There are 10 superhero Numberjacks, each with particular characteristics and different strengths. Click here to find out more.
There are 5 Meanies who create all kinds of mathematical problems that the Numberjacks have to put right. Click here to find out more.
We hope that every Numberjacks experience will combine entertainment and education. We want young children enjoy early maths, problem solving and thinking skills, get off to a good start at school, and have a cheerful and positive attitude towards maths that will last them all their lives. The learning in Numberjacks covers a wide range of topics, including numbers, counting, shape, measurement, movement, position, pattern and problem solving. Click here to find out more.
Night, night. Sleep tight!
We’ve been sent this wonderful photograph by a Numberjacks fan in Australia – a busy grandmother has made sure that he dreams of Numberjacks!
We had a lovely email from a fan of Numberjacks in New Zealand. This is what they said:
“My son is 2 1/2 years old and a great fan of the Numberjacks. When he was 2 he could count to 10. Now at 2 1/2 years old, he can read the numbers to 9 (for 10 he says 1 and 0!). We mix up the numbers and he recognises every number. A lot of people were surprised and impressed but I’ve recently realised that its because of the Numberjacks. The Numberjacks are easily identified because they are clearly visible by number/name. I’d like to thank you for advancing my son at such an early age and keep up the great work.”
The Numberjacks Story
Open Mind Productions was formed in 1989 by Roland Tongue and Chris Ellis. Roland was a film editor at the BBC, and Chris Ellis was a director at the BBC, having previously been a teacher. Open Mind was one of the first independent productions companies to specialise in educational programmes for children, and over the years we have used technology creatively to make cost-effective, imaginative and award-winning programmes.
We have made hundreds of programmes about many different areas of learning, and in 1995 we were asked by Channel 4 Learning to develop a maths series for 5-7 year olds, and created the Number Crew, which, in over 70 episodes, told the story of a family who sailed the world in an ocean-going liner with a crew of tame wild animals. This was the beginning of our work on making maths engaging and exciting for young children, and we continued with the Mathemateers, a commission by Pearson Education for 7-9 year olds, 50 short programmes set among various strange beings in outer space. We also made Maths Mansion for Channel 4. Aimed at 9-11 year olds this set maths in the context of a games show where young contestants had to escape from a gothic mansion.
We produced Paz for Discovery Kids in the USA and also helped launch the CBeebies channel with our series the Shiny Show, the world’s first quiz show for pre-school children, so when the BBC wanted to develop a maths series for CBeebies we were well placed. The series as initially developed was very different from the Numberjacks. It was called Number Chumbers, and was to be set in a number rescue centre, with adult presenters and puppets. Changes of management and focus at the BBC, however, meant that Number Chumbers never came to the screen but instead become the Numberjacks, which put the numbers at the heart of the action, and combined computer-generated animation with real-world footage.
The fact that our thinking had originally been about puppets and studio action undoubtedly helped in bringing the Numberjacks to life as cuddly characters as well as adventurous ones. We have been very lucky in many long-term collaborations over the years, and in different ways the designers, animators, composer, directors, shooting crew, sound team and advisors (and many others) have all been crucial in making Numberjacks the success that it has become. We have also been very fortunate in finding very skilled voice artistes, many of them of tender years, who helped bring the Numberjacks to life.
The Agents are real children who call in to alert the Numberjacks to problems and later help them with their thinking. They each have a number between 16 and 101.