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BBC kids nets joint-order Arabian Nights series

Preschool channel CBeebies and older-skewed BBC sister CBBC have jointly-commissioned a contemporary re-imaginging of the Arabian Nights story for the UK.

Kay BenbowJamillah & Aladdin will be a 52x14mins coproduction of British indie Kindle Entertainment, Canada’s Mediamax and India’s Toonz Entertainment.

Mediamax’s parent, finance and production group Mediabiz, is co-financing the show with the BBC channels.

Toonz-owned Imira Entertainment, which is based in Spain, has taken distribution rights to the live-action show.

CBeebies controller Kay Benbow (pictured) and CBBC boss Cheryl Taylor took the unusual step to co-commission the show. Michael Towner and Sue Nott will executive produce for CBeebies and CBBC, respectively, with Kindle’s Anne Brogan also exec producing.

Emma Stuart is producer, with Rebecca Rycroft lead director and head writer Katy Waugh.

Aimed at a young audience that spans both channels, the live-action show will follow a 21st century London girl that stumbles on a lamp that transports her to ancient Baghdad, where she meets a street-smart Aladdin. Accompanied by a genie, she has adventures with various characters from the city.

Shooting has begin in South Africa’s Western Cape.

“I am certain that children of all ages will be drawn to our two colourful protagonists,” said CBBC’s Taylor. “Jamillah is a modern girl who embraces each new adventure with intelligence and determination and Aladdin imbues each tale with customary mischief and charm.”

“We are proud to participate in a production that brings together talented individuals from four different continents for whom this universal tale resonates,” said Mediabiz CEO and president Karine Martin.