Big Little Fish Makes Kids & Family Play


Producer Big Little Fish launched a few years ago predominantly as an adult-facing non-scripted production company. Its CEO, Mark Procter, had in the past produced and directed multiple children’s series for CBBC, Channel 4 Learning and Discovery Family, as well as working in development at Disney Channel, which made a move into children’s programming not a far reach.

When the company had the opportunity to partner with vegan chef and influencer Omari McQueen on a brand-new series for CBBC, it “relished the freedom and fun you can only have in this genre,” says Ros Attille, who was appointed as the company’s first head of children’s and young audiences earlier this summer. Attille is the former head of preschool development at BBC Studios Kids & Family and previously developed and created hit returning titles such as JoJo & Gran GranYolanDa’s Band Jam and Grace’s Amazing Machines.

Attille describes Meet the McQueens as a “feel-good, produced reality series,” and its success led to a strategic business decision to quickly expand Big Little Fish’s activity in this space. “I’ve known Mark for many years (more than I care to mention, in fact), and when I talked to him and the senior team at Big Little Fish about how we could develop and produce new global brands for children’s and young audiences, it was a really exciting prospect.”

On what’s guiding her strategy in this role, Attille says: “While traditional terrestrial broadcasters are still the mainstay of U.K. commissioning, like most indies, I’ll be looking at a broader landscape of opportunities: multiplatform, VOD/SVOD, etc. I’m also hoping to tap into the links the company already has with some U.S. networks.” She adds, “It would be great to establish one or two brands and then work to build those as far as they can go.”

When Attille developed JoJo & Gran Gran for CBeebies, it was conceived as the story of two very individual characters within their specific community in their own unique world. “It was never a ‘representation’ of a whole community!” she says. “And that’s very much the vibe of Meet the McQueens, too. So, in that sense, I really want to bring unique and individual stories to the screen; there are still so many out there. I am keen to showcase the lived experiences of people of color in a genuine and valid way (we are still under-represented both on-screen and off-screen).”

The approach for animation and live action will be the same, Attille says, “looking for compelling stories and working with inspiring storytellers and creatives. I love working on mixed media projects, and a couple of the projects I’m currently developing are just that. But my first love has always been puppets and skins; I feel like a proper kid when I’m in their presence! Any opportunity to develop puppet-based content will be grasped.”

Her time at the BBC helped to ingrain the ethos of public service, “of delivering what children want and, most importantly, what children need; of delivering a breadth of content; of inclusivity in its most authentic form; and the basic human values of kindness, friendship and fun. But of course, I’m always striving for refreshing, innovative content. All of these things will be informing my onward journey with Big Little Fish but with a uniqueness that comes from working with this company at this point in time.”

Meet the McQueens arrived on CBBC in February 2023 and immediately became the second most-requested factual title on the CBBC iPlayer. But more importantly, Attille says, “it has captured new audiences with a broader socioeconomic diversity and communities that don’t usually come to the BBC for children’s content, and that’s a key metric in the measure of success for this brand. Omari’s recipes are also garnering large numbers on YouTube.

“Omari is a great personality and an amazingly talented young chef with a blossoming profile,” she adds. “We are exploring ideas for both Omari as an individual and with his family—so, watch this space!”