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Kay Benbow signs final raft of CBeebies commissions

New commissions signed by the outgoing CBeebies controller include an adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest to follow new series like Yakka Dee (pictured).
December 12, 2017

After seven and a half years as CBeebies Controller, Kay Benbow has signed her last round of commissions for the BBC preschool channel before departing the pubcaster at the end of the year.

Following the success of its first Shakespeare commission A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2016, CBeebies will produce a new 50-minute preschool special of The Tempest in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Filming will begin at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield in February 2018 for an Easter broadcast. The production will use original Shakespearean text with integrated explanation, where required, to best suit the preschool audience. Tony Reed will executive produce a cast of CBeebies, Royal Shakespeare Company and mainstream acting talent including Steven Kynman as William Shakespeare and Justin Fletcher as Caliban.

Lochside, meanwhile, is a new 20 x 15-minute preschool drama based on the daily, comedic adventures of three children living in a diverse, cross-generational Scottish village community. Celebrating inclusivity and diversity, the series is executive produced by Sara Harkins.

As for Junk Rescue, the 15 x 15-minute series features hosts Danny Sebastian, Zoe Pocock and a child-led team of Junkyard Helpers as they find fun and creative ways to turn garbage into useable items. Executive produced by Julia Bond, the series is the first CBeebies commission for UK indie producer Hello Halo.

Rounding out the new greenlights is 20 x 15-minute Baby Club, a series co-created by Christopher Pilkington and Emma Hyman that teaches parents how to spend more engaging time with their babies and toddlers. The series will be executive produced by Michael Towner and co-produced by UK indie Three Arrows Media, whose most recent CBeebies series, Treasure Champs, will bow in January 2018.

CBeebies has also picked up third seasons of popular current series Go Jetters, Time for School and Magic Hands, along with recommissioning Yakka Dee (seasons two and three, pictured), Gigglebiz (season five), Something Special (season 12), and My Petsaurus (season two).

The latest raft of commissions follows the channel’s renewal of Blue Zoo-produced series Numberblocks for seasons two and three, greenlight of American Greetings Entertainment’s new CGI-animated series Tinpo, and season one premiere of Beakus-produced Yakka Dee (pictured).

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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