The Story Makers
|The Story Makers|
|Created by||Clare Bradley|
|Directed by||Stephen Cannon
Paul J. Medford
|Theme music composer||Francis Haines|
|Opening theme||Francis Haines
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||80|
|Executive producer(s)||Clare Elstow|
|Running time||15 minutes (Series 1) 20 minutes (Series 2-4)|
|Original network||CBeebies (until March 2009)|
|Audio format||Stereophonic sound|
|Original release||2001 – 2004|
The Story Makers was a children's television programme broadcast on the BBC's pre-school digital television network, CBeebies. The Story Makers is set in a children’s library, and encourages literacy and creativity.
The programme starts as the library shuts in the evening. At the stroke of midnight, Jelly and Jackson (green and pink puppets who live in the library and hide in the daytime) come out and are joined by a guest presenter, one of the members of the Wordsworth family, who recites "The sun is down, the stars are bright, Story Makers come out at night". The Wordsworths together with Jelly and Jackson are the Story Makers.
Objects found in the library are put into the top of the story machine (transformed from a desktop computer); Jelly, Jackson and the story maker then recite "Imagine, imagine, imagine a story!"; and the story machine produces a book containing a story based on the object. The story in the book is then "read out" (although this is replaced on screen by live action or an animation). The first story is usually a Play Book (live action with small children), and the remaining stories are animated (cartoons, stop-motion animation, or puppets). The characters in the stories are fairly consistent, including Sniff and Wag (two puppet dogs), Blue Cow (a cartoon cow, created by Blue-Zoo), Kevin the Spaceman (puppet), and so on. There is always a Blue Cow story and a Play Book - the third story varies between each episode.
As dawn breaks, the Story Maker takes his or her leave ("Dawn is upon us, the morning is nigh, we've made our stories, so we bid you goodbye") and disappears, Jelly and Jackson hide, and the story machine turns back into a computer, but the books produced overnight remain for the librarian and children to find when the library opens in the morning.
The story makers include:
The two puppet characters:
- Jackson (voiced by Nick Mercer who also provides the voice for Blue Cow) - Jackson is pink and porcupine-like and 5 years old.
- Jelly (voiced by Aliex Yuill) - green with hair sticking out, Jelly resembles a bird and is 3 years old.
There are many different story types, most of an educational nature.
Six presenters with their own magical powers:
- Milton Wordsworth - magic power: wave in the air; Series 1-4 (played by Danny John-Jules)
- Byron Wordsworth - magic power: finger click; Series 2-4 (played by Michael Offei)
- Rossetti Wordsworth - magic power: pocket; Series 2-4 (played by Dystin Johnson)
- Shelley Wordsworth - magic power: magic words; Series 2-4 (played by Lauretta Nkwocha)
- Blake Wordsworth - magic power: Hat; Series 4 (played by Paul J. Medford)
- Webster Wordsworth - Series 3-4 (played by Joe Vera)
The story makers are named after English poets, William Wordsworth, John Milton, Lord Byron, Dante Rossetti (or possibly Christina Rossetti), Percy Bysshe Shelley (or possibly Mary Shelley), William Blake, and John Webster.
In 2007, Jelly and Jackson appeared on a special puppet edition of The Weakest Link with ten other puppets but were eliminated in the sixth round of play, and did not get a single question incorrect during the first five rounds of the game (during a between-rounds interview, Anne points out that it is because they live in a library), although they weren't the statistically strongest link during those rounds, except in round 4, where they did get strongest link.
- Blue Cow
- Sniff and Wag
- Barnacle Rock (Series 1-3)
- Kevin the Spaceman
- The Three Bears (Series 3-4)
- Super Baby (Series 4)
- Rainforest Tales (Series 2)
- Jack Sprat and Treacle Cat (Series 1)
- Tales from Faraway (Series 1)
- The Poons (Series 1)
Home media releases
In 2004, two VHS tapes and DVDs were released by Contender Entertainment Group. The first volume contained five episodes from the series, and the second release was a "Bumper Special", featuring ten episodes, five on each VHS tape/DVD.