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BBC orders Blyton adaptation

CMC: UK pubcaster the BBC has joined up with a Canadian broadcaster to adapt a classic Enid Blyton book series, which is among a raft of new commissions from its children’s department.

Cheryl Taylor

Malory Towers (13×30′) has been commissioned by BBC Children’s head of content Cheryl Taylor in association with DHX Media’s Family Channel in Canada.

The live-action series is set in the 1940s on the sun-drenched cliffs of the Cornish coast and follows the adventures of 12-year-old Darrell Rivers as she leaves home to attend a girls-only boarding school.

Described by the UK pubcaster as both “aspirational and inspirational,” the show explores this nostalgic world of midnight feasts, lacrosse, pranks and lasting friendships.

However, it has also been given a contemporary twist by including more modern themes such as shifting cliques, FOMO (fear of missing out), bullying, crushes, peer pressure and self-doubt.

The series is being made by King Bert Productions and DHX Media, with Rachel Flowerday and Sasha Hails adapting the book for TV.

The executive producers for DHX Media are Josh Scherba, Anne Loi and Michael Goldsmith, with Jo Sargent serving as exec producer for King Bert Productions. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Amy Buscombe.

Along with the Enid Blyton order, BBC Children’s has also renewed Molly & Mack, Justin’s House, The Dumping Ground, Maddie’s Do You Know? and The Dengineers. Molly & Mack and The Dumping Groud have both been commissioned for a further two seasons.

New series heading for preschool channel CBeebies include Number One Newton Avenue (10×7′), a series about how children encounter maths in their daily lives. The show is a scripted live-action series with animated visual effects. It has been developed by BBC Children’s in-house productions and its genre lead for children’s, Vanessa Amberleigh.

Andy & the Band (15×15′), meanwhile, features CBeebies favourite Andy Day alongside a band of odd socks. It comes from Three Arrows Media in association with Ninja Pig Productions.

The executive producers for Three Arrows/Ninja Pig are Jon Hancock, Dave Hallam, Tamsin Skan and Jon Turner. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Michael Towner.

Elsewhere, Andy’s Aquatic Adventures is produced by BBC Studios’ natural history unit (NHU) in Bristol. The executive producer for the NHU is Alex Griffith and the exec producer for BBC Studios is Henrietta Hurford-Jones. The associate producer for BBC Studios is Liz Randall and the commissioning editor for CBeebies is Michael Towner.

Hushabye Lullabye (10×3′), produced by Maramedia, is described as a “super soft, quirky animation series full of music, lullabies and cuddles” and is designed to create a sense of calm before quiet time and sleep. The executive producer is Simon Parsons and the commissioning editor for the BBC is Julia Bond.

Taylor is due to speak later this week at the Children’s Media Conference, which kicks off here in Sheffield, UK today and runs until Thursday.

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