Kids’ entertainment companies Cake, King Banana TV and Paper Owl Films have announced the cast line-up for upcoming Nikhil & Jay, a 52 x 11 minute animated family sitcom for CBeebies.

Nikhil & Jay is based on books by Chitra Soundar, that follows the adventures of two Indian/British dual heritage brothers and their loveable family.

British Tamil actor Charithra Chandran leads an authentic voice cast as Nikhil and Jay’s mum Amma. Chandran is best known for her roles in Alex Rider, How to Date Billy Walsh, her stage debut in Instructions for A Teenage Armageddon and as debutante Edwina Sharma in hit period drama Bridgerton. She is set to star in the upcoming series of Dune Prophecy.

Charithra Chandran said, “It’s really wonderful to see a show like this on the BBC and to see my culture specifically represented. I never had anything like this when I was growing up.”

Making their voiceover debuts in the title roles are 7-year olds Shiv Senthilkumar and Sai Ganesh Nadesan who voice Nikhil and Jay respectively and who are proud of their Tamil heritage.

A full cast of promising new talent as well as experienced actors includes Janine Duvitski as Nana (Old Jack’s Boat, One Foot in the Grave, Abigail’s Party, Benidorm); Mark Benton as grandpa Jim (Early Doors, Waterloo Road, Christmas Lights, Catterick, Shakespeare and Hathaway, The Syndicate); and stand-up comedian and Sunday Times Bestselling author Tez Ilyas, who voices friend and neighbour Mr Awan. Ben Harris plays the boys’ dad Appa, Janaki Sabesh voices granny Ammamma, Ravi Swami voices grandpa Thatha and Harriet Carmichael plays family cat Max. Casting is by Michelle Jones Brilliant Casting.

Nikhil & Jay follows the adventures of two young brothers whose Mum is Indian by heritage and Dad is English. With both Indian and English grandparents, their life is a rich blend of customs, traditions, festivals, foods and music. Nikhil & Jay celebrates the similarities and differences with funny and relatable stories that authentically represent dual heritage British Asian children.

Produced by King Banana TV (Yakka Dee!, Meet the Experts) and Paper Owl Films (Pablo, Happy The Hoglet), exec produced and distributed by CAKE (Angry Birds Summer Madness and Supa Team 4) and with funding from Northern Ireland Screen, Chitra Soundar, also Exec Produces and writes on the series.

A diverse team of writers, animators, composers and directors make up Nikhil & Jay’s offscreen talent.

Nikhil & Jay will launch on CBeebies later this year.

Pippa Considine

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