Country of origin
First episode date
9 February 2015
Number of episodes
Number of series
Micky MacPhersonSimon Parsons
Head Writer Polly Churchill
Rasmus BorowskiAlexius Tschallener
Children's television series
Katie Morag (TV series), Swashbuckle (TV series), The Octonauts
Teacup Travels is a British children’s drama TV series. The show was created and produced by Plum Films for BBC children's channel CBeebies with support from Creative Scotland.
- Teacup Travels
- Key cast
- Series one
- Series Two
- Museum involvement
- Distribution Non UK
- Award Nominations
The concept of the series is historical fiction for young children, incorporating genuine historical artefacts into dramatic adventure stories. At the time of filming, all the artefacts featured in the show were held in museum collections around the UK.
Great Aunt Lizzie tells wonderful tales of adventure to entertain her young visitors, Charlotte, Lokesh and Elliot. When either one arrives at the house she offers them a cup of tea, but first they have to choose a teacup from her vast collection which she keeps in an enormous dresser in the kitchen. Each cup is unique and illustrated with one of the museum artefacts. As their Great Aunt begins to tell its story, the young guest begins to imagine being there as the tale unfolds.
Kay Benbow, Director of Children’s Television, said, “This is a first for CBeebies to bring ancient history and archaeology to our young audience. The series combines story telling with high adventure in a way that will inspire and encourage children to want to learn more about life in ancient times. I think children will love going on the adventures with Charlotte [and Elliot] to discover more about what life was like thousands of years ago.”
Series one sees Charlotte and her brother Elliot having epic adventures in Ancient Rome, Imperial China, Ancient Egypt and the pre-medieval Celtic lands, spanning a period from 2500 BCE to 1850 CE. First transmitted on BBC children's channel CBeebies on 9 February 2015, the 25 x 15 minute episodes are regularly repeated on CBeebies and featured on BBC iPlayer.
Charlotte returns for the second series, and introduces the viewers to her cousin Lokesh. Their adventures take them to the fascinating words of Edo Japan, Ancient Greece, the Mayan Empire, and the Viking Lands. Series two was initially split with 10 new episodes premiering from 28 November 2016, and the 10 episodes transmitting from 2 January 2017. Since going on air, the series has already enjoyed a number of repeats.
Micky MacPherson, Simon Parsons and Tony Bibby have backgrounds in TV commercial production, advertising, and children’s TV. Producers, MacPherson and Parsons developed the format for the series, drawing inspiration from Bibby's real aunt whom he used to visit in Liverpool as a child,. The producers added the extra dimension of enchanting storytelling wrapped around a genuine historical artefact, with Plum Film's Production Executive Tina Foster, and Development Consultant Becky Lloyd both attached to the project from early development to series production. Series one and two are directed by Simon Hynd, with Morag McKinnon directing the Mayan episodes in series two. Digital Production Designer John Gosler, directed and hand painted the unique background artwork, with children's television writer Polly Churchill taking the role of Head Writer for both series, overseeing all 45 episodes.
A key element of the show is its involvement with museums across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. Plum Films consulted museums at key stages of production to ensure that the real artefacts that inspired Great Aunt Lizzie's stories reflected its core truths. Where possible, Plum Films representatives visited the museum to capture the dimensions and likeness of the object to be featured in the show. This aided the prop makers to replicate the prop, which would then be presented to each associated museum's curator for notes and approval. Similarly, script outlines were shared with each associated museum to give the all clear that the episode represented a satisfactory representation of their piece.
The TV show is a combination of full live action for the prologue and epilogue scenes in Great Aunt Lizzie’s house, and live action filmed against green screen then composited with colour saturated 2½d illustrated backgrounds for the story world.
Filmed entirely in Scotland, the sets were created in Loretto School, Musselburgh, while outdoor scenes featuring Great Aunt Lizzie's iconic cottage were filmed at the Head Gardener’s Cottage in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.
Distribution (Non UK)
The first series of Teacup Travels was shown in Australia on ABC Kids in the summer of 2016. The show has reached Number 1 in the ratings and continues to be repeated on the channel.
The soundtrack for series one and two was composed by Rasmus Borowski and Alexius Tschallener. The score was recorded live in Prague, Czech Republic, with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Nic Raine conducting.
A stepping-up programme was created in partnership with Creative Skillset especially for Series Two with the aim of giving two emerging production talents - Catrina Rose and Gabriel Costa - an opportunity to work across the entire production process from early stages through to delivery. Plum Films’ Training through Production Scheme was funded by Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Fund with the aim of up-skilling talent to ensure a strong, skilled creative workforce.
In its debut week of 9 February 2015, the show placed three times in the top 10 viewed shows on CBeebies, peaking at 561,000 viewers.
The first series of Teacup Travels has received various nominations, both in the UK and abroad