Contracts have been signed, so I can abandon my usual freelancer superstition to announce that I'm writing for pre-school science show Nina and the Neurons on CBeebies. The next series is all about biology and the human body. I'm scripting five episodes that answer questions which investigate belly buttons, broken bones and blood.
I'm having great fun writing for a younger audience, a nice change of pace from the usual sturm and drang. Plus I'm learning things that high school biology didn't teach me [or maybe I just didn't pay much attention at the time]. and I get to dip my toes into children's TV writing, opening up fresh avenues for my more playful stories.
Writing for Nina and the Neurons sprang out of the CBeebies Lab I took part in last year. CBeebies Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust hosted a series of one-day workshops for writers interested in creating TV for pre-school children. I was lucky enough to be on the lab, and worked hard to get the most from the experience.
I pitched some ideas after the lab and one of those led to an offer of writing for Nina and the Neurons. Like a lot of pre-school TV, it's a heavily formatted show. There are key elements that happen in every ep, and important points get recapped during the show to reinforce the lessons children learn by watching it.
The writer's job is to keep things entertaining, as well as educational. Your scripts have to find a balance of silly and sensible, being both fun and factual. If you ever get the chance to write for pre-school TV, grab it. You won't get rich [certainly not on an in-house production for the BBC], but you'll learn a lot and that's much more valuable. Onwards!