JoJo & Gran Gran celebrates Black History Month with special episode

Ground-breaking preschool series - produced for CBeebies by BBC Studios Kids & Family Productions – to premiere special episode It’s Time for a Voyage this October

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Ground-breaking CBeebies preschool series JoJo & Gran Gran - produced for the channel by BBC Studios Kids & Family Productions - is helping to celebrate Black History Month with a special episode this October.

JoJo & Gran Gran showcases the wonderful relationship between an almost five-year-old girl and her fun and wise grandmother who cares for JoJo in their bustling London neighbourhood while her parents are working. JoJo adores her grandparent and the time they spend together, while Gran Gran is very proud of her Saint Lucian heritage and is always happy when she has an opportunity to teach JoJo about the island’s culture.

In It’s Time for a Voyage, JoJo and Gran Gran visit an exhibition to learn about the time Gran Gran moved from Saint Lucia to England when she was a little girl. Lots of people have donated special objects and photos for the exhibition, including Gran Gran who donates her precious little duffle coat, her only memento from that time. But as JoJo and Gran Gran explore the exhibition, Gran Gran makes some extra-special discoveries of her own.

In live segments interwoven into the episode, one young girl experiences some real artefacts of the time alongside Dr Ayshah Johnston, Learning and Engagement Manager at Black Cultural Archives, who is also an Episode Consultant for the show; and children talk about their own precious things and why they are special to them.

The episode’s cast is all from a Caribbean background, while key crew members are also of Caribbean or African heritage. BAFTA-winning actor Cathy Tyson plays Gran Gran, Taiya Samuel plays JoJo, Ashley Joseph plays Jared and Sharon D Clarke guests as Marie, the Exhibition Curator.

Cathy Tyson (Gran Gran) said: “My dad was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and I am super proud of my Caribbean and Irish ancestry, so this episode really resonates with me. I’m proud to be helping JoJo, and our viewers, to discover more about the Black British community’s roots and journey.”

Dr Ayshah Johnston, Learning & Engagement Manager at Black Cultural Archives, said: “I’m thrilled that JoJo is learning about her heritage through visiting this exhibition and was delighted to be able to contribute to the episode. I hope viewers will be inspired to explore more about this important part of UK history. Our own unparalleled and growing archive collection is full of similar treasured artefacts and photos that help to promote the understanding of the contribution and experience of people of African and Caribbean descent within Britain.”

Patricia Hidalgo, Director, BBC Children’s & Education, said: “In addition to entertaining our audience, making shows such as JoJo & Gran Gran that can educate is really important for us too. As Gran Gran loves to tell JoJo about her heritage, we wanted to create a special episode to accompany Black History Month. We are sure audiences will be fascinated by what they learn as they enjoy the lovely warm moments JoJo and Gran Gran share when they make some wonderful discoveries at the exhibition.”

Ros Attille, co-executive producer, JoJo & Gran Gran said: “Community, family and heritage are central to this pioneering series and we are proud to have produced this special episode to celebrate Black History Month. We hope it will inspire young viewers to learn more about both Black British culture and about their own heritage.”

JoJo & Gran Gran, created in-house by BBC Studios and inspired by characters created by Laura Henry-Allain, has become a firm favourite with the preschool audience since its launch in March 2020. Celebrating that special relationship between grandparent and child, the series reflects kids’ lives and inspires real-world discovery and play. Throughout the series, the stories are inspired by the passing of time, covering topics such as life cycles, the passing of the seasons, growth or the sequencing involved in activities like baking a cake or catching a bus. Within each animated episode, there is a live action moment which features children talking about the themes covered.

Black History Month is one of the most prominent cultural celebrations of the year, giving everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture. Since 1987, Black History Month has been celebrated annually in the UK. The event is intended to recognise the contribution and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage. It's also an opportunity for people to learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes.

About

About BBC Studios Kids & Family

BBC Studios Kids & Family is an integral part of the BBC Studios content powerhouse – a global company with bold British creativity at its heart. Formed in 2022 with the move of BBC Children’s In-house Production into BBC Studios Productions, combines into one team, the exceptional talent and expertise of the BBC Children’s In-House Production team alongside the global insight, content sourcing, investment, customer and brand experience within BBC Studios, to seamlessly take content from conception, development and production to investment, franchise management and distribution.

BBC Studios Kids & Family identifies, secures and nurtures great projects and turns them into global and local hits suitable for the CBeebies branded services and other major broadcast platforms and markets. With specialist knowledge of what makes young audiences tick, BBC Studios Kids & Family understands the market opportunity and provides the conditions that allow ideas to develop and flourish.

The division’s multi-genre portfolio includes some of the most exciting and successful franchises in the world, with BAFTA and International Emmy winning craft and storytelling, including Blue Peter, Bluey, Get Even, Hey Duggee, JoJo & Gran Gran, My Mum Tracy Beaker, Sarah & Duck and Something Special. Its productions air on BBC Children’s in the UK, on the multi-territory CBeebies and BBC Kids branded services and on leading content platforms around the world.

About BBC Studios

BBC Studios is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group with profits (EBITDA) of £226 million on sales of £1.6bn (21/22). Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen and beyond, its activities span content financing, development, production, sales, branded services, and ancillaries across both its own productions, and programmes and formats made by high-quality UK independents, with three-quarters of its revenues from non-BBC customers including Discovery, Apple and Netflix. Around 2,400 hours of award-winning British programmes made by the business are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, with brands like Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear, Bluey and Doctor Who. BBC.com, BBC Studios’ global digital news platform, has 139 million unique browser visits each month.

Source CBBC

September 27, 2022 6:00am ET by Pressparty  

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