Controller of CBBC Damian Kavanagh has commissioned a special season of programmes that will examine, through drama and documentary, how children are affected by war.
The season will explore what is like for those left behind in the UK when a parent goes to fight abroad and will find out what it is like to grow up in war-torn Afghanistan.
Pad Rats (working title) from Lime Pictures is a 3×30′ drama which examines the awkwardness of a family divided by the difficulties of military life. Jed Clayton and his group of young friends live together on an undisclosed army base.
The war may be in a distant country but their dads and mums are out there and the gang feel it deeply within their tight-knit community. The youngsters find their lives changed forever when a mysterious young boy arrives at camp.
Pad Rats is set to be filmed in the North West and due to be broadcast later this year. It will be produced and directed by Paul Wilmshurst and executive produced by Tony Wood.
Forming part of the single subject documentary series My Life, Toy Soldiers goes on the march with children whose lives have been disrupted by having a parent in the armed forces. Following a diverse group of youngsters, the film shows how children try to maintain normality when their lives are turned upside down by a war fought in a faraway land.
Commissioned from Walsh Bros, Toy Soldiers is directed and produced by John Walsh and executive produced by Roger James.
John Walsh says: “The child’s voice has rarely been heard on this subject before. The goal of this film is not just to give a voice to this story but to challenge perceptions of children whose parents go to war.”
Rounding off the season, Newsround visits Afghanistan to report on the lives of Afghan children. Presenter Sonali Shah finds out about the impact the war has had on their lives and discovers more about Afghan children’s home and school life, with a special look at education for girls.
Controller of CBBC, Damian Kavanagh says: “CBBC has a responsibility to invest in British originated drama and documentaries tackling current issues affecting children in the UK in a language and style our young audience will understand.
“The armed forces feature in the news on an almost daily basis and these commissions provide an opportunity, through fact and fiction, to explore what it is really like to have a member of the family away fighting and what it is like to be a child living in the country many of their parents are fighting in.”