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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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CBBC continues its commitment to drama as it announces a range of new commissions

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Anne Gilchrist, Controller of CBBC, today announced a raft of exciting new dramas and returning favourites for the BAFTA award-winning CBBC.

Much loved author Jeanette Winterson; sassy teenage sisters who happen to be ghosts; a large musical family who sing together as a television pop group; and a 13-year-old girl trying to solve her dad's single status all feature in a host of new dramas to air on CBBC over the coming year.

Anne Gilchrist said: "Drama remains a really important part of what CBBC does for children. Our aim is to work with the very best writing, performing and production teams to tell the most exciting, adventurous, funny and revealing stories."

Ingenious, produced by Lime Pictures, is a one-off drama from the pen of Jeanette Winterson and especially written for CBBC. It tells the story of 11-year-old Sally, whose mother runs the city farm, and her friends Spike and Patch. They never imagine that the genies they read about in The Arabian Nights might actually exist, until they find an ancient glass bottle with something inside.

Their new friend's arrival in this world marks the beginning of an exciting adventure; a fast mix of the crazy and the curious, the magical and the mundane. The story tells what happens when an old story – of a genie trapped in a jar – meets the modern world, shifting from laugh-out-loud to serious moments of decision and responsibility.

Jeanette Winterson said: "I have wanted to work with the BBC again since the days when we won two BAFTAs for Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Lime Pictures seem exactly right for me. Expect great fun and plenty of zest."

Dead Normal (working title) is a comedy about the joy of living. Set in a boarding school, it follows the comical adventures of three funny, strong-willed and sassy teenage sisters – Rebecca, Sophie and Hazel ... who just happen to be ghosts!

Being a ghost certainly has advantages, including being invisible and being able to walk through walls (well, most of the time). However, the sisters soon discover that life as a teenager in the modern world can also be a never ending set of misunderstandings, mistakes, absurdities and adventures.

Dead Normal is a 13 x 24-minute production from Coolabi Productions.

Sadie Jones gives a British twist to the glossy US-style sitcom, creating feel-good family content with colourful characters and bags of laughs. Thirteen-year-old Sadie Jones is stylish and switched on – a mini Elle Woods with Sarah Jessica Parker's passion for fashion and Grace Adler's wisecracking wit.

Born with a sunny disposition, she's convinced she can find the solution to any problem – including her dad. Not that he's a problem per se – it's more his singleton status that bugs Sadie. Following the death of her mother six years ago, her dad Steve has remained single.

This 26 x 30-minute CBBC in-house comedy mixes snappy, sassy humour with emotional punch; Sadie Jones creates a world everyone can relate to – from pink-obsessed princesses to bogey-loving boys. Cue Sadie and her faithful sidekicks – Kit and DeeDee – and any number of bonkers schemes that hardly ever turn out like they're meant to!

My Almost Famous Family is an 11 x 28-minute laugh-a-minute musical comedy series about the Swanns, a large musical family who sing together as a television pop group, We're In Perfect Harmony. The step-kids range from teenagers Aretha, a trainee diva and wannabe Beyonce, to smart-cookie Toyah, bass player who despises fame and wants be a cellist at The Royal College of Music.

Their parents Gary and Shalondra Swann are an unusual couple – Gary is a musician from Hatfield, and Shalondra is an African-American soul singer from LA. Between them they have five children, and they all live together just outside London.

Their first rung on the ladder of fame is as the house band on the TV show The Totally Annabelle Show, fronted by the nation's sweetheart Annabelle ... although in reality, she is an evil, vile, manipulative girl. The Swann family may be the envy of children up and down the country, but fame isn't quite what it's cut out to be, especially when you're forced to have a squeaky clean image!

From Kudos comes a 13 x 28-minute fourth series of the hugely popular drama M.I. High, set in St Hope's school.

It may look like an ordinary comprehensive but its unconventional pupils and ineffective staff are oblivious to a big secret. Deep beneath the school lies the secret headquarters of M.I. High – a division of highly-trained spies.

M.I. High has been a huge success on the CBBC channel this year. The new series has been transmitting on the CBBC channel on Mondays at 5.15pm and has averaged 155,000 and 16.2% share; 6% points above the 2008 share slot average. M.I. High on the channel this year has attracted almost 1.5 million six to 12-year-old viewers; 29% of all 6-12s in the UK.

Notes to Editors

CBBC won the Children's Channel of the Year Award at the Children's BAFTAs in November 2008.

Figures show that CBBC is one of the most loved channels for children, reaching more six to 12-year-olds than any other children's channels and is 7% points ahead of nearest competitor, Disney. The success of the relaunch lives on with the CBBC channel reaching almost a third of all 6-12s in digital homes in the UK (based on weekly reach).


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