Friday 28 September 2012, 14:46
Exciting times at CBeebies - on Monday 1st October at 4.00 we welcome a brand new show, Get Well Soon, onto our screens. Controller of CBeebies, Kay Benbow, dropped in to tell us all about it herself, then we managed to grab the star of the show, Dr Ranj (in between ward rounds!) and ask him a few questions. Here's Kay to tell you more:
One of the best things about being the Controller of CBeebies is when someone presents me with an idea and I think, 'Yes!' That is exactly what CBeebies needs. That's how it was with Get Well Soon.
When Dr Ranj first came to talk about Get Well Soon he gave a great presentation - complete with puppet! I instantly felt he was someone who really understood how to put children and parents at ease when discussing challenging, embarrassing and sometimes scary issues.
Being a parent, the idea really struck a chord with me. I kept thinking if only I had had access to a programme like that when my two sons were little, it would have alleviated a lot of the worry and anxiety I faced as an inexperienced parent trying to explain things properly and without scaring them.
I really hope Get Well Soon will be the equivalent of a child health book on TV and online.
I'm really proud of the way we've managed to make Get Well Soon fun and engaging, and informative.
We've tackled some potentially tricky subjects but they're all approached sensitively, with a good dose of humour and some great songs! I think a lot of that is down to Dr Ranj - together with Nurse Morag and her Healthy Helpers. Dr Ranj does a great job of explaining things honestly and with empathy, as well as singing and interacting with our youngest audience brilliantly.
So without further ado, I'd like to hand you over to CBeebies' doctor in the house - Dr Ranj!
Hello Dr Ranj! Are you a real doctor?
Yes! Actually, a lot of people seem to be asking me that at the moment!
I've been a practising NHS doctor since 2003 - that's almost 10 years! I've worked
in a variety of different hospitals in lots of specialties. I look after everyone from
extremely premature babies to young adults with complex disabilities - it's busy but
I love every minute!
Tell us about Get Well Soon, what's it all about?
'Get Well Soon' is a unique pre-school show based on children's experiences of
going to the doctor. Its aim is to educate as well as entertain, and allow kids to
learn about their bodies in health and sickness. The show is based in a surgery
that is run by myself (Dr. Ranj) and Nurse Morag - my lovely and knowledgeable
Through the eyes of five loveable puppet characters (Deep, Kiwa, Riz, Jobi and
Petal) that come in to visit the doctor, we get a chance to see the medical world as a
safe and stimulating environment full of music, laughter and games.
What kind of conditions do you cover in the series?
The series explores a range of common childhood complaints which make it
relevant to lots of people. Everything from hiccups to hand, foot and mouth
disease, verrucas to vaccination, and constipation to conjunctivitis - it all gets the
'Get Well Soon' treatment! We even deal with conditions like asthma and diabetes
in a positive and empowering way - something that is pioneering in pre-school TV
and I am extremely proud of.
How did you manage to make being ill a fun subject?
It's all about how you present the information - 'illness' doesn't always have to be
awful and is something we all go through. Fortunately many childhood illnesses
are not serious, but they can still be frightening for children and their parents. Even
long term conditions can be made less scary by putting it all into the right
How did being a TV doctor compare to being a real doctor?
It's a completely different world, but I'm glad I got to use my 'day job' to do
something really wacky and fun. In fact, I don't think I have ever had so much fun at
Working in TV means I get to meet some really cool people who have done
amazing things. Working with the crew and puppets (and the immensely talented
puppeteers) on 'Get Well Soon' is something that I will always cherish.
Do you have a favourite episode? Any funny moments during filming?
Hmmm, now that's a tough question! I'm really pleased with the whole series but I am especially proud of the fact that
we have dealt with conditions like diabetes in such a positive way because the
reality of it can seem so different for someone who has it. No-one has had the guts
to do this with a pre-school audience before and I hope that someone out there will
find it useful in real life.
Making the show was a laugh-a-minute affair - my face literally hurt at the end of
every day! One of the funniest times was when all the puppets got together to film
the introductions and messages. I recommend you look out for those…
Can you put your real doctor's hat on again for a moment - what is the best advice
you could give parents to help their kids stay healthy?
The one thing that I would tell everyone is get your kids interested in learning about
their bodies from an early age. Use every tool to get them engaged and excited -
books, computers, activities and games. Only then will they really understand how
'being healthy' is relevant to them and it will make it fun rather than a chore.
And lead by example - your kids will follow what you do and do as you say, so make sure you're looking after yourself too!
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