Lifting the Wool from Children's Eyes with an Engaging Flock of Sheep-Shape Characters
Byline: By GARETH MORGAN Western Mail
A family of all-singing, all-dancing multi-racial sheep are aiming to be the latest educational TV fix for pre-school children. Meees, known as Baaas in English, is produced by Cardiff TV company Cynhyrchiadau Ceidiog Creations and revolves around the lives of an extended family of sheep who live high on a Welsh hillside.
Shot with actors dressed in full sheep suits, the series uses the latest in animatronics to manipulate facial expressions and bring characters to life.
It aims to be fun - but with a serious goal in boosting children's early-years education.
The series aims to introduce young children to family values, citizenship, teamwork and communications and stresses the importance of ecological issues such as recycling.
It will also give youngsters a taste of a wide range of musical styles, from opera to rap.
First shown on S4C's daily pre-school slot, Planed Plant Bach, on Monday, children are being introduced to characters like Costaaas, an opera-singing Greek grandad who works as an independent recycling agent and transforms unwanted items into weird and wonderful gadgets.
The series is the brainchild of producer Nia Ceidiog, who says she hopes that teachers and parents will be able to sit down with children and capitalise on the messages in the colourful story-lines.
'We like to talk about learning through play these days and that is what Meees is about,' she said.
'The programme is certainly entertaining but there is a message behind it. We touch on lots of points in the Assembly's Foundation Phase education strategy.
'For example, they are a very musical family, so we have sheep rapping.
'And it is also about how we all get along with each other, as a family, solving problems, relating to one another.
'It is personal-social development. And the sheep are all mixed race too. I find family dynamics fascinating and wanted that in the show, because I think too many children aren't in very communicative families.
'The Meees bicker, but they also bond.'
She thinks that teachers will find a lot of talking points in the show, while having a chuckle at the characters themselves.
It is certainly an interesting social group to explore.
As well as Costaaas we have his wife, Baaalwen, a Welsh black sheep, who live with their daughter Meeegan, her partner Meeel-fyn and twins Jaaason and Meeedea.
Costas has also built a DIY satellite device which enables the family to communicate with relatives across the world. …