Press Office

Saturday 12 Jul 2014

Press Release

BBC North announces new @North commission

Screenshot of Mr Bloom homepage

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, today (February 7 2011) announced the final new commission from the @North initiative – with this new commission @North has now invested £500,000 in new digital content for the CBeebies and CBBC audiences from companies across the North of England.

The new @North commission has been won by Numiko from Leeds and is specifically for the Grown Ups section of the CBeebies website.

The Grown Ups section of the site is designed to support parents and carers and Numiko will develop new content which will also offer tools to enable grown-ups to enjoy the CBeebies brand with their child. The new content by Numiko will be online later in 2011.

Numiko has already won one commission from the @North fund. They are currently developing a sound-activated game for the 2-4 year old CBeebies audience.

Peter Salmon said: "Through @North we have now invested half a million pounds into small creative Northern companies, which is an important part of BBC North's commitment to find new opportunities for the creative economy right across the North of England."

He added: "The aim of @North was to discover, nurture and support creative relationships specifically across the North of England that would bring the world of CBeebies and CBBC to life online and I congratulate Numiko on winning a second commission."

The announcement coincided with the launch of the first @North commission based on the new CBeebies series Mr Bloom's Nursery, set in a colourful, fertile allotment run by the green-fingered Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks).

The series was filmed in Manchester and on location in Stockport and combines live action and puppetry to show how young children can learn from the experience of nurturing plants and vegetables.

From learning about the importance of drinking water when it's hot and sunny to understanding that growing takes time, Mr Bloom's Nursery explores a variety of themes to help children understand the world around them. And they even get to pick up some simple vegetable growing tips along the way.

Sheffield-based company The Workshop created a range of interactive games designed to engage and entertain the young audience using activities linked to growing vegetables which was funded by @North.

Under the heading 'Veggie Playtime' the games include Compo's Rain Catcher, Ready Veggie Pull and Speedy Weeds and can be found at bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/mrbloomsnursery.

The @North digital initiative was launched by Peter Salmon in November 2009 to encourage and support the development and delivery of interactive content for CBBC and CBeebies.

@North is a pilot project led by BBC Children's, involving multi-disciplinary teams from across different divisions of the BBC including Future Media and Technology (FM&T) working collaboratively.

The project also represents a new model of how the BBC will engage with independent companies and digital agencies across the north of England and has been developed in partnership with the regional screen agencies – Northern Film and Media, Screen Yorkshire and Vision+Media (North West).

Joe Godwin, Director BBC Children's, said: "@North has proved to be an excellent way of engaging with digital companies across the North of England ahead of our move to Salford later this year. It has not just been about the great new work commissioned but also about building new relationships with small companies in the creative sector right across the north of England, in addition to the companies that we already work with."

The other companies who have also won @North commissions (which were announced last year) are Brass from Leeds, Amaze from Manchester and TH_NK from Newcastle(See Notes To Editor).

As well as direct commissioning, @North has also developed and fostered deeper relationships with companies through a range of workshops offering both creative and technical development expertise. Since the launch of the initiative more than 50 companies have participated.

Notes to Editor

Background information on how Mr Bloom's Nursery was developed into a 26-part series for CBeebies is in Programme Information.

The companies who have won commissions from BBC @North are:

  • Manchester-based Amaze is a leading pan-European integrated marketing and technology company, specialising in digital strategy and communications, web-based business solutions, advertising, and PR. With other offices in Liverpool, London and Brussels, Amaze's team of connected specialists works to create engaging interactive experiences with leading brands including Coca-Cola Enterprises, the Co-operative Group, ODEON Cinemas, Toyota, Siemens Enterprise Communications, Opal Telecoms, Sage and Lexus.
  • Leeds-based Brass is a strategic and creative communications agency with digital thinking at the heart. They provide knowledge, creativity and technical skills to deliver digital solutions for some of the world's biggest brands including First Direct, Ribena, Schwarzkopf, UK Trade and Investment, Asda, Seven Seas and Warburtons.
  • Newcastle-based TH_NK is a digital agency, who also have offices in London and work with world-leading brands, including Bupa, bmi, BlackBerry, Northern Rock, TNS, Hays Recruitment and many more. They are one of only 10 companies in the UK to be members of the W3C – the global organisation that ensures the Web is reaching its full potential.
  • Numiko are an award-winning digital agency based in Leeds. Their work is firmly focused on digital media strategy and creation including: websites, platforms, tools, applications and 'content experiences' that help engage audiences. Numiko work with a range of clients from entertainment organisations, to world famous brands and not-for-profit organisations including the BBC, ITV, LIVING TV Group, Arts Council and the NSPCC.
  • The Workshop is a creative consultancy specialising in interactive learning, digital media, branding and marketing. Sheffield-based, with a team of over 40 people, The Workshop develops design and learning communications in all media. Established in 1993 and featured in Design Week magazine's top 10 digital and top 30 design companies, The Workshop has a strong creative track record – clients include the BBC, Morrison's, learndirect, John Smedley, Parliament's Education Service and the Royal Institution.

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