May 272012
 

I am sure I am not the only one who has watched a kids tv show and wondered: How is a kids tv show born? Who is behind the characters? Where do the director and the team draw their inspiration from? Recently I had the fabulous opportunity to find out the answers to some of these questions from mum Kristie, the talented lady behind the new Nick Jr. show Didi and B.

Creator Kristie developed Didi and B. with curious preschoolers in mind, they will love going on many fun adventures with butterfly Didi and a cute spelling bee B. Singing songs, learning the alphabet, practising the days of the week and much more, kids will have a ball in Didi and B. garden world of learning.

What does your ideal Sunday look like?
I work in Sydney and live in the Southern Highlands, so my ideal weekend is snuggling back at home with my family. My hubby usually cooks a big Irish fry-up which we often eat in the garden, followed by a morning browsing country markets, bric-a-brac and bookshops. Usually we end up with a playdate for us all with other families who have a similarly hectic city/country lifestyle. (I also love popping down the South Coast for a weekend at the beach – this photo was taken last weekend at one of my favourite spots.)

How did you come up with the idea of Didi and B.?
I was given the task of finding a new couple of characters for Nick Jr. and it was wonderful discovering who they might be. I’ve worked at Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. for 17 years and have spent a lot of time trying to understand what kids enjoy and endeavouring to create that for them. Nick Jr.’s shows are some of the most progressive pre-school shows in the world for kids, and we draw on the latest research and expertise of educators and colleagues, as well as watching our own little kids play, and that all feeds into that journey of development. (I also remember very well what I loved as a kid and I definitely tapped into that!) I then collaborated with a wonderful team of the most talented artists who helped draw what was in my mind’s eye, and others who sculpted and lovingly built the puppets. Set builders created the world by turning fluff and paint into magical grass on bolders and the most talented kids, producers, puppeteers, writers, composer, the most brilliant cinematographer and director all collaborated to create golden moments. It really is so fulfilling to see it all come to life.

Are the characters based on someone you know?
I wanted a boy and a girl character that would appeal to both boys and girls and that they would want to cuddle. The characters needed to have a warmth and humour that would enchant kids and add some joy to their lives. I’ve always been drawn to nature and know how much little girls love sparkles and glitter and wings. My own girls are obsessed with craft, so nature-inspired crafts were perfect for Didi.

Didi’s name actually came from a baby word my daughter, Gracie used to call butterflies before she could say the word. B and D are also some of the first sounds a baby makes. I’ve also always loved bees, especially the fluffy ones in Tasmania, and the idea of a spelling bee that could play with words appealed. I also wanted B. to be cheeky and funny, and be a real boy. Finding 8 year old Jordan to be the voice was so important. His husky cheekiness sums up B!

What did you think when you got to see the finalised show for the first time?
I was so proud of what the whole team achieved together, and I hoped that the kids at home would love them as much as we all do. I hope that all the love that went into it comes across to the kids at home. I also thought, thank goodness I listened to Gracie and Rosie’s feedback and changed the puppets’ eyes! They are way cuter with the girl’s expert feedback!

What part of the Didi and B. show do you like most and why?
I think B. is cheeky and charming, I especially love his B. song and had a tear when recording the Goodnight song. The Days of the Week song makes me laugh and is exactly the tone I was aiming for. I’m excited that we’ve created a show that not only reflects daily routines of littlies but also gently educates and entertains both kids and their caregivers. At Nick Jr. our whole philosophy is play along and learn and I think we have created something special that kids will want to play along with, giggle with, and grow with . I am most proud of the authentic warmth and humour, and the gentleness of the world we created out of fluff, and paint and a whole lot of love.

To find out more about Didi and B, to watch Didi and B. videos and to check out some fun activities visit www.nickjr.com.au.