CBeebies Grown-ups

Hi, I'm Joel Stewart, Creator and Director of The Adventures of Abney & Teal. I designed the characters, and painted all the bits and pieces that their world is made up of. I work with the team on all the stories, and I oversee the finished look of the show, I also helped develop a lot of the music, and have my nose poking in just about everywhere!

I am primarily a book illustrator, who also writes (and plays a bit of music). I have always been interested in film and animation too, so when Anne Wood, founder and Creative Director of Ragdoll Productions, approached me about the possibility of developing something entirely new with them for television I jumped at the chance!

The series is about Abney and Teal who live on an island in the middle of a lake, in the middle of a park, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the big city. They share the island with an array of odd characters, and the most everyday activities seem to get them all into a host of trouble!

All the characters were invented in my sketchbooks, but it wasn't until I was out for a walk in Victoria Park in East London that I found myself casting them on an Island in a park in a city. I was just staring out at the island across the water and began to imagine the characters from my sketchbook going about their business in that setting. I heard the sounds of the city all around and realised that this was a whole world in itself, and went home to think about the best way I could make that world come to life.

For television I have been most excited by the possibilities for exploring things I hadn't been able to in books. For me a good drawing has a sense of movement in its lines and works perfectly on the page, but here I was interested more in the possibilities of combining puppets, painting, and techniques with a filmic quality. I knew that bringing all these things together would require a fantastic production team. But even now after nearly three years working on the show I'm still astonished by what we've achieved by using all these traditional, and not-so traditional methods!

I always had strong ideas about what the show should look and feel like (and we've surpassed most of those), but equally exciting has been writing with the brilliant Matilda Tristram and Steve Roberts (who is the creator of the fantastic Dipdap series), and also with Anne and the editing team. Together we've made some stories which I am just over the moon about, and I hope you will be too!

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 29. Posted by flossie

    on 12 Mar 2012 17:03

    My 31 month old daughter adores abney and teal. Please bring out a dvd, my poor sky+ cant take being used every 10 minutes to put another episode on and the planner is crammed full of episodes. Would love for some toys to be sold as well :-)

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 29: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 29: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 28. Posted by Elaine Ashton

    on 10 Mar 2012 21:25

    I'd like to give praise to this program. I find current children's telly horribly cynical in its garishly bright and artificial computer animation. I also hate the moral-pushing via the neuroses of many characters that I see. My daughter (3) delights in this like nothing else. It's beautiful, gentle and nurturing and reminds me of a gentler era of children's television. Is there any way of knowing when this will be back on or released by DVD?

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 28: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 28: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 27. Posted by gorgeous-girl

    on 7 Mar 2012 11:31

    This is such a fantastic programme - thank you so much!
    My two year old son really loves it and I, myself am hooked on the superb animation and attention to detail.
    This really is the best children's animation for a very long time and it got the seal of approval from the grandparents too!
    Please, please release this series on BluRay / DVD and carry on the great work.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 27: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 27: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 26. Posted by Phil

    on 6 Mar 2012 13:48

    I agree Shazzabat & Victoria - or at least they could tell us when the DVD will be out!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 26: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 26: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 25. Posted by shazzabat

    on 2 Mar 2012 18:12

    What on earth has the BBC done! Have you ever stood dumbstruck in a room when a toddler is in tears or having a full strop because her favourite programme is not on? If not, try it! How do explain that some bright spark has decided to remove an extremely well loved, perfect for bedtime, calming, funny, programme to a lunchtime slot and replaced it with a boring old train.

    Someone please use some commonsense and return this lovely programme back to its slot. Please.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 25: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 25: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 24. Posted by Victoria

    on 27 Feb 2012 20:32

    Where has it gone?????
    Please give us some information on when it will be back? The only show that really captivates my daughter.... there must be a return date or something???? She misses Bop terribley!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 24: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 24: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 23. Posted by mittens

    on 5 Feb 2012 17:55

    I absolutely adore this programme! My 2 year old daughter is obsessed with it, and would watch it all the time if she could. However, my husband and I are arguing about *what* Abney actually is. I say he's some sort of dog, but my husband says I'm talking rubbish. Who is right?!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 23: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 23: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 22. Posted by Emma

    on 29 Jan 2012 22:41

    Brilliantly eccentric British TV at its best, well done you.
    my 3 year old wets himself every time its on (with laughter!) and my 1 yr old runs around shouting "meep meep" :-)

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 22: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 22: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 21. Posted by charlie8max

    on 19 Jan 2012 16:04

    This is a really good programme and it is nice to something new on Cbeebies my 23 month old loves it, I just wish their could be many more shows like this of the same quality on beebies.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 21: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 21: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 20. Posted by miraclejelly

    on 14 Jan 2012 22:42

    It took a little bit of time to appreciate just how good Abney and Teal is. At first it seemed a bit dull and subdued compared to other programmes. But there are a few hooks into it such as Neep, the music and the physical comedy that get young and old watching enough of this to want more. It grew on me and my 21 mth old daughter at the same time in a way that few other shows have. I think it is the only cbeebies programme I have actually laughed at (the hole in the tree made by the fat Neep).

    The visuals of this are incredible. Having the city out of focus but alive in the background works so well. Many other technical aspects of the show are spot on. I only ever notice the technical aspects of shows when I'm picking holes in it (like seeing in which scale the shooting is done on ITNG) but with this show I'm doing it in a "wow, what just happened there" kind of way.

    Usually I prefer brighter and primary based colours but the pastels are the best fit for this show, how on earth did you manage to make a part-submerged and abandoned shopping trolley look beautiful?

    The visuals and the music work very harmoniously together and "harmonious" is probably the single word I'd use to describe this show. It has grabs the attention and feeds the imagination in a very subtle way. Most shows can only accomplish this with noise, speed or intensity of colour and action.

    When I look back at many of the TV shows of my childhood I get saddened by how empty they now seem, I'm sure in the years to come my daughter will see this show again and it will have lost nothing of its charm.

    Thanks for producing such a high quality programme, please make many more.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 20: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 20: 0
    Loading…
More comments

More Posts

Previous

Next