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TV first with BBC Philharmonic’s Musical Storyland

The BBC is airing a new live action and animation series, with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, CBeebies and BBC Teach.

Musical Storyland is the first time that an orchestra has been commissioned to make content for network television.

Shot entirely in the North West, the 10-part series brings famous tales to life using music – these include The Baobab Tree, Jack and the Beanstalk, Ananse and the Monkeys and The Hare and the Tortoise

Each will be narrated by well-known names and feature internationally renowned guest musicians and be supported by teaching resources on the BBC Teach website.

“Musical Storyland is set to be an inspirational series and an amazing resource for young people and families,” explained Kate Morton, Senior Head of Children’s Commissioning 0-6 BBC.

“The talented team behind the scenes have brought these stories to life in a unique way and we are sure children and adults alike will enjoy this truly magical series of programmes”

Presenters will include: BBC 5 Live’s Nihal Arthanayake; international storyteller Jan Blake; CBBC, Eastenders actor and Strictly Come Dancing finalist, Molly Rainford; and Sean Chandler, a Deaf trumpeter who will present one episode and play on another.

Performing with the BBC Philharmonic are: tabla player, Kuljit Bhamra MBE, a composer, record producer and pioneer of the British Bhangra sound whose film career includes: Bend It Like Beckham; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Sidiki Dembélé a Manchester-based West African multi-instrumentalist who has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company; and Zi Lan Liao – Liverpool based guzheng player who has appeared with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and on the soundtrack for The Last Emperor.

“The BBC Philharmonic is one of the most adventurous and versatile orchestras in the UK. Perhaps best known for performances at home in Salford and across the north of England, the orchestra also delights in being involved in new projects,” said Simon Webb, Head of Orchestras and Choirs.

“We are thrilled to have created Musical Storyland with the BBC Philharmonic, a series of programmes for TV that will entertain and teach our youngest audiences about storytelling through music.”

The BBC added that the crew and production team were all recruited from the North West.

“This collaboration provides schools with classroom resources fully integrated with what is beautiful CBeebies programming. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn through storytelling and to bring world class musicians – and their instruments – into the classroom,” added Helen Foulkes, Head of Education and Newsround.

Musical Storyland will be launched on CBeebies and BBC Teach on 27 November with episodes broadcast on CBeebies every day that week at 4.45pm. The box set of the first five episodes will be available on iPlayer from 27 November. 

The remaining episodes will be saved for Easter 2024.

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