The first children’s TV series to feature a cast comprised only of people with autism is returning for a second series today.
Pablo, which first aired in 2017, is an animated show focused on the adventures of a five-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder. The series will return to the British children’s channel CBeebies and Irish free-to-air channel RTÉjr today.
The TV show has been recognised as supporting the communication of parents and children, to help develop their understanding of autism. The second series will consist of 52 episodes, following Pablo as he experiences different sights, smells, surprises and feelings. It is designed to show how those with autism spectrum disorder see the world around them.
The Pablo brand is set to expand over the coming months, with a four-book publishing deal from Penguin, a UK-wide theatre production in partnership with award-winning company Selladoor and a music album in the works.
Along with the show’s main star Pablo, other characters have been created to improve people’s understanding of autism. One character called Llama, voiced by 19-year-old Rosie King, highlights the condition echolalia, which is when someone repeats the sounds made by another person. The character Tang, voiced by Michael White (19), reveals the difficulties those with autism often experience in recognising social cues.
Grainne McGuinness, creator of Pablo, said: ‘We couldn’t be prouder of the real-world impact our show has made and the Pablo team, both talent and production, has been working incredibly hard over the last two years to create a follow-up series that is as universally entertaining and meaningful as the last.
‘Now that we are at the periphery of the Pablo brand becoming much more than a TV show and an entire kids’ franchise, it’s more important than ever that we continue to appeal to all families without losing the important mission at our very core. We want our show to be fun and charming so all kids fall in love with our hero, Pablo, and feel inspired by his incredible adventures, whilst encouraging the audience to appreciate the perspective of those who think differently and see the world in different ways.’
Jake Williamson (13), who voices Pablo, commented: ‘It’s been so good to work on the show as I’ve met the other cast members who are older than me but wrote stories about the same experiences as I had when I was little. And now these stories will help the little ones today to be understood. I really hope that schools use the episodes to understand autistic children.’
Sarah Legg Barratt, Producer for CBeebies Animation and Acquisition, added: ‘Pablo does an important job of authentically representing and fostering an awareness of neurodiversity for both the youngest audiences and their parents and caregivers. Series 2 features brand new stories that are full of warmth, humour, heart and originality, and we cannot wait to share them on CBeebies very soon.’
Pablo, which is produced by Paper Owl Films, will air every day on CBeebies at 2.35pm in the afternoon.