Helen Bullough has been appointed as Head of CBBC Production with responsibility for all in house production for CBBC in MediaCityUK.

She’ll lead a team of over 200 staff, creating shows such as Blue Peter, Newsround, Tracy Beaker Returns, Legend Of Dick And Dom and Serious Explorers.

Helen is currently Head of Entertainment Production North in Manchester and Head of Vision North. She is responsible for a team of 130 staff in Manchester that produce key network shows including Mastermind, Question Of Sport, Dragon’s Den and Antiques Master. For the last two years Helen has also been Head of Vision North, leading the Manchester-based Vision departments through the migration to MediaCityUK.

Director of BBC Children’s, Joe Godwin, says: “Helen brings a wealth of experience across many genres and will be a brilliant leader for CBBC’s in-house production team and a fabulous addition to Children’s senior management team.”

Helen joined the BBC in 1991 as a Broadcast Journalist Trainee in News, moving to Manchester in 1993 to work on the Daytime and Features slate. She has worked in the North ever since on a wide range of output ranging from religious documentaries to Rough Guides; Fred Dibnah to Dragon’s Den. She ran the Manchester Entertainment development team for three years and has developed and executive produced shows for BBC One, Two, Three and Four plus multiplatform and Red Button output.

She says: “I’m thrilled! I’ve always had a brilliant time in Manchester working with the teams here. Now this is a fantastic creative opportunity to join talented inhouse colleagues at CBBC in MediaCity UK, helping to deliver the next generation of content to the next generation of BBC audiences – inspired by the North and delighting young viewers everywhere.”

Helen lives with her family on the edge of the Peak District.

CBBC Controller Damian Kavanagh has commissioned Objective Productions to make a brand new food series called Incredible Edibles.

This 10×30 part series presented by fearless foodie and presenter of Gastronuts, Stefan Gates, once again aims to encourage children to open their minds to a whole new world of culinary creativity by introducing new methods of cooking, offering them new ingredients and asking them to question more closely what they eat and where it comes from.

From cooking with a JCB, sampling braised duck tongues and uncovering exactly what goes into an everyday hotdog, to engineering a rocket-powered baking powder, Incredible Edibles is a kids’ cooking show like no other.

For the first time the show will go on the road and see Stefan and his team tour the UK experimenting with food in front of a live audience. On tour the team will also uncover some of the hidden truths about how some of the nation’s favourite foods are actually made as well as cooking some long-forgotten local delicacies.

Stefan says: “Incredible Edibles is quite simply the wildest and most adventurous food series ever made: we’re touring the country discovering extraordinary foods and meeting brilliant, fearless kids to experiment with it in front of a big audience.

“We never lecture them on what’s good or bad, what’s healthy or unhealthy, but instead we challenge ourselves to inspire them to find food fascinating, fun and… okay… just a little bit naughty. But it’s the best way I can think of to help our kids become happier and healthier and to turn Britain back into a nation of real food-lovers.”

BBC executive producer Bridget Banton says: “We hope to take the audience on a culinary journey up and down the UK and amaze them with incredible facts behind some of their favourite foods.”

Paul Gilheany, executive producer for Objective Productions adds: “Stef has eaten everything from sheep’s eyeballs to fresh cane rat in the past so we hope to add to his reputation as the man who will eat anything cooked anyway.”

Incredible Edibles is made by Objective Productions, part of the All 3 Media Group. Executive producer for Objective is Paul Gilheany and executive producer for CBBC is Bridget Banton.

Continuing CBBC’s commitment to the North of England, Damian Kavanagh, Controller CBBC, has announced his in-house drama line-up of new and returning series for next year and revealed that three series will be filmed in the region.

The diverse range of commissions, The 4 O’Clock Club, Young Dracula, Sadie J and Tracy Beaker Returns feature a tantalising mix of vampires, feisty teens, squabbling siblings and care home antics.

Damian Kavanagh said: “CBBC is committed to providing children with a diverse range of quality home grown dramas. With fantasy, comedy, real life issues and even a spot of rapping covered in this quartet of new series I am confident there is something for everyone.”

Sibling rivalry is the name of the game in The 4 O’Clock Club, a brand new 13×30 minute comedy drama punctuated with stylised raps. Nathan and Josh Carter are brothers who both attend the same school. They each like to have the upper hand, but things are not as simple as they sound, as Nathan is a teacher and Josh a pupil. Josh dreams of becoming a rapper but Nathan, having already struggled to succeed in this industry, knows only too well the pitfalls that lie ahead. Nathan is determined to try to stop his young brother from making the same mistakes he did. This sets the siblings on a collision course which, more often than not takes place in the school detention room, ironically nick-named the 4 O’Clock Club. Produced by Spencer Campbell with Connal Orton as executive producer, The 4 O’Clock club is due to start production in Bolton in the next few months and stars former rapper turned comedy actor Doc Brown.

By popular demand Young Dracula is swooping back to CBBC. We pick up the story four years on and Vlad and the Count have fled from Stokely. Pursued by slayers and radical vampires alike, The Count and Vlad keep a low profile and “hide in plain sight” by buying a school. The Count is determined that Vlad fulfils his destiny to lead the vampire race, but this is threatened by The Count’s own tendency to create mayhem and disaster on a daily basis and by the re-emergence of the anarchic Ingrid, who brings a trail of destruction in her wake.

An irreverent, gothic comedy, Young Dracula shines a mischievous light on family relationships and what it is to be a teenager trying to make his way in the world. The third 13×30 minute series will be filmed around Liverpool and promises some exciting new characters as well as the return of familiar favourites. The series is produced by Lis Steele and executive produced by Josephine Ward.

Sassy teen Sadie J is sidling back for a second series. The feisty teenage girl making her way in a male-dominated world returns for another helping of this studio-based comedy drama starring Georgia Lock and Mel Giedroyc. The 13×30 minute series will be filmed in the BBC studios at Elstree and produced by Paul McKenzie and Simon Nelson; Gina Cronk is executive producer.

Finally, the already announced Tracy Beaker Returns will begin filming its third series in the summer. Dani Harmer and her co-stars will be returning to Newcastle to film the new 13×30 minute series following the ups and downs of a group of children and staff at a care home, known by the residents as The Dumping Ground. Series three promises more twists and turns for the home’s inhabitants. The series is produced by Gina Cronk and executive produced by Josephine Ward.

CBBC Controller Damian Kavanagh has commissioned two series of a new game show from the team behind the BAFTA and British Comedy Award-winning hit Horrible Histories, it was announced today .

Presented by Come Dine With Me’s Dave Lamb and Horrible Histories’ whiskery star Rattus Rattus, Gory Games (13x26mins) will see three horrible historians compete in four rotten rounds to win one putrid prize.

Set to disgust and delight CBBC viewers in equal measure, each episode of Gory Games will see young competitors answer quiz questions on toe-curling topics like the Gorgeous Georgians and Vicious Vikings. The winners of the quiz round will then progress to a physical game relating to a specific era – such as Henry VIII’s pie-eating game – in the hope of winning Year Spheres.

The victor will not just enjoy the honour of being the Gory Games champion but will also pick up a fitting, if fetid, prize such as an Egyptian Mummy’s hand, a Georgian Navy maggoty biscuit or the cut-off ear of a Tudor thief.

Damian Kavanagh says: “We are delighted to welcome Gory Games to CBBC. The series is being made by the revoltingly talented team behind Horrible Histories and we’re sure that Gory Games will be a hideous hit too!”

Featuring an inimitable mixture of foul facts, putrid props and scary sketches, it is hoped that Gory Games, like Horrible Histories, will entertain and inform its audience about historical facts in equal measure.

Featuring a host of familiar faces, some of the Horrible Histories cast will pose questions as some of the popular historical stars from the series including a Roman, Victorian, Viking, Henry VIII and an Egyptian.

Performing these character the top comedy talent line-up includes, Simon Farnaby, Jim Howick, Martha Howe-Douglas, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond. The author of the Horrible Histories books Terry Deary will also be asking questions in historical guise. The series will transmit on CBBC later in the year.

Gory Games is a Lion TV and Citrus Television co-production for CBBC.

Devised by Caroline Norris and Giles Pilbrow, it is directed by Dominic Brigstocke and produced by Candida Julian Jones. The executive producer for Lion is Richard Bradley and for the BBC is Alison Gregory.

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, today announced the first wave of companies that will be commissioned under the BBC’s @North initiative.

The @North digital initiative was launched by Peter Salmon in November 2009 to encourage and support the development and delivery of interactive content for CBBC and CBeebies. This first wave represents over half the money available, with a total amount of £500,000 earmarked for commissioning in the pilot of @North, and a further wave of commissions will be announced in the coming months.

The first companies to be commissioned are from Yorkshire, the North-East and North-West of England – Numiko and Brass from Leeds, The Workshop from Sheffield, Amaze from Manchester and Th_nk from Newcastle.

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, said: “The investment announced today marks a significant step towards realising the creative benefits that BBC North will ultimately deliver working in partnership with locally-based creative companies.

“The @North initiative has provided a valuable insight into how the BBC will work and engage with companies in the region to make the best content for audiences across the UK. I want to congratulate those companies whose ideas and creativity have been successful today and look forward to announcing the other companies in the forthcoming months.”

@North is a pilot project led by BBC Children’s, involving multi-disciplinary teams from across different divisions of the BBC including Future Media & Technology (FM&T) working collaboratively. The project also represents a new model of how the BBC will engage with independent companies and digital agencies across the north of England as well as with the regional screen agencies – Northern Film and Media, Screen Yorkshire and Vision+Media (North West).

Joe Godwin, Director, BBC Children’s, added: “@North has been a new way of working for Children’s and these companies have come up with some great ideas that will engage our young audiences and reflect how they consume content in the digital world.

“In addition to direct new commissions, @North has also enabled us to develop new relationships with small companies in the creative sector right across the north of England in addition to the companies that we already work with. This is an important part of our objectives as BBC Children’s prepares to move to our new home at MediaCityUK in Salford next year.”

Another key element of @North is to develop and strengthen relationships with companies beyond individual commissions. Since its launch the BBC has engaged with over 50 companies across the north of England through a range of workshops offering both creative and technical development expertise.

A networking event for games developers and web companies is being held at City Inn, Leeds on Wednesday 8 September 2010 from 5pm. The evening will be attended by representatives from the BBC, GameHorizon, Game Republic, Northern Film and Media, North West Vision and Media and Screen Yorkshire who will help facilitate introductions.

Peter Salmon and Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire, one of the key partners in @North, met the three successful Yorkshire based companies at Screen Yorkshire’s offices in Leeds to mark today’s announcement of new BBC investment in the creative industries in the north of England.

Peter and Sally congratulated and discussed the project with: Andrew Brown, Creative Director from Leeds-based Brass; Jaron Ghani, founder and Technical Director of Numiko from Leeds; and Hannah Wysome, Content Producer for The Workshop from Sheffield

Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to congratulate all five companies who have made it through to the commissioning stage of this groundbreaking initiative. The fact that three out of the five are from Yorkshire; two from Leeds; and one from Sheffield; is testament to the extraordinary creative talent that we have in the region.

“We are at a critical junction in the country’s economic recovery and Screen Yorkshire’s work with partners such as the BBC helps ensure that businesses in Yorkshire have the greatest chance of becoming world leaders in digital media – one of the fastest growing and rapidly developing industries in the UK.”

The BBC College of Comedy today announced two exciting new initiatives for 2010. All Mixed-Up is a sitcom writing competition where writers will be asked to submit proposals which reflect multicultural Britain.

The second initiative will be in collaboration with CBeebies In-house Production to develop a writing workshop which explores the creation of new comedy for viewers aged four to six.

Writers who are interested in All Mixed-Up, and can demonstrate some professional achievements, are requested to submit the first 10 pages of a script with a limit of six characters and three settings.

The best six scripts will be workshopped in preparation for a showcase with a professional cast at the Soho Theatre on 4 December, where a celebrity panel will choose the best two for further development by BBC Comedy.

Both scripts will be optioned, with the winner’s option worth £1,000, and the runner-up £500.

The competition is being run in association with Triforce Promotions, which promotes talent across a multicultural network of people in the media industries.

The aim is to encourage work by diverse voices and to provide promising writers with an opportunity to develop their professional skills.

Writers of the next best six scripts will be invited to attend workshops on 4 December and to join the showcase audience.

Micheál Jacob, college creative head, said: “We hope the competition will attract entries from writers who may feel their lives are not currently reflected in television comedy, and will introduce us to funny and fresh new voices.”

The second initiative will see the college and CBeebies run a four-day workshop to explore the creation of a new comedy for viewers aged from four to six.

Invited writers will be given an insight into the CBeebies audience, hear case studies on hit shows for the channel, including Gigglebiz and Grandpa In My Pocket, and work together to develop ideas for a live action programme.

The workshop will be held in Newcastle in November.

“Watching CBeebies is fun,” Micheál Jacob says. “They have some excellent shows and I’m very excited to be exploring whether the College can add to them.”

Information on how to enter All Mixed-Up will be available from 31 August at bbc.co.uk/writersroom.

Warren Clarke, Caroline Quentin, Rebecca Front and Daniel Roche are to star in Simon Nye’s new adaptation of Richmal Crompton’s timeless Just William stories for CBBC. Filming has started and, fresh from his success in Outnumbered, a much-shorn Daniel Roche steps up to play the title role.

The stellar cast includes Warren Clarke and Caroline Quentin as new neighbours the Botts, with Daniel Ryan (Linda Green, The Street) and Bafta-winner Rebecca Front (The Thick Of It) playing William’s parents.

William’s exasperated teachers will be played by the exceptional trio of Denis Lawson, John Sessions and Bruce Mackinnon. Narrating the series will be the voice behind the classic recordings of the Just William stories, Martin Jarvis.

Other artistes featured in the four-part series range from the distinguished Judy Parfitt and much-loved comedian Roy Hudd to brand-new stars such as Harry Melling (Harry Potter) and Bertie Carvel, lauded in Roger Michell’s revival of Rope.

Speaking today, Damian Kavanagh, Controller CBBC, said: “We are thrilled to have attracted such a wonderful blend of established stars and exciting new talent to breathe new life into these much-loved stories.

“I can’t think of anyone better than Daniel Roche to bring loveable rogue William to the attention of a new generation.”

Steven Andrew, Head of CBBC Productions, said: “If you think Ben in Outnumbered is bad, you wait until you get a glimpse of William! We are incredibly excited to be making this production and have brought together a wonderful cast to do justice to Richmal Crompton’s timeless characters and stories”.

Just William will follow the exploits of 11-year-old tearaway William Brown and his band of adventurous “outlaws”. Liking nothing better than wreaking havoc in the local woods, William embroils his pals in a series of riotous romps from a spot of photographic blackmail to kidnapping a pair of parrots.

Dedicated to dastardly doings, William does his utmost to avoid girls, especially Violet Elisabeth Bott, played by Isabella Blake-Thomas (Enid).

The series will be directed by Paul Seed (Bafta award-winning House Of Cards and A Rather English Marriage) and will have a score composed by Oscar-winning Stephen Warbeck.

Shot by Erik Wilson, the cameraman behind the highly successful TV series Murderland, and designed by Gary Williamson (Lipstick On Your Collar), Just William will be produced by John Chapman and executive produced by Gina Cronk.

The series will be on location in the Home Counties for the next five weeks and is due to transmit on BBC One and CBBC later this year.


Half of children (50%) said they think they have seen their parents drunk at some time, according to a survey commissioned for CBBC’s Newsround.

The survey results will be revealed today on CBBC’s Newsround as part of a wider exploration of the issue of alcohol and how adults’ drinking affects children’s lives which also includes Living With Alcohol – A Newsround Special (BBC One, Monday 5 July 2010 at 4.55pm).

The survey conducted by children’s research specialist Childwise, for CBBC Newsround, asked 1,234 young people aged 10-14 from across the UK questions about their views on alcohol.

Almost three-quarters of the children (72%) questioned said their parents drink alcohol.

Of those children that said their parents drink alcohol, seven out of 10 (70%) thought they had seen them drunk.

Just less than half of the children (46%) surveyed thought that adults should not drink in front of children, whilst just under a third (32%) thought this was ok, and just over a fifth (22%) were not sure.

When given a list of words to describe how they felt when they saw adults drinking, almost half the children (47%) surveyed said they were not bothered. But 30% said it made them feel scared.

Eight in 10 children (81%) surveyed who had seen adults drinking said they noticed one or more changes in the way they behaved.

Of those, almost a quarter (24%) said it made adults act stupid or silly; a fifth (20%) said they became angry and aggressive; another fifth (20%) said they became happy and funny; 19% found them to act strange or different; 18% said they became loud and swore; and 17% said they became dizzy or fell over.

Most children (64%) questioned thought between three and six glasses of alcohol was too much to drink.

Sixty per cent of all children interviewed said they will drink when they are older.


CBBC Newsround Special

CBBC will also broadcast today Living With Alcohol – A Newsround Special presented by Bafta Award-winning presenter Barney Harwood and will tell the story of three children whose lives have been affected by their parents’ relationship with drink.

Previous Newsround specials, which have covered difficult subjects in an accessible and helpful way, include recent reports on internet safety, bullying and bereavement.

In Living With Alcohol, Newsround talks to Liam, who was eight years old when his dad died after a battle with alcohol addiction. He recalls the mood swings that came with his dad’s drinking and how his attitude to alcohol is now different from his friends.

Eight-year-old Madison lives in a pub and knows a lot more about alcohol than her friends. She thinks it’s OK for adults to drink as long as they don’t overdo it.

Ben’s mum used to drink four bottles of whisky a day. He talks about how it felt having a mother who was so drunk she didn’t know what time of day it was. She’s now in recovery and is determined to give her son the best life ever.

Damian Kavanagh, Controller of CBBC, said: “Newsround has a great track record in covering complex issues in an engaging and helpful way. There has been much discussion about levels of drinking but the social impact is rarely explored from a child’s point of view.

“Alcohol is present in the lives of most of our audience in one way or another, yet it is something they may not feel confident talking about. The children in this Newsround Special talk about the impact of adults drinking on their lives. Talking about their own experiences, they provide insight and can help other children have the confidence to ask questions.”

Owenna Griffiths, editor of Newsround, said: “Alcohol can be viewed as a taboo subject when it comes to children. But it is around them, and we wanted to acknowledge it as a subject that many of them would have questions about.

“The programme explores kids’ attitudes towards adults drinking – how it makes them feel, whether it has influenced how they will behave when they’re older and what they think is too much to drink.”

Living With Alcohol – A Newsround Special will broadcast on BBC One on Monday 5 July 2010 at 4.55pm.


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.”


  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1