Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Lingo Show - Interview with the Producer

BBC, CBeebies, The Lingo Show

I'm sure a lot of you who watches has CBeebies on at home noticed a lot of changes this year. Apparently it's CBeebies 10 years anniversary! Not only did they change the time for some programmes, they've also added a Learning Block segment. One of the new show during the Learning Block is The Lingo Show.

I remember hearing Abby talking about the show when she was playing on the computer, but I didn't pay much attention to it. When I saw the first TV episode last Monday, I was extremely impressed! It taught Mandarin, our family tongue, for the first week and Abby had no problem learning through The Lingo Show. We were gonna start teaching her after she goes to primary school so it was her first Mandarin lessons.

BBC, CBeebies, The Lingo Show

I wanted to know more about the show and was given the opportunity to interview The Lingo Show's producer Adam Redfern, who leads the production team in putting the show together in the best way and getting it on-air for the audience.

The Lingo Show started as an interactive minisite on CBeebies website for some time before being shown on TV as a proper series. Was it planned to evolve the show this way?

It wasn't necessarily planned from day 1 to evolve The Lingo Show in such a way, but we often transfer CBeebies shows across our platforms, from web to TV, or vice versa, when they're a hit with our audience - and The Lingo Show certainly was.

The show was created by our web Producer Nicole Seymour, so for that reason it began as a website in February 2011. The website performed so well in terms of attracting a big online audience, that it was decided last June to bring it to TV and give even more great Lingo content to our viewers.

I understand that the series will be focusing on French, Spanish and Mandarin. What made you decide to choose these three languages out of the many out there?

Throughout production of the show, we worked very closely with educational consultants from the National Centre for Languages and also our colleagues in BBC Learning. We were informed that the 3 priority languages introduced during the Primary School curriculum are French, Spanish and Mandarin, so we wanted this TV series to reflect what our audience are learning at school.

How did you decide which words to include in the series to teach the children?

We were provided with a list of vocabulary words to base the series on from our educational consultants. This included topic groups like food, clothing, colours and numbers.

Any plans for other languages in the near future (as the show seems to be a success already!)?

There are 5 more Lingo bugs currently on our website; Urdu, Punjabi, Polish, Somali and Welsh and we're also introducing a new character online from 26th March too - sporty German bug Lieb, so there's lots of potential for more TV episodes, but nothing confirmed yet.

The first week of The Lingo Show is all about Mandarin, which I heard is followed by French, and then Spanish?

Correct, from Monday 19th March viewers can enjoy 5 new episodes with French bug Jargonaise, then from 26th March 5 new Spanish episodes with Queso. There are 15 episodes in total.

The show is a really good way for teaching children a new language, but it's a shame that each language only lasts for five episodes, with each episodes teaching only six words. Would you consider teaching more of each language?

The aim of The Lingo Show, both online and on TV is an entertaining introduction of each language to pre-schoolers, through words, objects, music, songs - and plenty of cartoon fun! It's possible to show more of each language, but I think more likely that more TV episodes would introduce other bugs and other languages, as our audience love the rest of the website cast and have a real demand to see their stories come to TV too.

When can we expect merchandises, especially DVDs of the show, to come out? (Yes, we are that keen!)

The BBC isn't a commercial organisation so we wouldn't produce merchandise ourselves but we'll keep you posted if there are any plans in the future.

Thank you so much for answering my questions Adam, and thank you Karen from BBC for helping me to organise this! I'm enjoying learning French along with Abby, what about you?

Disclosure: I requested for an interview opportunity as we really like the show. I was not paid in any way