Hello – Maddy here – creator and producer of Baby Jake for production company Darrall Macqueen and juggler of all things family! Although I don’t have 10 children like the windmill family in Baby Jake, I have a one year old and a three year old that require regular chasing! Neither of them feature in this new CBeebies show, although they have inspired much of the series warmth and humour.
Baby Jake is a refreshingly natural series, starring a real baby, which begins on CBeebies this July. Baby Jake is the youngest of 10 children who live in a windmill with their parents. His six-year-old brother Isaac is the series narrator who can understand all Baby Jake’s giggles and gurgles and opens the door to an imaginary world where Baby Jake sings, dances and baby-talks with his animal friends Pengy Quin, Sydney the Monkey, Nibbles the Rabbit and the Hamsternauts.
At the heart of Baby Jake is the relationship between our 9 month old baby boy Jake and his older sibling, Isaac aged 6. We wanted the on-screen connection between these brothers to be as genuine as possible so we’ve cast two real life brothers, Adamo and Franco, as Baby Jake and Isaac – see how natural they are together on the show! We auditioned hundreds of babies before we found the right Baby Jake. It was total luck that when baby Adamo came to one of our last auditions with his Mum, along came his brother Franco too. I auditioned them both together and could hardly contain my delight when they cuddled and kissed so naturally for camera and clearly had the magic that we had been looking for. They were both fun children to work with. Thanks to their Mum, Nicola, too because they were really beautifully behaved children on the TV set!
Once we had cast Adamo as our Baby Jake we set about photographing him for the animators (Jam Media, based in Dublin) who required multiple poses to transform Adamo into a photo realistic walking, talking, crawling animated baby. Over three days in a photographic studio we used 7 stills cameras – all clicking simultaneously – to generate around 15,000 images of Baby Jake for the animators to use. When you film with a baby there are formal guidelines which must be adhered to and these include the hours on set that a baby can work. Shooting with so many cameras was the only way to get the job done!
There was a lot of good luck and positivity throughout the entire production of Baby Jake – including a double rainbow in the sky at the windmill location in Lincolnshire which you will see we have used to end the show. It really was an incredible sight! I hope this image and the sunny warmth of this family-focused programme strikes an emotional chord with all of you and your family – if so, come and laugh and smile with Baby Jake everyday at 10.15 and 14.15 on CBeebies from Monday 4th July.