CBeebies to translate poems into sign language

Magic Hands will introduce children to the work of a wide range of poets from Shakespeare to Michaela Morgan

Cbeebies will introduce deaf children to a wide range poetry later this year with a landmark new series featuring poems translated into British Sign Language.


Magic Hands will present both classic and modern poems to children in a way never before seen on TV.

Verse penned by poets from Shakespeare to Michaela Morgan will be featured in the series, which intends to interest youngsters in poetry by employing a mix of sign language, spoken word, music and visual animation.

The show’s four presenters, Ashley, Donna, Aimee and Simon (above), have all been profoundly deaf since birth and are all new to TV. On set, they worked with professional interpreters alongside a production team that included both hearing and deaf crew members.

Discussing the series, producer Judith Bunting said: “Translating modern and traditional poems for children into BSL on such a scale is a first. There are deaf poets and deaf theatre companies but no national television company has ever tried translating children’s poetry into BSL.

“It was a mammoth task and our artistic interpreter has done an amazing job, taking the intricacies of verse from the 19th to 21st centuries and transforming them into a terrific series of performances.”

CBeebies controller Kay Benbow added: “We are delighted to bring Magic Hands to CBeebies. The mix of sign language, music and lively animation creates spellbinding poetry that we are sure all our young viewers will enjoy.”


Magic Hands will begin airing on CBeebies in the spring.