BBC Children’s announce new commissions with special focus on diversity and entertainment

BBC Children’s are delighted to announce another raft of new, quick turnaround commissions that reflect the themes shaping so many children’s lives this year.

Published: 22 October 2020
We want these new titles to bring some joy and hope to homes around the UK as we continue to navigate our way through disruptive times.
— Cheryl Taylor, Head of Content, BBC Children’s

With a special focus on diversity and entertainment, these new programmes from BBC Children’s In-House Productions and independent production companies, will play out across CBeebies, CBBC, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.

Cheryl Taylor, Head of Content for BBC Children’s, says: “We really want these new titles to bring some joy and hope to homes around the UK as we continue to navigate our way through disruptive times.

"Many familiar faces, along with some new ones, are sure to delight our young audience. These, coupled with so many diverse titles, reinforce our mission that BBC Children’s is here to reflect the lives of all children in the UK and to remind them that the future can be bright.”

Diversity
Following on from the BBC’s diversity pledge earlier this year, BBC Children’s will continue to reflect the lives of all children in the UK. Our Black History Heroes (31 x 2) made by The Playmaker Group, is a unique series that will air across CBBC, profiling celebrated figures from the black community including Serena Williams, Martin Luther King and Mary Seacole. Each two minute film will be packed with beautiful animation and plenty of facts - all devised and narrated by children.

BBC Children’s In-House Productions will deliver Colours (14x7) for CBeebies. This delightful project will celebrate 14 colours, including gold, silver and rainbow, looking at what they mean to little ones and how they have significance culturally and historically.

These new titles, along with the previously announced Sparks monologues series, sees BBC Children’s welcoming a number of new diverse writers, director and independent production companies to the fold for the first time.

Entertainment
In what has been a troubling and disruptive year for the children of the UK, BBC Children’s will offer a number of new titles guaranteed to bring smiles to young faces.

Monster Court (15 x 10) by DLT Entertainment for CBBC, sees monster puppet judge, Rt Hon Judge Martin Smudge, dish out lighthearted justice for children. That may be to a dad who trumps too much, a mum who has an embarrassing crush, or an older sister who just won’t stop singing. Whatever the ‘crime’ Judge Smudge will preside!

Ricky Wilson’s Art Jam (10 x 15) sees music legend and former art teacher Ricky Wilson (pictured above) joined by a celebrity mate to find out how 'art' in the broadest sense has inspired their lives and careers. Ricky Wilson’s Art Jam is a new commission for BBC Children’s In-House Productions, as is Would You Rather?, a brand new gameshow for CBBC that will ask celebrity guests to make hilariously tough choices.

Other titles coming soon will be a little more familiar to our audience, including The Toddler Club At Home for CBeebies, which builds on from the popular The Baby Club At Home; a second series of CBBC’s Celebrity Supply Teacher; and Mimi & Co, which sees You Tuber Mimi Missfit determined to try new things - often with hilarious consequences.

GS

CBeebies / BBC iPlayer

Title

In-House / Indie

Episodes

Summary

Colours

In-House

14 x 7 mins

This delightful project will celebrate 14 colours (including gold, silver and rainbow), what they mean to little ones and how they have significance culturally and historically.

Magic Hands – Black History Songs 1 and 2

Flashing Lights

10 x 7 mins

Each episode features a song by a black artist, in a location linked to black history. Aimed at four to six year-year olds, the show will be illustrated with animation, voiced throughout, and performed in British Sign Language.

The Toddler Club At Home

Three Arrows

20 x 10 mins

Building on the success of The Baby Club At Home, the brand takes a step up by offeringlots of activities for parents and two to three year-olds to do together in The Toddler Club at Home.

CBBC / BBC iPlayer

Title

In-House / Indie

Episodes

Summary

Big Fat Like

In-House

10 x 15 mins

A sketch show that spoofs all things found on the internet. No part of the Internet is safe as we parody the worlds of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitch to deliver a stream of laughs.

Celebrity Supply Teacher 2

In-House

20 x 10 mins

This fun-filled factual format returns with a raft of the UK’s most famous faces to CBBC. In each episode a different celebrity gives an inspiring lesson from the comfort of their own home with lesson topics loosely based on the curriculum.

Do Try This at Home with Chris and Xand 2

Maverick

10 x 10 mins

Operation Ouch’s Dr Chris and Dr Xand cook up more kitchen experiments that you can try at home!

Monster Court

DLT Entertainment

15 x 10 mins

Got a dad who trumps at breakfast or a sister who won’t stop singing?  Or maybe your Mum has an embarrassing crush? Judge Smudge (pictured above) is the puppet monster who gives out justice for crimes that normally go unpunished.

What’s Cooking Omari?

CTVC

10 x 7 mins

He’s only 12 years old but has already won the hearts of hundreds and thousands online, cooking up a storm with his delicious vegan food.

In his first ever TV commission, Omari introduces us to his effervescent siblings, who join him in the kitchen to create a wonderful array of delicious healthy meals for all the family to enjoy.

Our Black History Heroes

The Playmaker Group

31 x 2 mins

This unique series celebrates heroes from the international black community - including Mary Seacole, Serena Williams and Martin Luther King. Each two minutes is packed with beautiful animation and loads of facts - all chosen and performed by children.   

Planet Defenders

BBC Studios

6 x 24 mins

Across the planet an incredible network of devoted, passionate and charismatic young environmentalists and filmmakers are battling to protect our planet.  This self-authored, self-shot documentary series is a new way of showcasing natural history for kids. 

Ricky Wilson’s Art Jam

In-House

10 x 15 mins

Music legend and former art teacher Ricky Wilson joins a celebrity mate to find out how 'art' in the broadest sense has inspired their lives and careers. 

So Awkward Presents: Prom Time

Channel X North

1 x 10 mins

So Awkward: Prom Time is a huge thank you to the loyal fans of hit comedy So Awkward, who have accompanied these well-loved characters from Year Seven all the way through school to their leaving prom.

The Dumping Ground Survival Files

In-House

5 x 30 mins

The Dumping Ground Survival Files are back. A Vlog from all the kids at Ashdene Ridge, headed up by Jody, on how to survive The Dumping Ground.

The Dumping Ground I Ams

In-House

10 x 15 mins

The I Am series returns. Each I Am sees a different member of the dumping ground relive many of their funniest, saddest or moodiest moments in The Dumping Ground.

Mimi & Co

Peggy Pictures

10 x 10 mins

The irrepressible Mimi Missfit is determined to try new things now Lockdown in her area is eased - and she’s bringing along some of her many friends and family along the way including her mum and gran.

Would You Rather?

In-House

9 x 10 mins

A brand new gameshow asking celebrity guests to make hilariously tough choices.

 

BBC iPlayer

Sparks (previously announced)
Ten bold and provocative standalone stories from diverse emerging UK talent, bringing a distinct and alternative view of what it means to be young today. Each dramatic monologue is a singular vision capturing the wit, resilience and heartbreak of the contemporary UK teen experience. Full list below.          

The Birth Of Venus

Children’s in house productions, and written by Juno Dawson

Welcome to Venus’s first YouTube video. Don’t be fooled by the pink hair or the make-up range, Venus is a character of depth and consideration grappling with their life as a trans teen. Venus wants to make a mark on the world and wants to shout from the roof tops about who they REALLY are.

Gone

Children’s in house productions and written by Sharma Warfall

Gone follows the story of Sharday and Sam on Shar’s 16th birthday. What seems like the dream night for her at an open mic night with the boy she loves goes wrong in a heartbeat when a moment of aggression leads to a stabbing, the end of one life and devastation of the other.

All The Small Things

Children’s in house productions and written by Guleraana Mir.

All The Small Things is a love story told from two very different perspectives as a first date slowly begins to unravel.

Shahid’s First Shave

Children’s in house productions and written by Kaamil Shah

This is a comedy about growing up, fitting in and finding the perfect facial hair.

I Just Stabbed Someone

Unstoppable Film and TV and written by Yizzy

An extended music video for an original track by grime artist Yizzy that delves into the consequences of a stabbing from the perspective of the attacker. Through the use of alternate endings, we explore the tragic ramifications of such a quick and final decision.

My Best Friend Married a Warrior

Drummer TV and written by Chinonyerem Odimba

Told through the perspective of young Bristol teen Aisha mourning the absence of her best friend, who was groomed online and left for Syria, and her own confusion around teenage life in the UK.

Shapes

Big Deal Films and written by Lucy Dwyer

Gobby, disruptive Cassie visits a Liverpool art gallery on a school trip with the intention of bunking off - but is surprised to find something there that cuts through the noise of her life and connects with her in unexpected ways.

What Would You Do Frida

Savvy Productions and written by Melissa Johns and Sarah Nelson

A coming of age moment capturing Tilly, a girl with a disability and a history of body dysmorphia, coming to terms with her self-image after her private photos are unexpectedly shared at her prom.

Sparklers

Big Deal Films and written by Nicola O’ Keefe

Holly has been invited to a Bonfire Night party by her friends. As her eyes meet pretty punk Ava’s across the flames, Holly recounts her first kiss with a girl and pieces together the parts.

The Main Part

Studio 71 and written by Jen Wakefield

A young girl with Anglo-Indian heritage dreams of being an actor, but when she’s finally given the lead role in her school play, she realises she’s been type-cast as an Indian character just because she’s a bit brown. Can she keep the part AND her identity?

CBeebies Radio

Title

In-House / Indie

Episodes

Summary

Love Monster

In-House

8 x 8 mins

Join Elder Kitten and executive studio assistant Love Monster as they host Fluffytown’s hit radio show, where real children and Fluffytown residents ‘phone in’ and ask our hosts questions on subjects of great importance. 

Magic Den

Little Radio Limited

12 x 10 mins

The podcast presented by Chris Jarvis returns to provide the audience with ideas of creative things that they can do in their own magic dens (lounges, bedrooms and more).

Molly and Mack

In-House

8 x 7 mins

Molly’s adventures take her and her friends away from the Big Hub to some familiar places - the beach, the allotment and the farm, but also to some exciting new spots: the playpark, on a bike ride and on a sleepover.

The Baby Club Podcasts

Three Arrows

10 x 12 mins

A series of dual-facing podcasts (i.e. parent and baby listening together). Perfect for journeys, and as a boredom buster, this  audio-only spin-off of The Baby Club  allows for parent and baby to be fully interacting together without having the visualstimulus/distraction of a TV screen.