Doctor Who star Sacha Dhawan has encouraged TV viewers young and old to embrace mindfulness as he takes on the role of narrator for new Sky Kids series Dreamflight.
Dhawan is one of a series of narrators featured on the series, which also includes the vocal talents of Anna Friel, Sophie Okonedo and David Harewood. Designed to be watched by the whole family, Dreamflight combines breathtaking visuals of wildlife from across the globe with a voiceover designed to help adults and children relax together at the end of a hectic day.
Describing the series as “extremely accessible”, Dhawan told RadioTimes.com that he wishes a series like Dreamflight had been on offer when he was younger, stressing the importance of conversations around mental health and mindfulness.
“For so many years I neglected mindfulness and mental health and that was probably because there weren’t many resources available, people didn’t really talk about it,” the actor suggested. “When I was a kid, we weren’t really taught about it, or even asked to speak about it, so why would you then want to talk about it? If you are suffering from certain anxieties, it’s good to talk, but you weren’t really encouraged to.
“I think now what’s so brilliant is a lot of people are seeing the importance of it, and the long term benefits of managing it, and celebrating it in a way, and actually once you start doing that you realise that we’re all going through similar things.
“It’s so important right now, especially from an early age, that children are taught about mental health and mindfulness to reduce some of the stigmas that are attached to it.”
Dhawan has spoken previously about his own struggles with mental health, citing the recent lockdown as an important opportunity to take a break after a particularly busy period in his acting career saw him again neglect self-care. “I just didn’t take a break,” he explained. “I went on to Doctor Who and then other projects and actually lockdown has been very difficult [but] in some ways I’m kind of like… it was the break that we all needed.
“I think putting in that foundation [of mental health awareness] from an early age is so important and in hindsight if I’d maybe started a bit sooner I would’ve managed things a bit better. I think it’s very easy to just be on the rat race all the time.”
Dreamflight launched on Sky Kids on Monday (7th September), at a time when many people might be returning to the office and children are returning to schools. “Right now there’s so many changes and there’s also a lot of uncertainty, so there’s never been a more important time to look after not just children’s health but the whole family’s mental health as well,” Dhawan said.
“It feels like things are starting to get busier and new daily routines are being established – it’s an important transition period so we need to look after ourselves a bit. Dreamflight is a brilliant way to just pause, take a moment to unwind and add a little reassurance and calm into our lives.”
The series was one of Dhawan’s first project taken on post-lockdown, which meant that he was able to record his narration in a recording studio while adhering to social distancing guidelines – a first after months of recording voiceovers at home and utilising a unusual form of soundproofing…
“I’ve had to apologise on Zoom calls because as soon as the video comes on, people see me with a duvet around my head,” he laughed. “I’ve had to say, ‘I’ve not been like this during the whole of lockdown!’.”