CBBC Productions announce new commissions and recommissions

I think these commissions are a wonderful testament to the specialist creative talents of the in-house teams here at CBBC - from development to production and across all of the platforms on which our curious, discerning young audience are consuming content.Helen Bullough, Head of CBBC Productions
Date: 11.02.2016     Last updated: 11.02.2016 at 10.42
Category: CBBC; Commissioning
CBBC Productions, the in-house team based in Salford, has kicked off 2016 with a strong array of new and returning series commissions, testament to the ongoing creative strength of the specialist in-house team.

New programmes include Rank The Prank (13x22), where two prank-loving kids are each teamed up with a Hollywood special effects master, to perform an incredible hidden-camera prank on the unknowing public.

In a bid to out-prank each other, the child who pulls off the highest ranking prank will get the opportunity to stage the ultimate, mind-blowing hoax on their family or friends. Co-produced with Canadian production company Apartment 11, Rank The Prank is commissioned for CBBC by Controller Cheryl Taylor and will also be broadcast by BBC Canada. Rank The Prank was developed by CBBC Productions’ in-house development team, led by Ben Armstrong, and the executive producer for CBBC is Sid Cole, while Jonathan Finkelstein leads for Apartment 11.

CBBC Productions are also delighted to have secured the commission for a brand new television adaptation of Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch. The series (13x30) will follow Mildred Hubble's adventures as she studies at Miss Cackle’s academy for witches, with ambitious visual effects bringing these much-loved stories to life. Co-produced with ZDF and distributed by ZDFE, the CBBC executive producer is Marcus Wilson, Lucy Martin is producing and Emma Reeves is lead writer on the adaptation. This is CBBC Productions’ second major partnership with the German broadcaster and distributor and follows on from the success of the Wolfblood franchise, with the fourth series set to air on CBBC in spring.

Speaking about the commissions, Cheryl Taylor, Controller of CBBC, said: “Our viewers love the idea of sophisticated and funny pranks, so we're really delighted to be adding Rank The Prank to our slate of quality CBBC shows. We're equally delighted to bring the magical Worst Witch to our screens - fans of the popular books will be delighted to see Mildred's adventures at Miss Cackle’s Academy brought to life on CBBC."

Other new commissions for the Salford-based in-house team include a second outing for Class Dismissed (12x15), the mockumentary-style comedy series filmed in a real school in Stockport and recommissioned ahead of the first series airing this week. The series follows Year 8 pupils as they grapple with everyday life at their extraordinary school, with BBC Breakfast's Bill Turnbull as narrator. Sid Cole is the Executive Producer.

BAFTA-winning Absolute Genius is also back for its fifth series, entitled Absolute Genius: Monster Builds (10x30), where BAFTA winners Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood, Dick and Dom, will explore the incredible feats of the engineering world's past, present and future, and the genius ideas that have shaped the world we live in. The executive producer is Dympna Jackson.

Other returning in-house productions include another ambitious season for hit drama brand The Dumping Ground, commissioned for 24x30 and a new game, with Jonathan Phillips joining as the new executive producer.

A third series goes into production of the Dame Jacqueline Wilson adaptation Hetty Feather (10x30), plus there’s the return of BAFTA award-winning Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes in their studio entertainment show Big Friday Wind Up (10x60), and new series of The 4 O ‘Clock Club (13x30), Hacker Time (10x30) and The Dengineers (10x30), all with bespoke interactive content.

Head of CBBC Productions, Helen Bullough, says: “I think these commissions are a wonderful testament to the specialist creative talents of the in-house teams here at CBBC - from development to production and across all of the platforms on which our curious, discerning young audience are consuming content. We’re thrilled at the prospect of telling all of these amazing stories across all of our genres over the next 12 months - from the emotional to the hard-hitting."

BC/JP2