Veteran actor Bernard Cribbins is making a welcome return to children’s television starring in a brand new series commissioned for CBeebies it was announced today.
Star of both stage and screen, Bernard is well known for playing the voices behind the cult hit children’s show, The Wombles, as well as a being a regular storyteller on Jackanory.
Bernard, who also played Grandad in Doctor Who, will take the role of Old Jack in Old Jack’s Boat (25x15) about a retired fisherman. He will be joined by another former Doctor Who star, Freema Agyeman, as Shelley with Russell T Davies penning two episodes of the show - the first time he has written for such a young audience.
The series features a retired fisherman (Cribbins) who lives in a little village on the North Yorkshire Coast, Staithes, as he regales tall stories from inside his old fishing boat. The series is a mix of live action and animation which allows Old Jack to wander along the seabed, visit tropical islands and fly high in the air on balloons always accompanied by his faithful dog, Salty. It will be shown on CBeebies early in 2013.
Bernard says: “I am delighted to be back on CBeebies telling stories as I am storyteller. There are some marvellous writers, such as Russell T Davies, who I have been in touch with for a long time and who, of course, I worked with on Doctor Who. I am looking forward to sitting back and being able to tell some wonderful stories.”
Writing for children of such a young age is a new challenge for Davies despite having begun his career in children's TV, writing and producing dramas such as Dark Season for BBC One and Children's Ward for ITV, before bringing Doctor Who back to our TV screens. He recently returned to children’s TV with the CBBC series Wizards Vs Aliens but has never written for pre-schoolers before.
He says: "It’s exciting new territory for me, writing for this age range. But this is the age when your imagination first starts! And when the call came from Bernard, asking me on board, I couldn't refuse - I'd do anything for that man!"
Also announced today is the pioneering new series, My Story (25x15), which brings history to life for pre-schoolers.
Narrated by broadcaster Nicky Campbell, the series - made by CBeebies Scotland - takes children on a journey to discover their family history through fun, adventure and play. Each episode begins with an object or picture which sparks curiosity from a child about a member of their family - a grandparent, parent, aunty, big brother or sister or even a family friend. Together they go on a voyage to find out more about the life of their older relative before they were born – from Olympic gold medallist Mary Peters' amazing life to the Welsh family who have a Caribbean twist, the dad who grew up in a castle, to the grandfather still working the farm where he was born. The series will be shown in the Autumn.
Controller of CBeebies, Kay Benbow, says: “The stories in Old Jack’s Boat are brought to life by Bernard Cribbins’ sublime story-telling skills and wonderful animation created by Manchester animators FLIX. And Salty, in real life a Hungarian Vizsla called Scuzz, is a real star in the making.
"My Story is a beautiful series which brings different generations together, preserving family history and taking them on a journey together so that the story belongs to both of them.”
Old Jack’s Boat is executive produced by Tony Reed and produced by Dominic MacDonald for CBeebies. My Story is executive produced by Sara Harkins and produced by Rachel Bazeley for CBeebies Scotland.
It’s exciting new territory for me, writing for this age range. But this is the age when your imagination first starts! And when the call came from Bernard, asking me on board, I couldn't refuse - I'd do anything for that man!"