BBC Children’s unveils raft of new commissions
April 12, 2023
BBC Children’s has announced a host of new programming available across CBeebies, CBBC and BBC iPlayer that aims captivate young audiences and their families.
Director of BBC Children’s and Education, Patricia Hidalgo said: “Our latest commissions, full of homegrown talent and shot across the UK, continue to offer our audience a real breadth of high quality entertaining and educational content that only the BBC can deliver. With beautiful animations, unique gameshows, factual content, enthralling dramas and even a musical or two, there is a real feast for kids families to enjoy”.
Get Set Galactic (26 x 22’), made by Hello Halo Kids, will hit screens this spring – two teams of young scientists visit S.T.A.R.S (Space Technology & Research Station) to take on a meteoric mission of challenges to win prizes in this fun and immersive physical gameshow. Exploring science themes from gravity, the Solar System to pollination, the teams join scientist presenters Ayo Sokale, Sam McKaylin and James Stewart.
New series I Can Do It, You Can Too (30×14’), presented Aaron Roach Bridgeman and produced by Common Story, will see dynamic kids pass on their awe-inspiring abilities to young beginners. From riding a bike to catching a ball, the series celebrates the power of peer to peer interactions and showcases the fun and amazing sense of achievement that comes with picking up a new skill.
CBeebies will also play host to an array of animations, including new series Yukee (52×7’). Yukee, who is of Northern Irish and Chinese heritage, along with her beloved ukulele offers young audiences a gentle, child-centred introduction to music. Yukee is set in Northern Ireland and made by Score Draw Media.
Nikhil & Jay (52×11’) is based on award-winning author Chitra Soundar’s book series of the same name inspired by her own dual heritage family of British and South Asian heritage. Nikhil & Jay follows the adventures of two young brothers, whose Mum is Indian by heritage and Dad is English. The series is made by King Banana TV, Paper Owl Films and CAKE.
Imagine having a whole alien planet to explore, and imagine having a new best friend to explore it with. Now imagine that friend is a giant, fun-loving, sixteen-fingered lizard… That’s exactly what happens to Cosima in new show Big Lizard (52×7’) when her astronaut Dad’s space rocket crash-lands on an alien planet, Proxima B, light years from Earth. This animated series about exploration, adventure, friendship and science is made by Beakus and Je Suis Bien Content.
After the success of As You Like It at Shakespeare’s Globe (available now on BBC iPlayer), CBeebies will return to the stage for Twelfth Night, performed in London’s open-air Globe Theatre. CBeebies will give the Shakespearean comedy a unique twist for this tale of love and mistaken identity.
In a co-commission with BBC Education, music and storytelling will come together in Musical Storyland with the BBC Philharmonic. It is a place where children’s favourite fairy-tales and traditional folktales from around the world are retold and re-imagined with the magical, musical touch of musicians from the BBC Philharmonic. Aimed at 3 to 6 year olds, there will be tales from Europe, West Africa, India, Jamaica and China, with specially composed scores reflecting a diversity of musical traditions. BBC Teach will also be providing accompanying classroom resources.
Wildlife cameraman and presenter Hamza Yassin will be back with series two of Ranger Hamza’s Eco Quest, including a new spin-off series called Ranger Hamza’s Eco Quest Minis (25×3’), airing in May. The mini episodes will demonstrate how small tasks that everyone can do can make a big difference to the environment we live in. The series is made by Hello Halo Kids.
After the success of What On Your Head?, the format from Gold Wala is back – bigger and more curious than before. This time, Nadiya Hussain and her Fact Pack team are delving into the bags of people who have amazing jobs, incredible cultures and exciting hobbies for What’s In Your Bag? (30×7’)
Presented by Emma Willis alongside stylist to the stars Ayishat Akanbi, Style it Out (11×28’), made by Lion Television Limited, will search for the next generation of fashion forward designers and stylists – but there’s a twist. Can the young contestants fly in the face of fast fashion and create their own designs sustainably, while celebrating their individuality and creativity? It’s out with the new and in with the old as they re-use, reclaim, upcycle and embellish fabulous fashion using only vintage, second-hand, sustainable materials and clothing otherwise destined for landfill.
Airing this summer and produced by Red Monk Studio and First Generation Films, Home Sweet Rome (13×30’) focuses on 13-year-old Lucy, who moves from America to start a new life in Rome with her dad and stepmother Francesca – who happens to be a famous Italian pop star. Lucy will have to adapt to these big changes whilst navigating through all the growing pains of being a teenager.
Brilliant Bikers (w/t) (10×22’), made by Big Deal Films, will explore what it takes to become a BMX champion racer. This series shines a light on a very special place – the BMX club in Peckham responsible for training more British Olympic riders than any other. Meet the young riders who, come rain or shine, turn up to the track to perfect their racing skills and, through following their amazing stories, find out what it takes to be the best against all odds.
My Life, the series of documentary films that follow the highs and lows of children across the world, each with a unique story to tell, will feature a new film called What Freya Did Next. The film catches up with Freya Skye, the 2022 UK entrant to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, where she went on to win the public vote. We now follow 13 year old Freya as she lands in Nashville USA to record a new single.
Jamie Johnson F.C. (13×28’) is a new spin-off series from Short Form Film, building on the success of the multi award-winning TV show Jamie Johnson. Set in the high stakes world of Hawx United’s elite football academy, the drama follows a group of talented footballers who get to eat, sleep and breathe the sport they love. They’re living their dream – but how many of them have what it takes to defy the odds and make it all the way to the Premier League? The show has been already commissioned for a second and third season.
Following the success of season one and a second season available later this year, Phoenix Rise (20×29’) has been commissioned for a third and fourth series. Phoenix Rise, available now on BBC iPlayer, is a coming-of-age drama that follows the stories of six students who form an unbreakable bond as they navigate the trials and tribulations of school life in the Midlands. The misfit heroes are a group of teens taking their first tentative steps back into mainstream education after being excluded. At first it seems like they have nothing in common, but they soon realise they all share one unique trait: an indomitable will to succeed. The series is produced by BBC Studios Kids & Family and distributed by Sinking Ship Entertainment.