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.

  • 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

  • Brown and Sticky Productions


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!

  • MY STORY ABOUT #ASTHMA IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON #CBEEBIESRADIO

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Health, Children's Poetry, Education, Paddlesport, Parenting, Writing for Children

    Sporty Imogen refuses to let her asthma get in the way of her having fun in this story.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio/imogen-takes-the-plunge

    This story draws on some of my experiences teaching kayaking to school children.   There always seemed to be at least one child with an inhaler in the class and if they were not reticent about trying something that might make them out of breath and/or falling in the river, their teachers often were.

    In this story, I wanted to show that, as long as the right precautions are taken, there is no reason why a child with asthma can’t do fun stuff or go on to make their dreams come true.  I was greatly inspired by stories of Olympic athletes like Rebecca Adlington OBE and hope that children listening to this story will be too and will go on to do amazing things.

    Oh and thanks to the great people at my local sports centre #Dursleypool for explaining why we should shower before rather than after swimming and why widdling in the pool is such a really bad idea…

     

     

  • MY #CBEEBIESRADIO STORY ABOUT #ALLERGIES TAKES THE CAKE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Health, Children's stories, Education, Parenting

    #DrRanj reads my story Jamil’s Food Challenge and shares top tips on what to do if you or someone you know has a #foodallergy https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio/jamils-food-challenge

    It’s not much fun not being able to share the same food as your friends and it’s not much fun having to spend your birthday in the hospital allergy clinic.  But when the usual allergy tests suggest his body can now cope with eggs, Jamil has to decide whether to stay safe and only eat the food he already trusts or, with the help of his specialist nurse, expand his diet.  Knowing how poorly eggs have made him in the past, it is a scary notion and Jamil has to be very brave.  But maybe, just maybe, this year he won’t have to blow out the candles on a pretend birthday cake made of cardboard but will be able to have his first ever ‘proper’ birthday cake, and share it with all his friends!

    Having known children with very restrictive diets, I have been in awe of their patience and resilience.   From a distance, it can be easy to condemn them as ‘picky’ and to think they’re just being difficult.  But often these children are incredibly brave, having to guard themselves against things the rest of us take for granted.

    My thanks to #CBeebiesRadio for helping with the child testimonies and medical research.  In the spirit of good public service broadcasting, I was happy to  undertake the necessary research into birthday cakes and bouncy castles.

     

     

  • NEW #CBEEBIESRADIO SERIES ABOUT #ALLERGIES : IT’S EYEWATERINGLY GOOD!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Health, Children's stories, Education, Parenting, Screenwriting, Writing for Children

    I’m so glad to have written the stories for this fantastic series helping kids across the UK who have allergies, while making others aware of how they can help.   https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio

    Starting from 10th Jan with a new show every Wednesday until 7th February , this cracking series about allergies is not to be sniffed at.

    I’ll stop right there with the puns because allergies are only funny until you have one yourself.  Then it can be tiresome, disruptive, frightening, especially when you’re not yet even six.  To be the odd one out, with special food, special gloves, special medicine, when you’re feeling poorly, doesn’t feel very special at all.

    This series of five audio downloads explores different chronic conditions that some children may suffer: asthma, allergies to pet dander, nuts, dairy, pollen… what’s it like to suddenly react badly to something?  What’s it like when it happens to your friend? What’s it like to have to guard what you eat or drink or touch?   What’s it like to not be able to eat your own birthday cake?

    When you put it like that, it’s all a bit grim.

    So I didn’t put it like that.

    After all, these stories are for CBeebies and CBeebies is never grim.  So expect fun stories with nutty detectives, cub scouts, tennis aces, guinea pigs and pigeons, all read beautifully by the wonderfully reassuring Dr Ranj.

    Of course the stories answer all of those questions above: I based them on patient testimony and the expertise of a specialist nurse.  You can hear some of the children talking about their conditions in each episode as well.  My lovely producers were pleased with the result. I hope that you and your little ones will be too.

     

For screenwriting please contact 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

For books please contact Chloe Seager -
Northbank Talent Management,
Cameo House,
11 Bear Street,
London
WC2 7AS
+44 (0)20 7766 5220
info@northbanktalent.com
www.northbanktalent.com
@northbanktalent.com

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