What to watch: CBeebies’ first cartoon about a black British family

JoJo & Gran Gran is an animated series about a little girl and her grandmother


CBEEBIES’ LAUNCH of its first ever animation based on the lives of a black British family, JoJo & Gran Gran, is long overdue but it’s also an ideal watch at a time when many grandchildren will spending time away from their grandparents as part of efforts to keep them safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

JoJo & Gran Gran is an animated series about an almost five-year-old girl and her fun and wise grandmother.

They live close by to one another in a bustling London neighbourhood and Gran Gran, voiced by Cathy Tyson, always has something planned to do when JoJo, voiced by Taiya Samuel, comes to visit.

Throughout the series, the stories are inspired by the passing of time, covering topics such as life cycles, the passing of the seasons, growth or the sequencing involved in activities like baking a cake or catching a bus.

Island culture

JoJo adores her grandma and the time they spend together. Gran Gran is very proud of her Saint Lucian heritage and is always happy when she has an opportunity to teach JoJo about the island’s culture.

In one episode, JoJo draws a picture to show to her great grandma over video call but just as she’s about to show her a picture, the internet goes down! Gran Gran suggests they post JoJo’s picture to Great Gran Gran in Saint Lucia and it’s through this JoJo learns why a letter takes such a long time to travel halfway across the world.

In another episode, JoJo searches for a butterfly to complete her nature tick book. She learns that all butterflies start life as furry little caterpillars – a pretty apt analogy to remind us about the benefits of change.

Within each animated episode, there is a live action moment which features children talking about the themes covered.

JoJo & Gran Gran is based on characters created by Laura Henry-Allain, the look of the series was defined by award-winning illustrator Leo Espinosa.

If you and your little ones can’t get enough of the show, there are a selection of interactive games on the CBeebies website so you can continue the JoJo & Gran Gran fun.

JoJo & Gran Gran is next showing at 5.30pm today on CBeebies. You can catch up on all the episodes via BBC iPlayer.

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