Producer's TV dream comes to life
Belinda Simpson's idea for an interactive children's television show was repeatedly turned down due to the high cost and lack of technology.
She finally won funding from New Zealand on Air 18 months ago, and now the first episode of Poppet Stars will screen on March 15.
It is a series of animated music videos that kids can watch on television then head online to upload their own photo and star in the video.
"As far as I know there's no other country that has an interactive TV show like this. You can enjoy them for a lot longer than the five minutes they're on TV," Ms Simpson says.
The Poppet Stars videos follow the Ministry of Education's early childhood curriculum and some of the 25 episodes will have a Maori version.
"For me as a parent you always want to know if you're putting your child in front of the TV, you prefer it to be educational and good for them," Ms Simpson says.
The Beach Haven mum has a 20-year career in television behind her, working on programmes such as Downsize Me, Intrepid Journeys and X Factor.
But her true passion lies with children's television.
As a teenager Ms Simpson would rush home from school to watch television shows for little kids and daydream about working at the TVNZ building when she passed it on the bus.
Ms Simpson says she is really excited for Poppet Stars to start its new life out in the public.
"Hopefully parents and kids have as much fun watching it and interacting with it as we've had making it."
The first episode of Poppet Stars screens at 6.05am on TV2 on March 15.
Go to tvnz.co.nz/poppetstars to upload a photo and star in a music video.
North Shore Times