Something Special is a children's television programme presented by Justin Fletcher. It was created and produced for 10 years by Allan Johnston. It is broadcast by the BBC. It is designed to introduce children to Makaton signing, and is specifically aimed at children with delayed learning and communication difficulties. It is aired on the CBeebies channel and in the past was also broadcast as part of the CBeebies programme strand on BBC One and BBC Two.
The name of the programme derives from the idea that all children, irrespective of their position on the learning spectrum, are special.
Their format of the show has evolved considerably since the original series. In 2012, a new series, "Something Special - We're All Friends" started, introducing some minor changes to the "Out and About" format. This format change has also included a change in location, and introduced the Tumble Tap, a personalised iPad showing the "special things" to look for.
It is presented by Justin Fletcher ("Justin") and features various other characters (also played by Fletcher) and clips of children with disabilities. Justin speaks as well as signing, and a spoken narrative is provided over the clips of children.
The other characters played by Fletcher are the Tumble Family: Mr Tumble, an adult who himself displays delayed learning and communication difficulties, Grandad Tumble and Baby Tumble. Other members of the Tumble family to have made appearances include two Aunts - Polly and Suki (as in the popular nursery rhyme "Polly Put the Kettle On"), Lord Tumble and King Tumble.
In series 2, Justin meets a friend named Guy H Pickle, they dance around a mulberry bush.
The creator and producer is Allan Johnston, who worked as a teacher of children with special needs before joining the BBC in 1989.Series 1 (2003-2006) and 2 (2007)
Each episode has a duration of approximately 15 minutes.
Series 3 "Out and About" (2008)
Series 3, again presented by Justin Fletcher, was produced in 2008. 'Guests' included Mr Tumble, Granddad Tumble, Aunt Polly, Aunt Sukey and Cliff Tumble (a parody of Cliff Richard, with whom Justin has a link through his father Guy Fletcher). This series was made at various locations across the UK, including Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Each episode has a duration of approximately 20 minutes.
Mr Tumble shorts (2009)
From 2009, CBeebies occasionally showed short programmes consisting of the Mr Tumble
sections from the various episodes, without the sections featuring Justin. It appears that the BBC may view these programmes as series 4 of Something Special, as the full series which followed is referred to as series 5.
Series 5, 6 and 7 Out and About (2010-2012)
Series 5 of the show followed the Out and About
format of series 3, in a "new, daily, week-day, year-round slot designed to provide continuity for its loyal audience" and introduced a new character, Lord Tumble. The series has Mr Tumble and the other Tumble characters primarily based in "Tumble House", a large detached house located in extensive grounds close to the sea. Justin Fletcher revealed this to be located in Porlock, Somerset. The house and grounds are populated with large coloured spots, balloons and similar circular/spherical items in keeping with the spots on Mr Tumble's costume. The episodes typically feature Mr Tumble sending photographs of items he is interested in finding out about to Justin using his "Spotty Bag". Justin, with the assistance of the children with him, locates these items or activities and in return sends associated items back to Mr Tumble. There is typically a link in the theme between the actions of Mr Tumble and the other Tumble characters, and the activities Justin and the children participate in.
Series 8 (Something Special - We're all friends) (2012-2013)
In 2012, a new series, "Something Special - We're All Friends" started, introducing some minor changes to the Out and About format. This format change has also included a change in location, and introduced the "Tumble Tap", a tablet computer and game (the game is available on the Cbeebies website.
The Tale of Mr Tumble (2015)
In July 2015, a theatrical production starring Justin Fletcher as Mr Tumble and Ronni Ancona as The Unsmiling Principle featuring Mr Tumble was performed, which sees the Mr Tumble character as a baby and as a young boy, and follows him throughout his early life.
Series 9 - 10 (Something Special - We're All Friends) (2014 - 2016)
Royal Television Society Educational Television Awards 2004
Awarded Best Early Years Programme
(for the episode Garden
BAFTA Children's Awards 2005
Awarded Best Pre-school Live Action Series
BAFTA Children's Awards 2007
Nominated for Best Presenter
BAFTA Children's Awards 2008
Awarded Best Presenter
'Something Special - Favourite Things' comprising the episodes Toys, Music, Colours, Food and What I Like (BBC Active, 2005, ISBN 0-563-51646-1)
'Something Special - Pets and Other Animals' comprising the episodes Pets, A Farm, Gardens, Under the Sea and Jungle Animals (BBC Active, 2006, ISBN 978-0-563-51647-7)
'Something Special - Where I Live' comprising the episodes Where I Live, All About Me, Food, Moving and Family (BBC Active, 2006, ISBN 978-0-563-51641-5)
'Something Special - Hello Mr Tumble' (also titled 'Something Special - Out and About - Hello Mr Tumble) comprising the episodes Airport, Garden Centre, By the Sea, Hospital, Houseboat, Bike Ride and Drive (BBC Worldwide, 2011)
'Something Special - Bumper Boxset' (BBC, 2 Entertain, 2013, ASIN B00EQ30D4A)