BBC TV Show ‘Pablo’ Features an All-Autistic Cast

BBC has a new kid’s show coming in October and it’s the U.K. broadcaster’s most inclusive yet. “Pablo” is the first show in the U.K. to feature an all-autistic main cast, according to BBC. The animated show will air on CBeebies, a BBC program for children, and Irish broadcaster RTEJr.

Pablo is a 5-year-old boy on the autism spectrum who creates imaginary animal friends that come to life through magic crayons. His friends help him with everyday situations that make him anxious such as going to the supermarket.

Pablo is played by Jake Williamson, a 10-year-old boy on the spectrum. Andrew Brenner, the head writer, did extensive research and consulted people on the spectrum before creating the show. The people who play the imaginary friends are also on the spectrum and have co-written some of the scripts.

According to BBC, real-life experiences of children on the spectrum inspire each episode. The show used the ideas and perspectives of autistic contributors to create storylines that are honest and humorous.

Other characters played by people on the spectrum include Pablo’s imaginary animal friends. Each one portrays characteristics of autism.

Wren is a bird with a lot of energy, who flaps her wings to calm down when she feels frustrated. Mouse likes things tidy and in order, and is sensitive to sounds and smells. Noasaurus is a dinosaur who doesn’t talk much but has great spatial awareness.

BBC will also introduce 12 short films and six games associated with the show. The films will be shot from the point of view of people on the autism spectrum and will explain how they see the world around them. The games will be based on the personality traits of the characters in the show and are designed to help people better understand the perspective of someone on the spectrum.

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