WRITER

WRITING THAT PUTS THE GRR IN GIRL, THE ART IN FART: STORIES THAT GIVE KIDS A HUG.

HELLO


Urban and gritty I'm not

I'm more chocolate and snot

But stories need bite

So I'm never trite

Because children matter a lot.

My name is Jayne Kirkham and I am a writer with over thirty years experience working with and writing for children and young people.
I’ve written for theatre, film, television, radio and online. I’ve worked on projects ranging in size from small conservation films in Africa to international feature films. My most recent credits have been here in the UK for BBC’s Cbeebies: Tee and Mo, Bing and original poems and stories for radio podcasts. For more information about what I’ve done, click on “What I’ve Done”.

WHY I DO IT

Growing up on Exmoor gave me a lifelong love of nature, adventure and the mysterious. It also, surprisingly, nurtured a love of cinema, theatre and poetry. Having studied Film, Drama, English Literature and Screenwriting to Masters level, my first commission was a play for Radio 4. But having worked with children all my life, and having never grown out of watching kids TV, I decided to write for children and families.

Commissions include original feature films, adaptations of novels, shows for preschool, and older kids and online. I still write for grown ups (for example adapting Marina Lewyka’s novel Two Caravans, into an animated feature) but please don’t ask me to be all urban and gritty. I don’t do gritty but I do do muck.

Ha! I wrote do-do! Do-dos! I always like to squeeze out something earthy. But it has to be done with finesse, aplomb: I’m on a mission to put the art back into fart.

I’m also on a mission to put the grr back in girl. And boys actually: getting kids outdoors in stories and for real. I’m a canoe and kayak coach. I love the whoosh and wah-hay of white water. But I really love the woohoo of someone realising they are so much more than they ever imagined! I think stories should empower as well as entertain. Whether it’s explaining Armistice Day or exploring what it’s like to need a heart transplant, or simple whimsy and fun, I write stories that give kids a hug.

I do this because children’s media plays a powerful role in the development of our kids. This is also why I volunteer for the Children’s Media Foundation and spend a lot of my free time going into Parliament. I promote the need for diversity, quality and safety in all media for young people. As Baroness Floella Benjamin says, “Childhood lasts a lifetime.” That’s why I say children deserve the best media.

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Stories with action about

Girls that can fly,

Ostriches, bunnies and apes.

War stories, more stories,

Comedy, drama and tall stories

Of doctors, detectives and grapes.

  • Show Town, The Museum of Fun and Entertainment

  • Treasure Champs, Three Arrows Media

  • Little Roy – Jam Media, CBeebies/CBBC

  • Tee and Mo – Plug-in Media, Cbeebies

  • CBeebies Radio – CBeebies

  • Bing – Acamar, CBeebies

  • Ajani’s Great Ape Adventures – Nature for Kids

  • Olive The Ostrich – Blue Zoo Productions, Nick Jnr

  • Roze and the Robots – Gravy Media/Passion Pictures

  • NOKSU – Evergreen Films/Epidem, YLE TV1

  • Bowerbird – Artemisia Films

  • Last Night – Deadline Films/Irish Film Board

  • The Deadline – Deadline Films/Metrodome

  • Fei – Peach Blossom Media/Evergreen Entertainment

  • 6.6.04 – The Film Council

  • Where The Skylarks Nest – BBC Radio 4

  • The Children’s Media Foundation

  • Working with Young People


News, views, stories and stuff

No piffle or waffle, flimflam or guff

All things considered and not off the cuff

No more of this rhyme scheme: enuff is enuff!

  • JUDY ON THE BEACH

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

    Kids hankering for the seaside? I expect a lot of us are. But can you remember the first time you ever saw the sea? Imagine what it was like a hundred or so years ago when going to the beach was not just a thing, it was a really big thing- new, exciting, I mean NEW.

    Those lovely people at Showtown, the brilliant brand new museum about Blackpool (you do realise it is the most influential holiday resort ever, don’t you) are giving a whole gallery over to celebrate Blackpool’s seven miles of golden sand. I know, I can’t wait either. Which is why they are posting fun activities, snippets and stuff on social media (links below) to give you a taste of the fun things to come.

    Judy on The Beach, a 15 minute story read by… me (I know!) is based on some of my favourite facts, discovered while I’ve been working with them. Haven’t I told you about that? Were you wondering where I’ve been? It’s fantastic, it’s ace, such a brilliant project – I’ll tell you all about it… another time. Back to the Beach- one hundred or so years ago and the train just chuffing into Blackpool Central.

    You can watch Judy on the Beach on Twitter,Facebook , YouTube,Instagram – choose whichever is your favourite and I’ll see you there. Or rather you’ll see me. And discover the delights of The Penny Lick.

  • DIGITALES FOR CBEEBIES RADIO

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Health, Children's Media Campaign, Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Education, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Parenting, Politics, The Children's Media Foundation, Uncategorized, Writing for Children

    Well everyone was banging on

    about the Internet – the dangers, the disasters.  I know – I’ve been involved in the campaigns to improve online safety and privacy, leading up to the Digital Economy Act 2017 and beyond.  And one of the things I’ve learned is that while politicians and vested interests move at glacial speed to make the digital world a safer place, our kids are growing up fast.  So I was chuffed to bits when that brilliant BBC producer John Leagas gave me the opportunity to help children learn a few survival techniques.

    Five stories to download on

    CBeebies Radio

    And just so you don’t miss one, here they are individually-

    Nan’s Gap Year

    The Digital Dog

    When Uncle Hansel Got Lost

    The Mystery At The Window

    The Cat and the App

    Don’t worry, they’re not worthy, preachy or teachy – this is me writing them!  Waggy dogs and lazy uncles… Globe-trotting grannies… And a cat who knows where it’s app.   Have a listen and enjoy exploring the online world with your little ones in these

    …digital… digi-tall… digi-tales…

  • MY TASTY CHUNKS OF BBC BITESIZE HAVE GONE LIVE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

    https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/topics/zkrkscw

    BBC Bitesize, Key Stage 1 History – Monarchs and Leaders is now available online. Commissioned by Fettle Animation, my brief was to write the potted BUT HIGHLY ACCURATE biographies of various historical figures AND MAKE THEM FUN. The characters chosen ranged from these monarchs and leaders to famous scientists, campaigners, and others that kids get to learn about at Key Stage 1.

    Sharing writing duties with Rick Goodwin and produced by Kath Shackleton, high points of this project were learning about Mary Seacole, whom I only previously knew from a mural on the side of a Reading building many years ago; and that Stephen Hawking was a prankster. Oh, and knowing more about the English Reformation than an executive producer. Low points were knowing more about the English Reformation than an executive producer.

    Oh how I laughed.

I am represented by Julian Friedmann -
Blake Friedmann Literary Agency Ltd,
First Floor, Selous House,
5-12 Mandela Street,
London
NW1 0DU
+44 20 7387 842
Julian@blakefriedmann.co.uk

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