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BBC Children’s In-House Productions announce new commissions including favourite JoJo & Gran Gran


These new commissions demonstrate the enormous commitment and skill, from teams across the UK, in developing and producing joyful, engaging and inspiring story telling for our young audiences. Helen Bullough, BBC Children’s In-House Productions

Double season order for JoJo & Gran Gran among raft of new commissions for BBC Children’s In-House Productions.

JoJo & Gran Gran, the UK’s first preschool animated series featuring a Black British family, will return to CBeebies for series two and three following a double-win commission for BBC Children’s In-House Productions.

The animation tells the story of a four year-old girl and her fun and wise grandmother who cares for JoJo while her parents are working. It will return for a bumper 88 episodes, news which is sure to delight the millions of young fans it has gained since its launch in March this year.

Since its unparalleled debut, JoJo & Gran Gran, based on the wonderful books created by Laura Henry Allain, has received over 14m requests on BBC iPlayer, making it a firm favourite with the preschool audience. As well as the new series, also commissioned are a 2020 Christmas Special, an audio series for BBC Sounds and two games for CBeebies apps - all of which are set to extend the brand of JoJo & Gran Gran even further. The creative and editorial team will include Tony Reed, Tom Cousins and Ros Attille, with series consultancy from Laura Henry-Allain, the creator of the original JoJo and Gran Gran characters.

Helen Bullough, Head of BBC Children’s In-House Productions, says: “JoJo & Gran Gran is a very special brand, celebrating that special relationship between grandparent and child, reflecting kids lives and inspiring real world discovery and play. In turn we’ve been inspired by the feedback from the audience and are thrilled that we’ve now got the opportunity to follow JoJo and Gran Gran on even further adventures.“

Moving onto live action, Lagging is an exciting new comedy series for CBBC from the In-House drama team by Bafta award-winning writer Dan Berlinka about gaming, friendship and growing up. Sol, Moi, Cedric, Leah and Ray are a group of 11 year-old gamers - best friends in real life and online. When gaming, their huge personality differences are an asset, as they face quests and conquer worlds as a team. But as five very different friends, surviving the challenging missions of real life is a much more difficult game. Filming has just started in the North West, with Connal Orton as Executive Producer, Gert Thomas producing and Julian Kemp and Teresa Varga directing.

Lagging will join other new In House titles developed by the In House Scripted Development team which include the previously announced return of Dani Harmer as Tracy Beaker in Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s My Mum Tracy Beaker. Meanwhile Sparks is a set of bold and provocative standalone stories for BBC iPlayer from diverse emerging UK talent, bringing a distinct and alternative view of what it means to be young today and BBC Children’s In-House will make four of the Sparks films, which were developed by Emma Hill and the INH Interactive Team.

The In-House team has bases in Salford and Glasgow with the latter home to a significant number of titles including all new Preschool series Ferne and Rory’s Teeny Tiny Creatures and Number One Newton Avenue. Other new commissions to be produced from the Pacific Quay base include a two series commission for the ever-popular Swashbuckle on CBeebies and a return for panel show The Dog Ate My Homework, back with Lauren Layfield as its host on CBBC. These join other Glasgow-based titles, new gameshow Would You Rather?, hit preschool drama Molly and Mack (commissioned for two further series) and Princess Mirror-Belle, a new live action adaptation of the Julia Donaldson books.

For CBBC, award-winning North West based comedy Class Dismissed gets a re-commission as does the Demon Headmaster which will return for a second series.

Preschool favourite Justin Fletcher also returns to CBeebies with new commissions of his much-loved series’ GiggleQuiz and Justin’s House and Love Monster, the co-produced animation with Boat Rocker Studios and UYoung will return for a second series.

Helen Bullough, added: “These are challenging times for producers everywhere, as we all find ways to produce new content safely. These new commissions demonstrate the enormous commitment and skill from teams across the UK in developing and producing joyful, engaging and inspiring story-telling for our young audiences.”

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