MagicHands2CBeebies’ new series Magic Hands will be one of the first of its kind, featuring poetry for children that will be translated entirely into British Sign Language.

This spring CBeebies will be making TV history with its brand new series, Magic Hands. The programme is breaking new ground by featuring poetry for children translated entirely into British Sign Language (BSL) and, at the same time, opening up the world of poetry to a younger audience.

From Robert Louis Stephenson to Roger Stevens and Michaela Morgan the programmes are fun, five-minute packages that mix sign language, the spoken word, music and vibrant animation to bring the poems to life and capture the imaginations of both deaf and hearing children. Continue reading »

CBeebies is refreshing its early evening schedule for the Autumn, which will see the addition of new episodes of Waybuloo to the Bedtime Hour.

From Monday 3 October, the popular Piplings will be seen at 6pm delighting their audience by taking children on a journey into the world of Nara where the Piplings practise their unique Yogo moves helping little ones wind down before bedtime.

Waybuloo will be followed by the regular bedtime programming of In The Night Garden with The Bedtime Story drawing the early evening schedule to a close.

Waybuloo was first shown on CBeebies in 2009 and the series is unique in its exploration of emotions and relationships, through stories of co-operation, friendship and enjoyment. Waybuloo takes place in the world of Nara – a land of happiness, laughter and friendship that’s home to the Piplings – Yojojo, Lau Lau, De Li and Nok Tok.

Controller of CBeebies, Kay Benbow, says: “We are always looking at ways to keep our schedule fresh and interesting for our young viewers without causing too much disruption to routines .

“We know that the bedtime hour is an important part of families’ evening routines and we’re sure that children will be delighted to settle down with some familiar friends as they prepare for bedtime.”

Fans of current bedtime favourites Charlie And Lola will still be able to catch up with the popular show every Friday at 5pm and weekends at 9.15am on CBeebies. 64 Zoo Lane will be taking a break from the schedule and will return in 2012.

And, as ever, parents and children can catch up with their favourite programmes at any time through the CBeebies iPlayer.

CBeebies has re-launched its Grown-ups website today with new features designed to make it more fun and user friendly.

The website is an important part of CBeebies where grown-ups and their children can go for more information about their favourite programmes but also learn and play together.

New features will include an “Extras” section that gives a sneaky glimpse into the world of CBeebies, such as interviews with the cast and crew or outtakes from favourite shows.

As well as a de-cluttered, brighter look, the navigation menu will make it easier for users to find what they are looking for or what is most relevant to them.

There are three key sections “Fun Activities”, “Support for You” and “Programmes”. The “Fun Activities” section has been designed with education in mind so that children can play while secretly learning. It explains more about the value of CBeebies and how its online games, stories and songs can be used to create magic moments between grown-up and child.

The “Support For You” section shows parents and carers how CBeebies content can help them deal with everyday issues from nutrition and special needs, to first days in school or nursery and safeguarding children when they are using technology. These features have been written in consultation with healthcare, special needs and Early Years experts and give advice on where to go for further information.

The “Programmes” section will take users through to CBeebies shows, describing what the programmes are about with a brief introduction to the characters alongside what educational value they have for children.

Besides displaying improved navigation, the website has been re-designed to give a more interactive experience, offering recommendations of where users could go next on their Grown-ups journey.

Filters such as age, theme, moods, interests and learning areas will enable users to further break down their searches to find content specific to their child’s age or even how much time they have to spend online.

While the emphasis is on fun, the content is designed to support the Early Years Foundation Scheme and help parents and carers with their child’s development.

As part of the re-vamp, Grown-ups has also launched on social media networks. There will be regular blogging on the site, which will also have links to Grown-ups Twitter and Facebook to give users an inside track on the latest CBeebies news.

The social networks will offer exclusive content such as previews and interviews as well as interactive chats with presenters. They will also give parents and carers the opportunity to connect, chat and share their CBeebies experiences with CBeebies and one another.

The re-launch follows consultation with parents and carers who felt that the old site had a lot of content but was difficult to use and a little uninspiring.

Controller of CBeebies, Kay Benbow, said: “We wanted to close the gap between CBeebies and Grown-ups so that parents and carers make a natural transition between the two. Grown-ups enhances and goes beyond the experience children have watching television. It uses the familiarity of CBeebies’ content while allowing parents and carers to have fun and learn alongside their children, helping to nurture their development.

“It’s also a place where parents and carers can share their own experiences. We are encouraging them to join the Grown-ups social media community on Facebook and Twitter as a way of keeping up to date with the latest from CBeebies but also as a platform for sharing views and opinions. We want to create a real time conversation and buzz around CBeebies and give people the chance to let us know what they think about our content.”

The website will be fully complete by the end of September with new content and features being continually added.

CBeebies controller Kay Benbow today announced two major new in-house commissions, Justin’s House and Numbats, along with the return of Mr Bloom’s Nursery and Zak, Tang, Panzee and Drum in global music show Zingzillas.

Justin’s House (22 x 25 mins) features Bafta-award winning CBeebies presenter Justin Fletcher (Something Special, Gigglebiz) as he moves into a brand new madcap house.

The first CBeebies show to be recorded in the BBC’s new home at MediaCity, Justin will entertain a live theatre audience of 3-6-year-olds with a mix of singing, dancing and comedy chaos in panto-party style. He’s helped by Robert, his Robot Butler; Little Monster, a lightening fast trickster and Dee Livery, the Unicycling Delivery Lady.

With special guests dropping by, catchphrases galore, inclusive games and lots of slapstick, there are plenty of opportunities for the children to get involved. The theatre and TV audiences are invited to interact, play and sing along with all the activities that Justin undertakes.

Numbats (25 x 5 mins) is a mix of live action and computer-generated animation. It features 10 furry animated critters whose mission is to teach pre-schoolers about the numbers 1 to 10.

Each energetic Numbat has its own number, from 1 up to 10, stamped onto its brightly coloured belly. At the beginning of each episode a Numbat is picked as the one that will be featured – along with its corresponding number – during that show.

Aimed at 2-4-year-olds, the series is designed to help younger children with early numeracy skills. There’s lots of repetition of the featured number along with counting up to 10.

Each episode also features a ‘masked’ Numbat who sneaks out into the real world looking for numbers in every day settings, such as a door or telephone, so that children can learn to identify numbers in their own surroundings.

With the use of green-screen technology, the Numbats are able to interact with real children as they find fun ways of teaching them the featured number, either through music or counting familiar everyday objects that children will instantly recognise.

Zingzillas (52 x 11 mins) returns with a second series in a new, shorter format. Zak, Tang, Panzee and Drum are all back getting the CBeebies’ audience across the nation grooving on down to the ZingZilla’s sound. At home on their tropical island paradise, this band of loveable primate friends love to play fantastic music, inspiring young musical minds everywhere. Gorilla and lead singer, Zak, provide vocals while musical genius and lead guitarist, Tang the orang-utan, creates the toe-tapping, finger-clicking compositions.

Under the guidance of their mentor, music guru DJ Loose, they create their unique ZingZilla sound in time for their daily performance, The Big Zing.

Mr Bloom’s Nursery (26 x 20 mins, including a special episode) returns for a second series as Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks) and the loveable Veggies reunite to show how young children can learn from the experience of nurturing plants and vegetables.

Mr Bloom will be joined in this series by two new Veggies, potatoes Tom and Barbara, a bickering couple who will sit high up on a shelf in the Nursery. They will have the best vantage point from which to make jokes and comment on the action taking place and observe the antics of the other Veggies – Colin the Runner Bean, shy Margaret the Cabbage, bossy Joan the Fennel, singing Aubergine Sebastian, the mischievous Wee MacGregor radishes and Raymond the Butternut Squash who adores cuddles.

The new series will also feature a special episode in which Mr Bloom will take his Veggies to Burnley where they will work with a group of children to create a community garden.

Controller Kay Benbow says: “Justin is hugely popular with our audiences and Justin’s House taps into their sense of fun with its slapstick humour. Numbats is a simple, clear format designed to teach basic number skills to younger children using repetition and familiar objects and surroundings. It’s not just about learning to count up to 10 but about being able to apply the value of a number in everyday scenarios. I am also delighted to welcome back Zingzillas and Mr Bloom.”

Alison Stewart, Head of CBeebies Production, Animation and Acquisitions, says: “The two new commissions, together with two returning favourites, highlights the diverse range of content created by the talented in-house production team. Zingzillas and Mr Bloom’s Nursery have both been firm favourites with our audience and I’m sure that children everywhere will be laughing out loud at Justin’s House and counting along with the Numbats.”

As CBeebies enters an exciting new chapter with the move to Salford, BBC writersroom has teamed up with the Bafta-winning channel to launch a new competition, Get a Squiggle On! This exciting opportunity gives new, talented writers from different backgrounds and experiences an opportunity to develop. 

Kate Rowland, BBC Creative Director of New Writing and Head of BBC Writersroom, said: “It’s a pleasure to be working with CBeebies as it plays such an important role in offering original programming for the under-six audience. It’s at this age when our emotional engagement with characters and stories truly starts”.

For full details of the competition and how to enter visit the BBC writersroom website.

BAFTA’s children’s channel of the year CBeebies is refreshing its early evening schedule for summer and reintroducing some familiar friends to help children settle down for bedtime. From Monday 30 May, loveable siblings Charlie And Lola are welcomed back to the CBeebies line-up alongside Lucy and her menagerie of exotic animal friends at 64 Zoo Lane.

These programmes will be followed by the soothing adventures of Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy in In The Night Garden and, as always, the familiar comfort of The Bedtime Story in the final slot of the day.

First broadcast on CBeebies in 2005, Charlie And Lola is based on the award-winning books by Lauren Child and follows the everyday cartoon adventures of inquisitive little sister Lola and her ever-patient brother Charlie.

And 64 Zoo Lane takes viewers on an adventurous tour of the globe as seven-year-old Lucy catches up with the animated antics of her myriad animal friends including Herbert the Warthog, Georgina the Giraffe and Isobel the Flamingo.

“We are always looking at ways to keep our schedule fresh and interesting for our young viewers without causing too much disruption to routines,” says Controller of CBeebies Kay Benbow.

“We know that the bedtime hour is an important part of families’ evening routines and we’re sure that children will be delighted to settle down with some familiar friends as they prepare for bedtime.”

Fans of current bedtime favourite Waybuloo will still be able to catch up with the Piplings every weekday at 11.15 and 15.10 and weekends at 13.00 on CBeebies.

And, as ever, parents and children can catch up with their favourite programmes at any time through the CBeebies iPlayer at bbc.co.uk/iplayer/cbeebies.

Controller of CBeebies Kay Benbow has commissioned a new 40 x 15 minute wildlife series from the BBC’s famed Natural History Unit.

Showcasing the talents of Bafta-nominated CBeebies presenter Andy Day and utilising the NHU’s stunning archive, Andy’s Wild Adventures will use the latest digital CGI and green-screen technology to take Andy right into the very heart of the action and bring animal encounters vividly to life for CBeebies’ young viewers.

Andy Day is a keeper at a large, busy animal park. Every day he does the rounds, chatting to the animals he sees along the way and doing his chores before reporting back to his trusty and curious sidekick, a puppet cat. Although he’s a very knowledgeable keeper, Andy doesn’t have the answers to all of his feline friend’s questions, so together they decide that a Fact File mission – beyond the zoo – is what’s needed to find out more.

Armed with the kit they need for their trip, Andy and his puppet pal squeeze into their high-spec, all-terrain vehicle and are catapulted into the heart of a wildlife hot spot. And so the adventure begins with Andy as the guide, and his trusted companion back at command central in the buggy…

Taking viewers where no other wildlife presenter has ever dared to go, Andy’s Wild Adventures opens up a world of incredible wildlife images and jaw-dropping facts as they explore some of the wildest and most fascinating places on Earth.

“Andy’s Wild Adventures is a wonderful combination of great CBeebies talent and amazing Natural History Unit expertise which will really inspire our youngest viewers to learn about animals,” says Kay Benbow. “They’re going to be transported right into the heart of the wildlife action, without leaving the safety of their sofas!”

Andy’s Wild Adventures will transmit on CBeebies in 2012. The executive producer is Wendy Darke (Deadly 60) and the series producer is Charlotte Crosse.

BBC Children’s is throwing its weight behind Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 8 February by hosting a range of initiatives across CBeebies and CBBC.

CBBC will air three interactive webisodes of its hit show Tracy Beaker Returns. Covering online relationships, cyberbullying and illegal downloads the webisodes aim to promote online media best practice and media literacy. Whilst CBeebies will feature a blog, written by Dr Tanya Byron, on how to keep young children safe online and advising parents how they can prepare their children to become safe independent internet users as they grow older.

Each of the 10-minute Tracy Beaker stories allows the user to choose from a variety of options which assist the main characters through the narrative, helping them to make decisions as various dilemmas are presented to them. The story will unfold according to the options chosen, with each choice resulting in a different outcome and ending. The episodes have the approval of Jacqueline Wilson, the bestselling author who originally created the character Tracy Beaker.

In addition the website will also host a live webchat with Saffron Coomber who plays Sapphire alongside an internet safety expert from Childnet. There will also be updated information on the CBBC Stay Safe section of the site.

On air the CBBC channel will also screen a Newsround Special: Caught In The Web Again which highlights the potential dangers that can be found online.

Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children’s, said: “Children feel much more at home with new technologies and platforms than adults do, and as well as providing them with huge advantages and possibilities, that creates new risks as well. Giving children the information they need to safely get the most out of online content is a big priority for BBC Children’s, and our content on Safer Internet Day, and every day, aims to give them tools, reassurance and support they need to stay safe on the internet.”

Commenting on the Tracy Beaker webisodes Damian Kavanagh, Controller CBBC, said: “CBBC is truly multiplatform and we engage with our viewers on a daily basis through our top-rating website. It is therefore vitally important that we play our part in promoting internet safety. By using one of our most popular shows as the basis for the stories, we hope our viewers will learn more about potential dangers online.”

Bafta’s Children’s Channel of the Year CBeebies today, Monday 31 January, unveiled its new season of distinctive pre-school programming that will continue to help its young audience learn through play.

Exciting new series include: Rastamouse, a colourful, musical animation based on the acclaimed books by Genevieve Webster and Michael De Souza; Mr Bloom’s Nursery, which urges children to roll up their sleeves and learn valuable life lessons through the wonders of vegetable gardening; Raa Raa The Noisy Lion, a delightful new animation about a little lion who’s just finding his voice; and Little Charley Bear which is designed to fire young children’s imaginations.

Encouraging children to chortle is high on CBeebies’ agenda with new series of comedy hits Gigglebiz and Timmy Time and creating a sense of wonder figures highly with new adventures for underwater heroes Octonauts and enchanting new homes for The Piplings in Waybuloo.

And innovative new online offerings Talkie Time (a partnership with BBC Learning) and The Lingo Show inspire children to learn interactively about the magic of communication and different languages.

The channel continues to attract major UK talent to its programmes including James Corden (Little Charley Bear), James Bolam (Grandpa in My Pocket), Reggie Yates (Rastamouse) and stars including Sheila Hancock, Kimberley Walsh and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Bedtime Stories) while bringing on great fresh talent such as Mr Bloom’s Nursery’s Ben Faulks. It also cherishes its existing on-screen talent with Bafta-winning presenter Justin Fletcher ‘signing up’ for a two-year contract and preparing for a new show next summer.

Controller of CBeebies Kay Benbow says:

“We hope that our new season of programmes will help CBeebies become more accessible than ever before allowing children to get closer to their favourite shows. Mr Bloom’s Nursery, our first in-house production from our new home in the North West, was filmed on location in Stockport and Manchester and, following the success of last year’s series of Mr Maker Comes To Town, we’ll be taking I Can Cook on the road this year.”

“We’re dedicated to ensuring that children see their lives reflected on screen, regardless of their ability or background, and most of all we hope that they’re inspired by our programmes in a fun way to learn a little bit more about the world around them”.

The BBC’s recent Strategy Review made the provision of quality children’s programming one of its top five editorial priorities.

Notes to Editors:

CBeebies is dedicated to delighting and surprising its young audience and it remains the UK’s most watched and most loved channel for the under-sixes.

Almost half of the target audience tune in every week (parents and carers with children aged 0-3 and four- to six-year-olds in digital homes) with 55 per cent saying it is one of their favourite channels. Our reach is around three times that of our nearest competitor.

Our most popular shows include In The Night Garden, I Can Cook, Something Special and Waybuloo. New shows this year include Rastamouse, Little Charley Bear, Mr Bloom’s Nursery and a brand-new series for CBeebies favourite Justin Fletcher.

The CBeebies website is also hugely popular with our young audience and their parents and helps extend the ‘learning through play’ philosophy. Last year it averaged at just under 800k unique users.

CBeebies has just been crowned Bafta’s Children’s Channel of the Year and is also Freesat Children’s Channel of the Year.

There’s a Christmas treat in store for CBeebies’ young story-lovers and their mums when Gary Barlow sits in the Bedtime Story chair and breathes life into the enchanting tale of Elmer And Papa Red on Christmas Eve.

Written by David McKee, this festive edition of the Elmer series sees the colourful patchwork elephant prepare for a visit from Papa Red and plan a magical Christmas treat for his excited young elephant friends.

Also providing the seasonal stories this year is distinguished actor Sir Patrick Stewart who puts his distinctive tones to great use to read Paul Bright and Jane Chapman’s Grumpy Badger’s Christmas on Christmas Day and Smudger The Dog Saves Christmas (Lisa Evans and Holly Surplice) on Boxing Day.

Sir Patrick has also recorded three stories for the New Year – Wishmoley And The Little Piece Of Sky by Julia Hubery and Mary McQuillan, Stephen Mackey’s Miki And The Moon Blossom and One Snowy Night (Christina M Butler and Tina MacNaughton).

“I am delighted that we have two such wonderful readers for our special Christmas stories on CBeebies,” says the channel’s controller Kay Benbow. “Both Gary and Sir Patrick took time out of their busy schedules and we are grateful to them for giving our viewers such lovely festive treats.”

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