The Limits of Imagination


I'm currently producing a series for CBeebies Radio called The Ministry of Stories, based on the fantastic story centre in Hackney, hidden behind Hoxton Street Monster Supplies ('Purveyor of Quality Goods For Monsters of Every Kind').

The show is semi-improvised:  children aged 7-9 make up stories for the crotchety 'Chief' (likes: snot hoovers, dislikes; tiny scissors) and we record the results. Simple.

Or so I thought. Here's a telling tale from a recent recording: when asked by the presenter to 'name something that you need to create a story', our survey said:

  • 'Punctuation'
  • 'Capital letters'
  • 'Conjunctions'
  • 'Connectives'

The list went on. After about ten or so of these, we began to prompt: 'that's great for sentences... but what about a story?' Eventually, we start to get to the point. Characters. Cliffhangers. A beginning, middle and an end.

Afterwards, I spoke to one of the teachers about it. 'It was a real eye-opener. There's such a pressure to focus on grammar and spelling. Sometimes the creatively can get lost along the way.'

It's why I'm proud to be working with The Ministry of Stories. It's charities like them that are inspiring teachers, parent and children to open their minds, lift their horizons and just... imagine.