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New BBC children’s shows include football series with Alan Carr narrating

Alan Carr (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Alan Carr (Isabel Infantes/PA)

BBC has announced a slate of new children’s shows including a documentary series narrated by Alan Carr which will follow the young players and staff of Southampton FC Academy.

The broadcaster has said the new programming, which will be produced across Britain, will “reflect the lives of children in the UK”.

This comes after the broadcaster announced that CBBC will end as a linear TV channel in the next few years and is expected to move online to iPlayer.

The new documentary series, titled Football Academy, will explore the highs and lows of this season’s intake of young footballers while comedian Carr narrates the show.

Carr’s father Graham is a former professional footballer and team manager.

England international players James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond, Theo Walcott and Kyle Walker-Peters alongside the Southampton first team will take part in challenges with the academy squad across the series.

There will also be appearances from football stars Mo Salah, Micah Richards and Alan Shearer, who is a graduate of the Southampton Academy.

Also among the CBBC’s new commissions is a live-action TV movie which will follow on from the hit TV sitcom So Awkward.

The spin-off, So Awkward: Kids Camp, will see the character Lily Hampton take on a job at a children’s summer camp with the ulterior motive of getting her big break on a reality show that is being shot on the grounds.

Waterstones Children�s Book Prize
9Waterstones/P)A

A live-action TV drama adaptation of Elle McNicoll’s award-winning novel A Kind Of Spark is also among the raft of new shows.

It will tell the story of Addie, a “bright and sparky autistic girl dreaming of acceptance in a conservative community”.

An animated drama series, titled Digital Girl, has also been announced which will follow two teenage superheroes, Digital Girl and Hack Girl, who will engage in a digital battle for the future of their city, its inhabitants and their freedom.

A host of CBBC shows have also been recommissioned for further series including boarding school drama Malory Towers and Dodger, inspired by the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

Younger CBebbies viewers will also receive a new selection of shows including a mixed media series based on the popular books by Paddington creator Michael Bond which tells the story of Olga da Polga, a much-loved pet guinea pig who lives with her owners.

CBeebies has also recommissioned new series for its popular shows including Bluey, Something Special and Yakka Dee.

Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC children’s and education, said: “I am excited to see the wide range of content and high quality titles we have secured for children of all ages and their families to enjoy together over the coming months.”

The BBC previously said the decision to close the linear CBBC channel, as well as BBC Four, was part of their plans to become “digital-first”.

The news came off the back of the BBC needing to save a further £285 million in response to the Culture Secretary’s announcement in January that the licence fee will be frozen at £159 for the next two years.

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