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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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CBeebies gets children to 'grow through gardening' in Veggie Mates

CBeebies is urging two to four year olds to pull on their wellies, pick up a trowel and learn some important life lessons through the wonder of gardening in Veggie Mates (26x15 minutes), a brand new live action and puppet series going into production now for transmission in early 2011.

Set in a wonderful, fertile allotment run by the green-fingered Mr Bloom (newcomer Ben Faulks), Veggie Mates combines live action, puppets and lively music to show how young children can learn from the experience of nurturing plants and vegetables.

In each episode a team of young helpers, or 'tiddlers', come to the allotment to help Mr Bloom tend his plants and produce. But when they add leaves and clippings to his wondrous homemade 'compostarium' something rather amazing happens to his greenhouse. For inside are a group of lively young vegetable puppets – the Veggie Mates – who the children can play with, teach and care for.

There's Colin the Runner Bean, an active young lad who's always first with the wrong answer; Margaret the Cabbage, shy but fun with her heart in the right place; bossy Joan the Fennel who likes to mother the other young vegetables; Raymond the Butternut Squash who's a bit cumbersome and always saying sorry; Sebastian the Aubergine who likes to sum up the day's activities with a song; and the Wee MacGregors – a group of mischievous radishes who cause havoc at every turn.

From learning about the importance of drinking water when it's hot and sunny to remembering that we're all good at different things, Veggie Mates explores a variety of themes to help children understand the world around them. And they even get to pick up some simple gardening tips along the way!

"The core principle of Veggie Mates is the theme of nurture," explains executive producer Alison Stewart.

"The programme aims to mirror young children's experiences through the metaphor of growing and looking after vegetables in a nursery. And if we can encourage children to become green-fingered along the way then all the better!"

Veggie Mates is a CBeebies production made in BBC Manchester. The production team is currently recruiting children for the show from nurseries and pre-schools in the North West area. The producer is Jon Hancock and the executive producer Alison Stewart.

Notes to Editors

CBeebies is dedicated to delighting and surprising its young audience and it remains the UK's most watched and loved channel for the under 6s, with almost half of the target audience tuning in each week (parents and carers with children aged 0-3 and 4-6 year olds in digital homes).

The CBeebies website attracts more than 800,000 unique users a week, peaking at over 1 million unique users in February last year, and last May saw the launch of the specially designed, child-friendly CBeebies iPlayer.


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