Channel 5 Milkshake! Is aiming to inspire young UK audiences this spring break (and beyond) to embrace a healthier lifestyle, with two new shows and fresh short-form digital content from local webtoon icon Weebl. The fresh on-air fare will run weekday mornings starting Monday, April 2.
“With nearly one in ten children already obese by age 5, steps to encourage a healthier relationship with food in the preschool years are urgently needed,” said Dr. Frankie Phillips of The British Dietetic Association. “Helping children learn about food and simple cooking could be one key step in encouraging awareness about ingredients and confidence in preparing a wide range of healthy foods. “
Supported by the British Dietetic Association Shane the Chef (52 x 11’) is an animated preschool series produced by Hoho Entertainment and Cloth Cat Animation. Created by Andrew Wildman and Simon Jowett, the show features the voice of Russell Tovey (Being Human) as chef and single dad Shane who goes on tasty adventures with his young daughter, Izzy (newcomer Harriet Lamb). The colorful characters they encounter include JG, an inventor of weird and wonderful gadgets and Shane’s best friend (Cold Feet’s John Thomson); Maggie, an organic farmer and market stall holder for whom Shane holds a secret crush (comedian-impressionist Jess Robinson); Mama Polenta, the flamboyant Italian who runs the local deli (also Robinson); and Sam Spratt, seafaring skipper of The Happy Mackerel who supplies Shane with fresh fish and seafood delights (Marc Silk, Danger Mouse).
“Shane the Chef is a celebration of food, where it comes from and what you can do with it in the kitchen,” commented Tovey. “Getting children to understand healthy eating at an early age is so important. There is definitely a gap in the market for a preschool animation series that addresses this.”
Oliver Ellis, Joint MD of Hoho Ent., added: “We are delighted to have such a distinguished voice cast on board to bring our characters to life. Russell’s cheeky, cheerful performance is perfect for Shane. We love the fact that he is such a passionate advocate and really got behind the show’s healthy eating aims.”
Shane aims to enthuse young children and their carers with a love of fresh, healthy food and cooking, and is the first ever animated UK commission focused on healthy eating for kids. And this toon is arriving in the nick of time… a recent study from the British Nutrition Foundation found that 23% of 5-7 year olds think that bananas, roast chicken, broccoli and wholegrain bread belong in the “dairy and alternatives” food group — 18% of 5-7 year olds also think that fish fingers are made of chicken.
Running alongside will be Milkshake! Monkey Bananas About Food (10 x 5’) which will follow the channel’s beloved puppet primate and presenter Kemi Majeks as they explore where the nation’s food comes from. With Milkshake! Monkey, children will journey from field and farm to classroom and family tea time and see how yummy ingredients can be used to create fun culinary creations.
Preschoolers and their families can dig in to more from the world of Shane and Milkshake! Monkey with a range of activities on digital platforms, including age-appropriate tips on preparing food and how to cook recipes from the shows. Internet animation sensation Weebl has been commissioned to create 45-second music videos on healthy food items tied to Bananas About Food, such as eggs (appropriately), which will run on the Milkshake! website and YouTube channels.