Storyteller Laura Henry-Allain MBE, the creator of the lovable CBeebies characters JoJo and Gran Gran, has just won funding to develop a new show called Daddio & Co.
Pre-schoolers all over the world adore the award winning animated CBeebies TV series JoJo & Gran Gran. The series explores the special relationship between almost five-year-old JoJo and her fun and wise grandmother. Author Laura created the characters, which are based on her real-life relationship with her grandmother. Once again inspired by the people in her own life, and the need for more positive depictions of Black families, Laura has developed her new show which celebrates Black families and Black dads in particular, challenging stereotypes and showing a perspective rarely depicted in the media.
Six years in the making, Laura can now carry her project forward after securing development funding from the UK Government funded Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF), which is managed by the BFI to bring new material to audiences 18 and under.
Daddio & Co is a 2D-animated warm-hearted comedy series for a pre-school audience. It follows journalist Dad, affectionately known to his family as “Daddio” and his lively sons Louis (6) and Quincy (4) as they navigate childhood from different perspectives: Quincy is neurotypical and Louis is autistic. Mum, who is American, is also present and is a dynamic working mum who spends much of each episode at work as a barrister.
Louis and Quincy approach life as opposites but always find a way to work together; they don’t always realise how to until Daddio gives them a nudge in the right direction. As a unit, the family are artsy, musical, and sporty. The show’s viewers will at last see a strong Black male role model who breaks stereotypes and handles day-to-day problems with a coolness and calmness that Quincy and Louis always learn from.
We love this family already. Explaining how the idea of Daddio & Co developed, Laura said: “Daddio & Co, started off as small seed of an idea six years ago when I reflected on the intersectionality of how disability and Black UK families show up in the media, books and television. I looked at my own family, my son who is autistic, and especially how Black men and dads are depicted either negatively or not at all. I wanted to show the joy and love that is not often seen on TV and show Black men positively as fathers. I also wanted to examine the social model of disability within a Black family.
“The audience will love the warmth, closeness and the many comedy elements that Daddio & Co illuminates as a fun-loving family.”
One of the most refreshing aspects of the show is its approach to autism and neurodiversity. Louis often has a different approach to solving problems and the others always learn from him. For example, when Daddio loses his keys as they are about to leave the house, it is Louis who comes up with an innovative solution.
As someone who has championed for positive depictions of fatherhood; author and founder of Music, Football and Fatherhood Elliott Rae is an early champion of the upcoming children’s series.
He said: “It’s so important for positive Black dads to be shown in the mainstream media and in children’s TV. Not just so Black dads and families can see themselves represented, and benefit from all the positive benefits that brings, but also so wider society can challenge their ideas and beliefs about the role Black dads play in their families.”
Watch this space for further updates of Daddio & Co.