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.

image

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.

  • 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 EPISODE OF LITTLE ROY IS ON I-PLAYER AND IT’S GRAND!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Children's stories, Children's TV, Parenting, Screenwriting, Uncategorized

    Oh this was fun to write! Have you seen Roy on CBBC? The cartoon boy in a real world. Well this is the prequel – Roy is five years old instead of ten. So it’s less about fitting in and more about finding out. He is a great character and the show is a lovely crossover from preschool to big kid content and I was very pleased to be involved.

    This episode, Dr Roy, which involves bandages, biscuits and a ‘ba-doom ba-doom’ big hearted little boy, was broadcast a week or so back on CBeebies and of course I missed it. But hooray for catch up telly! If you would like to watch it, then here’s the web address: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08ffx89/little-roy-18-doctor-roy

  • IN THE SAME ROOM AS GRAYSON PERRY AND CLARE BALDING!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Children's stories, Children's TV, Music, Parenting, Screenwriting

    And having too good a time to tweet about it.

    This was on Wednesday, at the Broadcast Awards at Grosvenor House. I hope they had as good a time as me, although as nominees (or rather part of shows that had been nominated), they might not have been as relaxed as me, a judge, could be. I had done my bit watching and reviewing the programmes submitted for the Children’s 6-12 and 0-6 categories, then discussing with my fellow judges before voting. All I had to do now was enjoy the champagne and glitz.

    There was quite a lot of glitz: dinner included some Sweet Pea Emulsion which I have only seen before on a Dulux colour chart, the bits of stem broccoli that usually fall through my colander, turnips the size of snowdrop bulbs and for pudding we had a dessert. That involved yuzo: Alison Moyet, what a great voice.

    Jonathan Ross presided over the award ceremony which, despite him, seemed endless – about lots of programmes that I haven’t watched or did watch but have forgotten. But there was plenty of wine on the table and ooh, a bit of slate with some rather lovely petits fours that I was probably meant to pass round the table.

    The older kids’ award went to My Life: The Boy on the Bicycle, a CBBC documentary (directed by Stefania Buonajuti) following a lad round one of the largest refugee camps in the world. If you are one of those people that talks about ‘these people’ then you need to see this.

    The preschool award went to Topsy and Tim. An outstanding episode in an already excellent series. Written by Dave Ingham, the episode is about a pet dog dying. It is handled with such care, wit and honesty that it made me cry. I was genuinely moved by the story. I also cried because I still haven’t worked with producers Darrall Macqueen.

    I didn’t stay until ‘Carriages at Three’ but left sensibly early, determined to get a good night’s sleep so that, with a new day, inspired by these great shows, I could work harder and write better. And find out when yuzu left the music industry and moved into citrus fruit based desserts.

  • 2017 WAES HAEL!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

    The longer you put something off, the harder it is to do it, right?  That’s how I felt in September when I saw that my last bit of news here was in July.  I felt it again in November, even though by then I had had a book published, achieved my next canoeing qualification, got a new commission, successfully lobbied Government and I had much to tell.  Then December came.

    “I’ll send a Festive Newsletter!” I cried.  But Christmas was just too merry to think about newsletters.

    “I’ll send a New Year Newsletter!” I sang.  But New Year was just too happy to think about newsletters.

    Now it is January and for the life of me I can’t remember what happened last year.  “Oh well done, Jayne.”

    And I’m not likely to remember because where I live, it is now the Wassailing Season.  Yes it can involve marching round orchards, sticking bits of toast in the trees but more than that, it’s about wishing your neighbours and friends good health for the coming year, “Waes Hael”, and sharing cakes and ale.  And singing.  And dancing.  And, did I mention the cakes and ale?  That has nothing to do with me forgetting whatever it was that happened in the latter half of 2016, nothing at all.   It’s just that looking backward isn’t always the way forward.   As January strokes its double beard, I will stroke mine and look to what’s ahead of me in 2017:

    • Being part of a lovely writing team for a show that’s just been green lit for CBeebies!
    • Tracking the progress of the Digital Economy Bill through Parliament, facilitating scrutiny and debate to make the online child protection section fit for purpose.
    • Spending time with my new best imaginary friends, Lady Katherine, Lady Katherine, Hardeep, Lady Katherine’s Mum and Cake the Goat (one of them’s a dragon).
    • More poems and stories for radio broadcast.
    • Wishing my neighbours and friends both at home, abroad and online good health at regular intervals throughout the year.

    Having mentioned these, it would be unkind not to come back with more information so, by my January beard, I will endeavour to write more frequently and usefully.  But in the meantime, Waes Hael!

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 -
Diane Banks Associates Ltd,
Cameo House,
11 Bear Street,
London
WC2 7AS
+44 20 7766 5290
chloe@dianebanks.co.uk

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