Big Schools Day at Alexandra Palace with BAFTA Kids

BAFTA Kids’ biggest ever event returned to Alexandra Palace for the second time this summer on 26 June, sharing with 1,000 children the history of children’s television, the centenary of female suffrage and the creation of their favourite children’s shows. There was also the addition of a little bit of Paddington-inspired calypso music and dance for good measure...

The full day of fun-packed activities was hosted by Lindsey Russell (Blue Peter), Ed Petrie (All Over the Place) and Naomi Wilkinson (Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature) plus a selection of industry professionals and BAFTA-winning talent sharing their knowledge and artistry. The huge crowd of Years 5, 6 and 7 school children enjoyed a magical day of fun and learning with special masterclasses, music, stunts, live discussions and competitions to explore the world of children’s media.

Ed Petrie, Naomi Wilkinson and Lindsey Russell (pictured left to right) spent the morning telling the children about the history of Alexandra Palace and its role in broadcasting the first public television transmissions (from 1936 to 1956). There was also a special celebration of Blue Peter in honour of the show’s 60th anniversary, led by Russell.

To celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage this year, the three also discussed the important contributions made by women to the industry.

Super silky skills were on show as the team from CBBC’s fantastic football drama Jamie Johnson set the young crowd a football skills challenge to tie in with the FIFA World Cup 2018. The show’s executive producer, Sam Talbot, as well as cast members Jermaine Johnson (who plays Wozza) and Patrick Ward (Dillon) were on hand to chat about the show, offer some inspirational advice and judge the competition. 

The winner of the challenge was Aleksander from Alexandra Primary – pictured in the middle and flanked by, from left to right, Lindsey Russell, Johnson, Ward, Ed Petrie and Naomi Wilkinson. 

Other activities during the day included designing a new poster for a Paddington film, after listening to insightful talks from the film’s producer Alexandra Ferguson-Derbyshire, who discussed the making of the films, and production designer, Gary Williamson, who explained what a production designer does on a film or series.

Music is always a wonderful way to engage with children and so to demonstrate the importance of music in children’s media, the band featured in Paddington, Tobago d’Lime, entertained the crowd with a few toe-tapping hits.

There was a real carnival atmosphere in the hall as host Naomi Wilkinson led the children in a dance routine to ‘Shake Shake Shake Senora’. She was joined on stage by students from Hornsey School for Girls, but the whole crowd couldn’t help but shake it up.

The whole event was a resounding success, not only entertaining the young crowd but also giving them a greater appreciation of what goes into making the great films, games and television shows they love so much. This specially curated event, just one of many we host throughout the year under the banner of BAFTA Kids, provides an entertaining introduction to the world of the moving image. It certainly received the thumbs up from these happy students at the end of the Big Schools Day. 

Images by Alexandra Palace/Simon Leigh, Alexandra Palace/Lloyd Winters and BAFTA/Lisa Prime