• Kia Fullerton

JoJo & Gran Gran: The first British animation that centres around a Black family

JoJo & Gran Gran follows the everyday adventures of a four-year-old girl cared for by her fun, wise grandmother.

The new CBeebies animated show happens to be the first cartoon to explore the Black British family, with Gran Gran, voiced by Cathy Tyson, teaching JoJo about her Saint Lucian heritage and the Caribbean Island's culture.


The series which has been aired since 16 March, is based on characters created by Laura Henry-Allain, whose book series draws on her own relationship with her grandmother, Marie-Helena.


Ms Henry-Allain has spoken fondly about her grandmother, a seamstress who cared for her and her five siblings when her parents were at work. Before returning to Saint Lucia, where she died in 2009, aged 101.

"It’s been such a delight seeing JoJo & Gran Gran make it to the screen. I wanted to convey the deep connection between the two, the excitement at the world around her that JoJo has and Gran Gran’s wisdom, experience and zest for life", she said.


The writer now has two grown up sons of her own, and is a former teacher, nursery manager and Ofsted inspector.


JoJo and Gran Gran live close to each other in a busy London neighbourhood, with the local parks depicted inspired by Paddington Rec, which is near Henry-Allain's childhood home in west London.

The cartoon explores topics such as life cycles, the changing seasons, growth or the sequencing involved in activities such as baking a cake or catching a bus. Over 100 people worked on the show, which is made up of 44 episodes, with 11 for each season.


Executive producer Tony Reed said: "Reflecting the lives of our diverse CBeebies audience is hardwired into everything we do, with shows such as Apple Tree House, Pablo and Something Special amongst many others.


"JoJo & Gran Gran is a perfect example of this, but more than anything else it has the universal appeal of a warm and close relationship between a grandchild and grandparent that will very much resonate with our audience."


JoJo & Gran Gran is on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer, weekdays at 5.30pm.


Source: INews

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