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CBBC, CBeebies announce new shows for 2012

CBBC, CBeebies announce new shows for 2012
Staff Reporter
14 February 2012

CBBC and CBeebies have announced a raft of new programme commissions, as both channels prepare to celebrate their tenth birthday.

New shows for 2012 include CBBC dramas The Knot, produced by Tony Wood at Lime Pictures and Stepping Up from Liverpool’s LA Productions .

CBeebies’ Tree Fu Tom is a co-production between CBeebies in-house and FremantleMedia Enterprises, with animation is by BAFTA award-winning Blue Zoo Animation.

CBBC Controller Kay Benbow is launching a new cluster of programming on CBeebies this month. The Love to Learn block will bring together a number of programmes that are designed to give the younger members of the audience an introduction to basic literacy and numeracy.

Programmes to be incorporated into the schedule include new shows Numtums and The Lingo Show, alongside new episodes of established favourites Alphablocks and Abadas. These programmes will be scheduled together allowing children to have fun while they learn with letters and get to know their numbers.

Kay Benbow, said: “I think it is vital that CBeebies provides our youngest audience members with a strong introduction to letters and numbers– but it is also important that they have fun while they learn. By scheduling these programmes together I am giving parents the opportunity to allocate time in their busy days for their children to practice their basic literacy and numeracy skills. I hope that these programmes, along with other brand new shows such as Tree Fu Tom and Andy’s Wild Adventures, will encourage, challenge and entertain little learners around the country.”

In addition CBeebies is launching a new series to introduce children to the wonders of rhyme and verse. Set aboard a rocket that relies on rhymes to fuel its engines, The Rhyme Rocket will blast off on a journey to collect a poem from children on Earth. As it encounters different planets full of rhymes, the rocket beams aboard poets and performers to introduce new works specially commissioned by the BBC.

All the new CBBC shows are in-house productions, with the exception of Tree Fu Tom, which  is a co-production between CBeebies in-house production and FremantleMedia Enterprises.

CBBC has also announced a range of new commissions, including a number dramas to engage and entertain older viewers.

Controller Damian Kavanagh has commissioned four major new drama series for CBBC, as well as ordering up new episodes of some CBBC favourites. Brand new CBBC dramas WolfbloodThe Knot, Stepping Up and Russell T Davies’ Aliens Vs Wizards are all in production, with Young Dracula, The Sparticles Mystery, M.I. High and Leonardo all returning to CBBC in 2012/2013.

The Knot is a three part drama for CBBC (3x28 minutes), made by Lime Pictures and executive produced by Tony Wood.

Stepping Up will be made by Liverpool’s LA Productions. Executive producer for LA Productions is Colin McKeown.

Damian Kavanagh said: “I’m a great believer in looking for programmes which really bring something new to the channel for our audience to enjoy. Surprising and entertaining them is the key to the amazing growth we’ve experienced since we launched ten years ago.

“CBBC has always had a strong record of producing acclaimed children’s dramas and I’m proud to be able to announce such a wide range of new programmes for the coming year. Dramas such as Wolfblood and Aliens Vs Wizards are what we’re all about – strong stories told in a way that captures our audiences imaginations and takes them on an incredible journey.”

The channels are celebrating their birthdays in style with a special Big Birthday Bash at their new home in Salford Quays on 18 February,

Both channels have grown significantly since their launch, with CBBC now reaching more than five times the audience it had in its first year. The channel is now watched by more than 1.8 million 6-12 year olds every week. CBeebies has also grown significantly, doubling its audience since its launch in 2002 and is now watched by around half the UK’s 0-6s every week (2.3 million).

CBeebies and CBBC launched on 11 February 2002 and, over the last ten years, have grown to become the most popular channels in the UK for the under twelves.

Joe Godwin, director, BBC Children’s, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate our tenth birthday in our brand new home in MediaCityUK, looking back at the quality programming that the department has produced, and looking ahead at all the exciting content we have in store. I believe what makes BBC Children’s so special is that we produce original British programming to help children make sense of the world around them. And we take children to places they wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience.

“We really do have world-class talent working here at BBC Children’s and I’m looking forward to seeing these new programme commissions on air in the coming year.”


In the heart of the Lancashire Fells, on the edge of the village of Featherbridge, right at the geographical centre of Britain, is The Knot – one hundred and sixty seven hectares of up and down land that has its own fell, wood, beck and cave.

Much to the distrust of many of the locals, the Boulsworths are a foster family offering emergency and short-term care, looking after children on a temporary basis until permanent arrangements can be made – and Rocket and his sister Alli have to share their home and their parents with a regular stream of incomers.

But when 14 year-old Casey Parker and his 11 year-old sister Lena arrive at The Knot, Rocket and Alli find themselves at the centre of a dangerous mystery…

The Knot is a three part drama for CBBC (3x28 minutes), made by Lime Pictures and executive produced by Tony Wood. Executive producer for CBBC is Sue Nott.


The move from primary to secondary school can be an exciting but sometimes daunting one, and Stepping Up – a brand new drama series for CBBC – focuses on children who are experiencing this transition.

The 5x28 minute stand-alone dramas, which will be penned by five different writers, will be themed around the new challenges children face when moving into this new and sometimes overwhelming environment.

Stepping Up will be made by Liverpool’s LA Productions. Executive producer for LA Productions is Colin McKeown and CBBC executive producer is Sue Nott.


Tree Fu Tom is a multi-platform, fantasy, action adventure 26x22 minute series which follows the amazing quests of a young boy with magical powers as he takes viewers to Treetopolis, an enchanted world in a tree at the bottom of his garden.

Here, Tom encourages the audience to interact; helping him cast Tree Fu magic spells with gentle, fun physical movements. The movements are designed to assist and enhance the development of all children at a crucial time in their growth, but especially those who have movement disorders and difficulties such as Dyspraxia.

Former Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Sophie Aldred head the cast as the voices for lead characters Tom (Aldred) and Twigs (Tennant) along with their Treeling friends. There’s Zigzoo, a bubbly, eccentric tree frog inventor; Squirmtum, an odd-job woodlouse with a heart of gold and Rickety McGlum, an ex-pro player of Treetopolis’ national sport ‘Squizzle’ (all voiced by Tim Whitnall). There’s also: Ariela (Samantha Dakin), a beautiful but rough-and-tumble ranch-running butterfly and Treetog (Sharon D Clarke), a Tree Fu Master and wise teacher. Set against the Treelings are the mischievous Mushas: comically bungling, no-good fungus fiends, brother and sister duo Stink and Puffy.

Twigs and Tom are inseparable as they become embroiled in action-packed adventures, which always lead to trouble and impending disaster. When events run beyond their control it is only with help from the audience performing Tree Fu moves, that Tom can create spectacular Big World Magic and save the day.

Tree Fu Tom is a co-production between CBeebies in-house production and FremantleMedia Enterprises. Daniel Bays is the producer with Jackie Edwards and Alison Stewart executive producing for the BBC, and Sander Schwartz and Bob Higgins for FME. The animation is by BAFTA Award winning Blue Zoo Animation.


Numtums is a multi-platform 25x5 minute series that gives young children a foundation in basic numeracy .

Combining a troop of animated Numtums, children, sing-along songs and a  mixed-media style, Numtums introduces the basics of number recognition and then gently moves on to counting objects and identifying amounts in a variety of fun scenarios.

To accompany the series there are a series of interactive games available on the CBeebies website which parents/carers can play with their children.

The Numtums themselves are cuddly Numbats (rare marsupial, native to Western Australia) each with a number on their tummy.

Numtums is a CBeebies In-House Production, produced by Lotte Elwell and executive produced by Tony Reed.


The Lingo Show began life as a CBeebies online brand last year and was consistently one of the website’s top performing pieces of content.

The new 15 x 11mins TV series, continues to introduce children to words in different languages - specifically French, Spanish and Mandarin - as the loveable Lingo bugs burst out into the real world of UK preschoolers in a fantastic slapstick mix of animation and live-action, putting children on screen alongside the characters.

The TV episodes see host bug Lingo send Mandarin bug Wei, Spanish bug Queso and French bug Jargonaise off into the real world to choose everyday objects and props to include in their grand finale – The Big Bug Show.

Each episode focuses on one language, introducing children to six key words, plus examples of everyday vocabulary like ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’. There are opportunities for children to develop both speaking and listening skills as they are encouraged to repeat words with the bugs, voiced by native speakers of the target language.

The Lingo Show is a co-commission from CBeebies In-House Production and BBC Learning, produced by Adam Redfern and executive produced by Paul Shuttleworth with BBC Learning Executive Producer Lisa Percy.


Aimed at introducing children to a universe full of words, this 20x10 minute series is an interstellar journey to discover poems and rhymes.

The series will follow the cosmic adventures of First Officer Ditty, Professor Poet and Commander Rhyme-a-lot as they blast through space on a mission to collect poetry and songs from around the universe "one rhyme at a time."

Set aboard a rocket that relies on rhymes to fuel its engines, each programme will blast off from Planet Rhyme on a journey to collect a poem from children on Earth. As it encounters different planets full of rhymes, the rocket beams aboard poets and performers to introduce new works specially commissioned by the BBC.

To accompany the series, BBC Learning and the literary charity, the Booktrust, have teamed up to create a Rhyme Rocket guide for parents and carers.

The Rhyme Rocket is a joint commission between CBeebies In-House Production and BBC Learning. It is produced by Matthew Peacock and executive produced by Paul Shuttleworth for CBeebies and Helen Foulkes for BBC Learning.


A new 20x15 minute wildlife series

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Children's Natural History Programming in 2012, CBeebies presenter Andy Day goes around the world visiting countries and coming face to face with some fascinating creatures.

Using footage from the BBC Natural History Unit’s archive combined with the latest digital CGI and green-screen technology, Andy finds out what it’s like to hang out with mountain gorillas up in the treetops of Africa; dance with flamingoes in Kenya and snuggle up with Emperor penguins in Antarctica.

Andy works as a keeper at Pickles 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 sidekick Kip, a puppet cat that lives in their workshop.

Inspired by Andy’s animal encounters and his stories of the natural world, they decide to go on a wild adventure to find out more about animals in the wild.

Andy's Wild Adventures opens up a world of  wildlife images and facts as they explore some of the wildest and most fascinating places on Earth.

Andy’s Wild Adventures is made by the BBC Natural History Unit, executive produced by Wendy Darke for NHU, Adrian Mills for CBeebies and Henrietta Hurford-Jones for BBC Worldwide Global Channels. The series is produced by Charlotte Crosse.

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