The in-house productions unit of BBC Children’s has commissioned a raft of new multiplatform content for CBeebies, CBBC, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and newly launched sharing app for under-13s, CBBC Buzz.
First up is Catie’s Amazing Machines, a 20 x 15 minute live-action CBeebies program that features professional rally driver Catie Munnings as she introduces different types of machines and technology, including forklifts, ships, planes and monster trucks, to a preschool audience. The series also features a theme song and soundtrack from popular UK rock band The Darkness. Annette Williams is the show’s executive producer.
Also newly commissioned for CBeebies is YolanDa’s Band Jam, a 20 x 15 minute music-based series starring multiple Grammy Award-winning musician YolanDa Brown. Filmed at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, the series helps five- to seven-year-olds explore tempo, rhythm and other musical disciplines. With composer Andrew Kingslow (Rastamouse, Apple Tree House) as co-host, YolanDa’s Band Jam will feature a number of guest appearances, including singer/guitarist Newton Faulkner and hit country duo The Shires.
On the hybrid front for CBeebies, It’s About Time helps teach preschoolers the concept of “tomorrow,” “next week” and “yesterday” through animated storytelling and live-action contributors. The series’ animated characters are based on children’s book Jo Jo and Gran Gran by writer Laura Henry with illustrations by Amy Bradley. Vanessa Amberleigh is executive producing the TV series.
Rounding out the CBeebies original commissions are GiggleQuiz and Molly and Mack. The former—a spinoff of BAFTA Award-winning series Gigglebiz—features Gigglebiz characters including Nana Knickerbocker, Arthur Sleep and Dina Lady compete in a quiz show hosted by Justin Fletcher. It’s About Time‘s Amberleigh is the show’s executive producer. The latter is a 20 x 15 minute preschool drama shot in Scotland and executive produced by Sara Harkins that follows the lives of eight-year-old Molly and her 18-year-old brother Mack.
For CBBC, School Bus is a new sitcom written by Dominic and John Reynolds that follows 12-year-old Noah Beckett and his peers. Executive produced by Sid Cole, the series is shot entirely on a single bus. Can You Kick It?, meanwhile, is a new talent search show featuring some of the UK’s best young male and female freestyle footballers. The 10 x half-hour challenge show is hosted by CBBC favorites Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes.
For digital-first content, Boggled for CBBC iPlayer, YouTube and CBBC Buzz features magician Chris Cox and tricks featuring CBBC brands such as The Dumping Ground, Jamie Johnson and So Awkward. Putul Verma is executive producer.
In terms of live shows, Thumbelina will be this year’s CBeebies Christmas Show, another CBeebies Proms 2018 will go forward with Justin Fletcher and his Something Special friends, while a CBeebies Puss In Boots show will also launch in 2019.
As for games, Danger Mouse Full Speed Extreme Turbo!, The Worst Witch – Magical Mystery and Beyond Bionic have been commissioned.
Returning series include Hetty Feather (season five), The Worst Witch (season three), DHX Media’s Creeped Out (season two), comedy drama 40CC (season eight), The Dumping Ground (season seven), Biggleton (season two), Gigglebiz (season five), Something Special (season 12), and The Dengineers (season five).