CBeebies has announced that new 30-part drama series Apple Tree House will be broadcast on its channel next year. This series will center around ordinary boy Mali, who moves onto an extraordinary city estate. After befriending Sam, daughter of the estate’s caretaker, the two work together to solve daily problems and childhood issues, with their families and the helpful Apple Tree community offering advice and support at every turn. One highlight of the show will be its diverse cast, including Mali’s grandmother Zainab and Sam’s father Kobi. Each episode will be 15 minutes long.
The cast for #AppleTreeHouse will be William Vanderpuye as Kobi and Shaheen Khan as Grandma Zainab. Also joining the show are newcomers Aamir Tai as Mali, Miranda Sarfo Peprah as Sam and Summer Jenkins as their friend Bella.
The show has been created by William Vanderpuye, Maria Timotheou, and Akindele Akinsiku. Michael Towner will serve as the executive producer for CBeebies, and the show will feature original songs and a soundtrack from Andrew Kingslow, who previously composed the soundtrack for Rastamouse.
Kay Benbow, the controller of CBeebies and the person who originally commissioned the show, explained that ATH was the perfect example of a show that embodied the central values of CBeebies, “a sense of fun, curiosity and adventure, as well as sharing valuable life lessons in responsibility, kindness and being a good friend.”
In addition to the concept, producer Greg Boardman also mentioned that the setting of the #ATH estate would be perfect to create learning opportunities for the show’s core audience. Settings will include the estate itself, Mali’s family flat, Kobi’s caretaker shed, and the greater Apple Tree neighborhood. “Each new day brings an opportunity to have fun and discover something new as the children engage with friends and fellow residents,” Boardman says.
By all accounts, #AppleTreeHouse seems like a winner for CBeebies. With a diversifying population, there has been a growing call for more diverse characters in various media. This is especially important in children’s media, due to the impressionable nature of the target audience. Since #ATH is made with this intention from the ground-up, rather than an established show trying to become more inclusive, it will likely be able to avoid the concern of creating awkward situations by trying to force diversity without being able to present it authentically. For the children themselves, the return of Kingslow means that there will likely be plenty of catchy music to enjoy.
At the moment, an exact premiere date for ATH