatric doctor who leads a project to integrate Moomin values ​​into the entire care chain of a children’s hospital, to artists who deeply feel the influence and spirit of Tove in their own work, it has been illuminating, fun and inspiring throughout.”

‘The Moomin Phenomenon’ was produced by Third Ear Creative, a Scandinavian podcast group, on behalf of Moomin Characters. Antonio de la Cruz was the producer and Melody Lovelin was the researcher. Tove Leffler acted as executive producer and the sound engineer was Gustav Sondén.

It is available to download now on all podcast platforms.

Image of Lily Collins ©Moomin Characters 2023

Riot’s MD Caitlin Allen Gives Her Five Copywriting Tips for Family Brands

illustration of a Moomintroll

This article first appeared in Total Licensing.

At Riot Communications, we’re lucky to have worked with some of the world’s most-loved family brands – from literary classics like Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, to stars of the screen including Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit.

We were recently asked by our long-standing client Moomin Characters to pen new long-form profiles for all the key characters in Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories – which was a great honour, as these profiles are used so extensively, from the brand’s consumer-facing website to its guidelines for licensees – and it got us thinking about best practice when copywriting for family brands.

Here are five top tips we wanted to share:

  1. Go back to the source. Whether the source material for the brand is a set of books, comics, scripts, a film, TV series or game, the best way to prepare for a copywriting task is to re-immerse yourself in the world of the brand as it was first imagined by its creator. What’s the atmosphere like? What are the values that come through in the source material? What stylistic choices have been made? What effect does that create? Actively thinking about these questions will deliver the best results – but even just reading a few pages or watching a couple of short clips should help get you into the right mindset.
  2. Know your characters. We love working with character brands and have learnt a thing or two over the years about why certain characters appeal more deeply than others. The trick is tension – characters that are one-dimensional can serve a purpose, but the ones that stay with us are the ones who are more complex and contradictory. For example, in the Moomin stories, Moomintroll both loves adventure and continually seeks the warmth and safety of his family home. His best friend Snufkin is both fiercely independent and utterly reliable: although he leaves for a solo adventure each autumn, he faithfully returns to Moominvalley every spring. Finding the tension in your characters will help unlock what really makes them tick.
  3. Pay homage. In most cases, you won’t want to be exactly mimicking the original creator or source material, but you should pay homage to their style – so it’s important to be familiar with it. What tone does the source material take? Are there particular sayings or turns of phrase that the creator (or characters) use? What reading age is it aimed at? Think about how you can capture something of the creator’s or the character’s voice in what you’re writing – this can be subtle yet still reminiscent of the original material.
  4. Offer something for both children and adults. The most beloved family brands appeal to all ages by offering something for grown-ups as well as for kids. Can you work in some humour or philosophy or worldly wisdom that will speak to older readers, without making the text inaccessible or incomprehensible to children? The key to this is creating layers of meaning, so that different people can take different things from the text.
  5. Have fun. This should be obvious – but if you’re not having fun writing something, how likely is it that people are going to have fun reading it? Be playful, be free, and let your love of the brand shine through. You can always tone it down in subsequent drafts, if required, but it’s better to have an abundance of enthusiasm that you can edit down later than not enough warmth or passion coming through in your writing.

If you’re keen for further inspiration, you can read some of our new character profiles for Moomin Characters here and here.


Caitlin Allen, MD, Riot Communications


Image: © Moomin Characters™

Aardman Celebrates 30 Years of Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers

The Wrong Trousers x Olympia Le Tan clutch bag

Bristol, UK – The multi-award-winning independent animation studio Aardman has today (23rd January) announced its plans for the 30th anniversary celebrations of Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

Released in 1993, The Wrong Trousers was the first film starring the beloved duo to win an Oscar and introduced fan favourite Feathers McGraw, a villainous penguin with ambitions to put Wallace’s inventions to criminal use.

Highlights of the 30th anniversary year include:

  • The release of a limited edition The Wrong Trousers x Olympia Le Tan designer clutch bag featuring Wallace wearing his ‘Techno-Trousers’ alongside Gromit and Feathers McGraw
  • A partnership between Aardman and the Cartoon Museum in London, showcasing Wallace & Gromit artwork over the years with an exciting, never-before-seen exhibition and public events
  • The launch of a new Wallace & Gromit-themed escape room adventure called ‘A Grand Way Out’ at Locked In A Room, Bristol
  • 30 performances of The Wrong Trousers with live orchestral accompaniment, staged by Carrot Productions, taking place all over the UK to mark 30 years since the film’s release

The 30th anniversary celebrations coincide with the production of a brand-new Wallace & Gromit film – the first since 2008’s A Matter of Loaf and Death, which was the UK’s most-viewed TV programme of the 2000s with over 16.2 million viewers tuning in to watch. This brand-new, as-yet untitled adventure will premiere exclusively on Netflix around the world except in the UK, where it will debut first on the BBC before also coming to Netflix. It is set for release in 2024.

Also currently in production is an interactive, narrative-led, single player VR experience for the Meta Quest all-in-one VR headset. ‘The Grand Getaway’ will enable users to walk around, explore and get hands-on (or paws-on) within the world of Wallace & Gromit and truly be a part of the pair’s adventures for the first time.

Nick Park commented:

“It’s very exciting to have some brand-new Wallace & Gromit stories in the works as we celebrate the anniversary of such an important moment in the characters’ history. The Wrong Trousers was a special film for all of us at Aardman. It’s wonderful that it continues to find new fans today, and that we can bring those fans more adventures – and more inventions, more mishaps, and more problems for Gromit to solve.”

The limited edition The Wrong Trousers x Olympia Le Tan designer clutch bag will sell only 77 numbered copies. From the original hand-embroidery in thread and felt appliqué, to the unique Liberty-printed lining, every detail is carefully considered. One clutch can take up to 300 hours of work. The clutch bag will be available exclusively from as of today (23rd January).

The Aardman exhibition at the Cartoon Museum in London will open in September 2023 with an exciting never-before-seen exhibition running until April 2024. Visit the museum to see the only remaining clips, storyboards and movie materials that exist for the classic The Wrong Trousers. Alongside this, the Cartoon Museum will be running multiple events for the public from August 2023.

‘A Grand Way Out’, the new Wallace & Gromit-themed escape room adventure, invites fans to assist the much-loved duo in a race against time. With little over an hour until the village science fete, and eager to show off his new invention, Wallace has forgotten the code to his workshop. With the help of Gromit, players will don the Memory-O-Matic helmet and take a trip down memory lane to help him remember it – before it’s too late! The locked room adventure has been piloted at Locked In A Room, Bristol’s largest escape game experience located in the heart of the city on Millennium Square, and two further rooms will open in March 2023.

Further anniversary plans include:

  • Lots of exciting new Wallace & Gromit products and ranges from licensees including jewellery company Licensed to Charm, paper engineers Paper Engine, and eco-conscious independent tea mixology company Bird & Blend Tea Co., who are launching a themed tin containing 20 tea bags that have been specially blended with Wallace & Gromit in mind – it will be an energising everyday brew, perfect for inventors and those needing a lift! Plus, a partnership with Carrs Pasties to launch a new Wallace & Gromit inspired ‘More Cheese, Ham & Jam Pasty’, containing a blend of four cheese (Wensleydale, Red Leicester, Mature Cheddar, Mozzarella), pulled ham and caramelised onion.
  • A celebration of Wallace & Gromit’s Wrong Trousers Day on Friday 30 June 2023, the annual fundraising event from Aardman’s charity partner, The Grand Appeal, which encourages people to wear their wackiest legwear and donate for the right to look wrong. The Grand Appeal is the dedicated charity for Bristol Children’s Hospital.
  • The annual Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and Aardman ‘Wallace & Gromit’s Cracking Ideas’ competition, which this year will have the theme ‘make The Wrong Trousers right’. Budding inventors will be tasked with the challenge of re-inventing Wallace’s ‘Techno-Trousers’ and turning them into something that can do good for our planet. The competition will be supported by teaching resources, home study packs and a series of events in partnership with regional science centres and museums.
  • Expanded retail presence for Wallace & Gromit – particularly at HMV stores across the UK.
  • Screenings across the UK of The Wrong Trousers with the soundtrack performed live by the WFEL Fairey Band, one of the world’s finest brass bands.
  • Model making workshops taking place at family festivals all over the UK, where fans can learn how to make their own Gromit and Feathers McGraw models from modelling clay.

Visit to keep up to date with all Wallace & Gromit news.

Cheerio Reveals Cover Art and Rough Trade Partnership for Jeremy Deller’s Art Is Magic

Art is Magic book cover

CHEERIO has partnered with legendary record shop Rough Trade on sales for Jeremy Deller’s upcoming book, Art is Magic, it is announced today (Monday 9th January 2023) with all pre-orders to include signed copies, exclusive stickers and pop-ups from the Turner Prize-winning artist.

An entertaining and revealing journey into the mind of one of Britain’s greatest contemporary artists, Art is Magic sees Jeremy Deller bring together for the first time key works from his career alongside the art, pop music, film, politics and history that have inspired him. 

Pulling together all Deller’s cultural touchstones – from acid house and brass bands to crop circles and folk traditions – and featuring conversations between the artist and an eclectic mix of cultural figures and collaborators, from fashion provocateur Sportsbanger to classicist Mary Beard, Art is Magic offers an unpredictable and exhilarating tour of a unique mind.

From his inflatable Stonehenge for the Glasgow International Festival to the Miners’ Strike, bats (a subject in at least three of Deller’s works), and Andy Warhol, to the links between the Industrial Revolution and heavy metal, hen harriers pecking out the eyes of a Tory MP and the Somme anniversary piece We’re Here Because We’re Here, there is something for art lovers, fans and the culturally curious alike. The text is brought to life by artwork from across Deller’s oeuvre, including work which has never been seen before.

Jeremy Deller studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute and at Sussex University. He won the Turner Prize in 2004 for his work ‘Memory Bucket’ and represented Britain in the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. His projects, such as The Battle of Orgreave (2001), We’re Here Because We’re Here (2016) and the documentary Everybody in the Place: An Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992 (2019), have influenced the conventional map of contemporary art.

Art is Magic (£25) – published in hardback on 4th May 2023 priced – is CHEERIO’s flagship publication for 2023. Pre-orders are available here.

Homage to Heritage

Over the past couple of years, we have shared stories in collaboration with The Windrush Generation Legacy Association (WGLA), a charitable organisation headed up by our very own Deborah Klass. The WGLA puts on exhibitions, seminars, and events at its home at the Whitgift Centre in Croydon, London, to celebrate the contributions of over three Caribbean generations to British society. To mark Windrush Day 2021, we shared a Q&A between  Deborah and her mother, Joan Andall – a retired NHS nurse – detailing her experience of emigrating to the UK from Grenada in this piece. This year we also shared the story of married couple Daphney and John Bertrand and their arrival in the UK from Grenada, told by their son Julian here.

Earlier this month, we did some pro-bono copywriting for WGLA for an exhibition by the artist Zoe Sinclair, Homage to Heritage, to accompany her striking portraits of Black icons. As we come to the end of Black History Month, we’d like to share three of the portraits of icons from recent British history – including Baroness Amos, Claudia Jones and Sir Trevor McDonald – along with the biographies we produced for the exhibition. With thanks to the WGLA for giving us the permission to do so.

Zoe Sinclair was born and bred in South London, in her own words ‘a melting pot of diversity and culture’. Of mixed heritage – her father Jamaican and her mother Polish – Zoe was brought up with both cultures; enjoying the differences each parent’s cultures had to offer and the influences on her lived experiences. She cites the lack of relatable portrait artwork as part of her enthusiasm and motivation for creating these portraits. About Homage to Heritage, she says:

“I think it’s very important to have positive role models around to inspire, motivate and exemplify values and behaviour worthy of imitation. I created these limited edition prints featuring iconic heroes and heroines to celebrate them, the marks they’ve made on the world, and to inspire others to be bold in the pursuit of their dreams.

“The stunning African fabrics provide beautiful colour and pattern and pay homage to the heritage of these inspirational people. Each iconic muse has a circle crowning their head representing wholeness, totality, original perfection, the self, the infinite, eternity, God.”

Homage to Heritage is open until 16th December. You can also discover more about Zoe Sinclair’s work here.


Baroness Amos

Baroness Amos of Brondesbury (born 13 March 1954) was appointed a Labour life peer in 1997, making her the first black woman to serve as a Minister in the British cabinet and in the House of Lords. She has consistently sustained interest in, and a commitment to, development issues, equality and human rights.

The Baroness was an adviser to the Mandela Government on leadership and change management issues. Furthermore, she was Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission between 1989 and 1994. She has also held high office as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 2001 and 2003 and held the office of Secretary of State for International Development in 2003. After a further period in the Lords as a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Office, she became Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council between 2003 and 2007.

Baroness Amos served as UK High Commissioner to Australia before joining the UN in 2010 as Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Her work in the voluntary and charity sector and in other non-governmental organisations has gone hand in hand with her policy and political work. She has served as a Trustee for Voluntary Service Overseas, the Windsor Leadership Trust, Project Hope, and the Institute for Public Policy Research. She has also served as Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust.

Baroness Amos was awarded an Honorary Professorship at Thames Valley University in 1995 in recognition of her work on equality and social justice. On 1 July 2010, she received an honorary doctorate (Hon DUniv) from the University of Stirling in recognition of her “outstanding service to our society and her role as a model of leadership and success for women today.” She has also been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD) from the University of Warwick in 2000 and the University of Leicester in 2006.


Claudia Jones

Claudia Jones, born Claudia Vera Cumberbatch (21 February 1915 – 24 December 1964), was a feminist, political activist, visionary, and journalist. She founded Britain’s first major black newspaper, the West Indian Gazette, in 1958. Jones also played a central role in founding the Notting Hill Carnival.

As a young girl, she migrated from Trinidad and Tobago with her family to the US where she took the name Claudia Jones as a form of “self-protective disinformation”. Growing up she became a Communist political activist which later on led to her being deported from the US in 1955 following the political persecution of Communists in the US. From there she came to live in the UK where she was an active member of the Communist Party of Great Britain for the rest of her life, specifically fighting racism within the organisation.

Jones was also involved in the British African-Caribbean community where she helped organise both access to basic facilities, as well as the early movement for equal rights. She campaigned against racism in housing, education and employment. In the early 1960s, Jones helped organise movements against the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill which would make it harder for people of colour to migrate to Britain. She also campaigned for the release of Nelson Mandela.

Claudia Jones died at only 49 years of age due to a heart attack and tuberculosis. However, her political legacy still echoes today. The National Union of Journalists’ Black Members Council holds a prestigious Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture every October, during Black History Month, to honour Jones and celebrate her contribution to Black-British journalism. Yvette Thomas among others founded The Claudia Jones Organisation in London in 1982 to support and empower women and families of African-Caribbean heritage. These initiatives are a few among many as Claudia Jones is considered an icon in anti-racism movements in the UK and across the globe.


Sir Trevor McDonald

Sir Trevor McDonald (born 16 August 1939) is a retired radio reporter, news presenter, and sports journalist. He was born and educated in Trinidad where his career in media began, working as a radio reporter, news presenter and sports journalist. He was sent to London in 1962 to report on talks at Marlborough House which culminated in setting a date for Trinidad’s Independence.

In 1969 he came to London to work as a Producer in the BBC Overseas Regional Service. He went on to produce Current Affairs programmes for the BBC World Service and worked on a number of shows like The World Today which are still part of the BBC World Service schedule. He continued working as a reporter for ITN as a General Reporter in 1973. McDonald later became the anchor of News at Ten, The Evening News, and Tonight with Trevor McDonald.

He has won more awards than any other news broadcaster in the UK, including Newscaster of the Year in 1993, 1997, and 1999. In 1999, he was knighted for his services to journalism. McDonald is also the biographer of two books on cricketing heroes, Clive Lloyd (1985) and Vivian Richards (1987), and has published his autobiography Fortunate Circumstances (1993).

Since retiring as a newsreader in 2008, McDonald has made and presented a number of critically acclaimed documentaries, including Death Row 2018 (2018), a sequel to his award-winning documentary Inside Death Row (2013), and Martin Luther King by Trevor McDonald (2018). McDonald was the first journalist to interview Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in 1990. It was a moment of profound impact on the journalist’s career and in 2018, to mark the centenary of Mandela’s birth, McDonald made the documentary Trevor McDonald: Return to South Africa, in which he considered the continued struggle for social equality in post-apartheid South Africa.


Pictures in order of appearance: Baroness Amos, Claudia Jones, Sir Trevor McDonald – by Zoe Sinclair ©              

Riot delivers communications campaign for Flying Scotsman centenary

Flying Scotsman Michael Morpurgo

Riot Communications has won a competitive tender from the National Railway Museum, part of the Science Museum Group to deliver a communications campaign for the centenary of one of its star objects, the Flying Scotsman. The objective: to celebrate the importance of the world-famous locomotive in British history whilst also introducing it to new family audiences.

February 2023 will mark 100 years since the celebrity locomotive embarked on its first voyage from the sheds at Doncaster Works. It is named after the daily 10:00am London to Edinburgh rail service and has since become synonymous with the golden-age of rail travel alongside the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express.

Riot announces its partnership with the National Railway Museum following two months of intensive preparation for the launch of the centenary campaign at a media event at London King’s Cross station on 14th October. It was Flying Scotsman’s first public appearance following a major mechanical overhaul, which has been completed in recent days.

To drive national interest in the centenary, with a particular focus on engaging family audiences, Riot worked closely with the National Railway Museum (across its events, publishing, brand licensing and retail teams) and a range of stakeholders – including the Science Museum Group, Network Rail, Thames & Hudson, and funders including model railways manufacturer Hornby – to create a launch event that delivered engagement on multiple levels. This included a BBC One – Breakfast broadcast package filmed live from Platform 8 of the station, where Flying Scotsman sat in light steam over the course of the weekend (14-16th October), and a photocall for international picture desks featuring bestselling author Michael Morpurgo – who has written a new children’s book for the centenary – doing a special reading to six-year-old pupils from a local Camden primary school next to the iconic locomotive (pictured). Getty Images’ photograph was featured in the Guardian’s ‘Best photographs of the day‘.

Alongside Michael Morpurgo, whose book tells the story of a little girl who dreams of being a train driver, spokespeople for the occasion included: the National Railway Museum’s Dr Sophie Vohra, a rail anniversary expert; Grand Central Trainee Train Driver Stacey Fox, who operates out of King’s Cross Station, and Molly and Polly Jackson, granddaughters of Wilston Samuel Jackson, Flying Scotsman’s first black train driver.

Ahead of the centenary itself in February 2023, families nationwide are invited to discover the magic of Flying Scotsman through Michael Morpurgo’s Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever and by exploring the calendar of centenary events which went live on Friday 14th October and include the chance to travel behind Flying Scotsman at several locations across the country between October 2022 and November 2023. Further details about the centenary tour can be found in this brilliant Guardian travel feature

Alistair Otto, Commercial Operations Director, Science Museum Group, said:

“Flying Scotsman is one of the jewels in the crown of our world-class collection, so we are delighted to have this unique opportunity to celebrate this significant milestone with the nation. The centenary calendar gives us some unique opportunities to engage with a wide range of audiences and reach those who may not ordinarily engage with this iconic locomotive. Working with Riot has been a fantastic experience for all our teams and we know with their expertise and support it will be another memorable year for Flying Scotsman.”

Katy MacMillan-Scott, Director, Riot Communications, said:

“We jumped at the opportunity to put ourselves forward for this tender, knowing Flying Scotsman’s place in British cultural history and immediately seeing how Riot could bring this icon of engineering and design to a brand-new generation of parents and children. After all, who doesn’t love a steam train? After a two-month deep dive into the world of rail, we were more excited than ever to launch Scotsman’s centenary campaign last week at King’s Cross. Watch this space ahead of the 100th anniversary in February 2023, when Flying Scotsman will travel to Edinburgh Waverley.”

Picture: Author Michael Morpurgo and visiting schoolchildren from Argyle Primary School in Camden cover their ears as Flying Scotsman’s whistle blows © Jody Kingzett / Science Museum Group

The Estate of Francis Bacon x Riot

The Estate of Francis Bacon has hired Riot Communications to deliver PR and event support around the publication of a seminal book on British artist Richard Smith (1931-2016). Richard Smith: Artworks 1954-2013 is the third in the Studies in Art series, published by the Estate to shed light on those of Bacon’s contemporaries whose names have been lost despite their important contributions to contemporary art.

A hugely influential British painter, active between the 1950s and 2000s, Richard Smith earned acclaim relatively early in his life. His first retrospective went on show at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1966, when he was just 34. Some of his many achievements include being the first British artist to have a solo show at the Venice Biennale in 1970, and putting on arguably the very first solo Pop Art exhibition at the Green Gallery in New York in 1961 with his first solo exhibition.

Smith’s brilliance stemmed from his ability to take imagery from pop culture and merge it with abstract techniques. He tested the boundaries of painting, using everything from advertising and popular music to the natural world as inspiration for his art. Published on 27th October 2022, Richard Smith: Artworks 1954-2013 is the most comprehensive publication on the artist and his works to date. It includes essays from influential names from the art world, all of whom knew Smith personally or have an intimate knowledge of his work, including the curator David Alan Mellor, Chris Stephens (previous Head of Displays at Tate Britain, now Director of the Holburne Museum) and the artist Alex Massouras. Its publication coincides with exhibitions of Smith’s work taking place at The Edge in Bath (28 Sep-7 Dec) and at Flowers Gallery in London (15 Nov – 7 Jan).

Caitlin Allen, Managing Director, Riot Communications, said: “The work of the Francis Bacon Estate is fascinating and far-ranging, and we are delighted to have them as a client. As soon as we’d read the first couple of pages of Richard Smith: Artworks 1954-2013, we realised what an important figure Smith was in the art world. We are very excited to be playing a part in bringing his ground-breaking work to the attention of new audiences.”

Ben Harrison, Deputy Administrator, The Estate of Francis Bacon, said: “I had seen Riot do a great job of promoting a book related to Francis Bacon, and first met them at its launch. We knew that we needed to invest in PR support for the latest in our Studies in Art series to revive interest in Richard Smith. Riot saw early layouts of the book and immediately understood why we were so excited to be publishing new material on Smith, along with the fullest illustration of his oeuvre to date. In addition to the PR campaign, Riot’s help with the exhibitions being organised in connection with the book is proving invaluable. Riot’s professionalism instils confidence, and they are simply nice people to work with.

Q&A with Riot’s new Campaign Executive, Hedvig Lindström

Last month, we welcomed Hedvig Lindström to Team Riot as Campaigns Executive. Hedvig previously worked in a digital marketing role, writing copy and expanding social media reach for a variety of clients, following her work in the Swedish Embassy’s Cultural Affairs team. She has a BA in Communication and Media Studies and an MA in Linguistics from Södertörn University in Stockholm. Hedvig brings a broad range of experience to Riot, with her marketing knowledge and her deep passion for culture, which we know will be an asset to the team. Want to get to know her a bit better? We’ve asked Hedvig to share some of her passions and what she is most looking forward to working at Riot.

What are you most excited about when it comes to joining Riot?

I’m excited to work on a variety of interesting projects that I feel genuinely invested in. I’m also looking forward to having the opportunity to use and explore my creativity more in my day-to-day work.

With no limitations in place, who would be your dream client?

That’s such a hard question – either an interesting contemporary London theatre like the Almeida or my favourite Swedish author Jonas Hassen Khemiri. I loved working with the Swedish Embassy trying to help Swedish authors reach new audiences internationally as there are so many that don’t get read outside of Sweden. Jonas Hassen Khemiri has a very unique voice that explores identity and alienation with perfectly considered language that he uses to play with the framework of a novel in new and interesting ways. I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve recommended his novel Everything I Don’t Remember, the translation into English is also excellent.

What was the first book that you fell in love with?

I would have to say the Nancy Drew books because I can remember just being completely caught up in them and reading for hours and hours as a child. As I got older, I remember reading everything on my parents’ bookshelves, and I think The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans was probably the first adult book I read as a young teenager, which was a very special feeling at that age. Unfortunately, I probably wouldn’t enjoy these titles as much as I to pick them up today.


What are some of your other passions?

Besides all things culture, I absolutely love knitting and food. One of my favourite things about London is that you can literally get any type of food you want on any day. There are also some really good knitting shops where I spend too much money and too little time. I’ve also always been interested in people and psychology. I wanted to be a therapist when I was younger but now I just indulge in easily digestible reads related to the subject.

Q&A with Riot’s new Campaign Executive, Niamh Houston

Last month, we welcomed Niamh Houston to Team Riot as our new Campaign Executive. Niamh has recently completed an MA in Journalism at Goldsmiths, University of London while working as a freelance journalist for Reach PLC. Her time as a journalist means she brings to Riot a sharp eye for a news story, excellent writing and communications skills, attention to detail, and experience at delivering to deadlines. We’re excited to see Niamh’s PR career take off!

Want to get to know her a bit better? We’ve asked her to share a bit about some of her passions and the things she is most looking forward to about working at Riot.

What are you most excited about when it comes to joining Riot?

More than anything, it’s the chance to work with creative people, on creative projects with so much variety. Riot feels like such a perfect place for me to merge my passions and my skills while learning along the way – and working for a company that shares my values is such an added extra.

With no limitations in place, who would be your dream client?
Having recently undertaken my 15th rewatch of Fleabag, I’d have to say my dream client would be Phoebe Waller-Bridge. But as we’re talking about famous Phoebes, I’d love to work with Phoebe Bridgers – she needs to write a book soon!

What was the first book that you fell in love with?
When I was a kid, there was a book about a toy cat called Nothing by Mick Inkpen – the author of Kipper – which I absolutely fell in love with. This small raggedy toy was brought back to life once it was loved again! As a teen, I loved Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, but that could be because I was mildly obsessed with Audrey Hepburn….

What are some of your other passions?   
There are so many, but the biggest one is undoubtedly film. It’s to the point that I have a YouTube playlist for musical scores of films that make me cry which I listen to more often than I’d care to admit. I’ll watch anything as my taste is very eclectic, but I do have a soft spot for 80s and 90s rom-coms and indie films.

Q&A with Riot’s new Associate Director, Jessica Jackson

Earlier this month we welcomed the fantastic Jessica Jackson to Team Riot as our new Associate Director. She will become the strategic lead on several of our high-profile clients across the publishing sector and beyond. Having previously held senior management posts at several leading UK publishing houses – most recently as Interim PR Director at HarperNonfiction – she has worked with a whole host of incredible writers from Bruce Springsteen and Russell Brand to Poorna Bell and Jack Monroe.

Want to get to know Jessica a bit better? We’ve asked her to share a bit about some of her passions and the things she is most looking forward to about working at Riot.

What are you most excited about when it comes to joining Riot?

More than anything, I’m excited to be joining an amazing team of people who share my passion to create positive change through the power of culture, and believe in its ability to connect, inspire and transform the world around us.

With no limitations in place, who would be your dream client?

I’d really like to work with Jay Shetty. I believe we are at our happiest when we are connected with a purpose in life. I’m also fascinated by the teachings that come from ancient wisdom. I love how Jay is working every day to inspire people through these ideas on a global scale.

What was the first book that you fell in love with?

There are so many! But if I had to choose one, it would be Mary Oliver’s selected poems Wild Geese. This collection, alongside the Four Quartets by T.S Eliot, inspired my great love of poetry and they have been constant companions through life.

What are some of your other passions?   

One of my undercover passions is backgammon. I love games, and particularly those that rely on an equal balance of skill and chance or risk. My lifetime ambition is to enter the Backgammon World Championship in Monte Carlo. Watch this space…