When I heard that the major landmark BBC 1 series, Human Planet was being made, my brain immediately started working overtime. If the Human Planet team would be filming humans in far flung and remote locations around the world, they were bound to be meeting children too during their journeys? Wow, what a great opportunity for a children's preschool version to be made at the same time for CBeebies!
As a mum to a CBeebies viewer myself, I was excited and passionate at the prospect of creating something really special for the BBC's youngest and in my opinion, most important viewers, to open their minds to the wider cultures and environments around the world.
Little Human Planet can be considered as the little sister series to Human Planet. It consists of 16 x 5 mins programmes that will be broadcast during the same period as the main series.
Each programme follows a typical activity in the life of a child from around the world - a glimpse to a CBeebies viewer of how their counterparts live, wherever they may be. It explores the everyday lives of amazing children in amazing locations, in a colourful and often surprising voyage of discovery.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to pack my passport to film the sequences. This was done by the brilliant Human Planet location teams. However we worked very closely together to ensure the footage and content was suitable for our CBeebies audience Naturally, this proved difficult in certain locations where few clothes, if any are worn and health and safety wasn't given a second thought! I was never sure what I was going to get, only crossing my fingers they would meet some children and film some magic moments.
But I soon discovered I needn't have worried. Over a period of a year and a half, each time a team came back with special Little Human Planet labelled footage it was like the anticipation and excitement of opening Christmas present. Who would I meet this time? Could it be Dua, a six-year-old girl who lives in a tree house in a jungle in Papua or mischievous four-year-old, Carlos Eduardo, who lives on the flooded banks of the Rio Negro? Or how about four-year-old Shoree helping her dad build a ger home in Mongolia, or three-year-old Edjongon, who walks long distances each day to collect water from a well in Mali?
Even though I have never met these fascinating characters, I feel as if I have.. And though the children's experiences, circumstances and environments differ hugely, I learnt that at heart children are all the same and their smiles are universal.
I am honoured, grateful and proud to be a tiny part of the Human Planet family and I hope that you and your child will enjoy them too. Please let us know what you think.
Elen Rhys, Little Human Planet producer