I’ve been writing for television for the past twenty years, starting with the old pre-school favourite, Playdays. When the show came to an end, I went on to join the scripting teams for many well-known animated and live action series – including The Tweenies, The Hoobs, Jellykins, Fimbles, Angelina Ballerina, Postman Pat – and was Story Editor and writer on the seventh series of Thomas the Tank Engine. With writing partner Mellie Buse, we wrote for the new Magic Roundabout, Fireman Sam and the Australian puppet animation series, Five Minutes More. We also head-wrote on the first series of Postman Pat spin-off Guess with Jess. There were many other shows that have come and gone – literally hundreds of episodes. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. Although I did end up with a WRULD, or Work Related Upper Limb Disorder so I must have spent most of my adult life tapping away at a keyboard.
Ten years ago, Mellie and I formed Adastra Creative with the aim of “enriching children’s imagination with fantastic characters and stories that will live with them forever.” In 2008 we were commissioned to make the first series of Grandpa in my Pocket for the BBC CBeebies channel and last year we delivered our 118th episode – all of which we wrote and produced. Grandpa has been nominated in the BAFTA Pre-School Live Action category four times and won a BAFTA Cymru for Best Children’s Programme. The series has been sold to over a hundred international territories. And then we wrote a stage show – Teamwork – which was commissioned by Nottingham Playhouse and went on national tour.
As part of Adastra, we also created, wrote and produced a mixed content preschool show called Ha Ha Hairies for Cartoon Network’s Cartoonito Channel. The series went into over a hundred million homes across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and has been a particular hit in Italy. The show was nominated twice for a children’s BAFTA and won a BAFTA Cymru for Best Visual and Graphic Effects, created by Cloth Cat Animation.
I learnt a tremendous amount about my craft from the “gun-for-hire” work, but Grandpa in my Pocket and Ha Ha Hairies are my babies and I’m very fond of them. They are still growing up and we hope to have more news of their adventures soon.
INTERESTED IN WRITING FOR CHILDREN’S TELEVISION?
I will be blogging about this in the months to come so do come and find me.
If you’d like more specific help from me as a children’s television consultant then please get in touch. I can give you feedback on scripts and give advice on preparing pitch documents.