At TMK we love CBeebies and this summer our secret squirrels at CBeebies in Glasgow have been busy making a wonderful new children’s drama series, based on the characters and adventures in the wonderful Katie Morag books. Last weekend I packed my husband and two very excited little people off to the city to review the new Katie Morag and report back. Here is their review …

Katie Morag

We went to Glasgow, down from the Isle of Skye, to attend a preview of the new BBC Cbeebies TV series based on the books by Mairi Hedderwick. I was interested to see how our 8 year old son and 5 year old daughter would react to characters from one of their favourite books being portrayed on screen. They are well versed in island life and although their island isn’t as isolated as Katie Morag’s Struay, crofts, tractors, sheep, chickens, ferries and folk wearing wellies all the time are very familiar to them.

Katie Morag

The preview took place at the Grosvenor cinema in Ashton Lane in Glasgow’s highly metropolitan west end. This is the arty heartland of Glasgow. We were staying in the city’s more Presbyterian Southside and had taken the underground to the West End. Exciting and slightly scary fun for Highland kids.

On arrival in the West End we had some brunch at an Italian cafe. I am dressing up the fact that my children had pizza at 10 in the morning as brunch so as not to get into too much trouble (editor’s note – I was NOT impressed…). They descended on the pizza like vultures on a dead antelope. I got some crust…


At the Grosvenor we did the usual family cinema visit thing of me trying to stop the children filling their pic n’ mix bags to the very top and the children trying to fill them up to the top as fast as they could (editor’s note – again, NOT impressed..).

Once settled in the cinema’s very comfortable seats the programmes were introduced by the lovely Cathy MacDonald. My children looked nervously at her as they recognised her from BBC Alba and they were worried that there might be Gaelic involved. Gaelic, to them, is a school language and must never be spoken outside of the classroom. I was keen to see if BBC Scotland would maintain their unenviable record of annoying me with terrible accents for all Scottish characters meant to be from outside of Glasgow. Hamish Macbeth, Balamory and the Shetland detective series being prime examples. We settled down in the very comfy seats and the lights went down.

For those who haven’t met Katie Morag she is a little red haired girl who lives with her Mum and Dad on a fictitious Hebridean island called Struay. Her parents are the island’s shopkeeper and postmistress. Katie Morag has a little brother Liam. She has two grandmothers – Granny Island and Granny Mainland. The books are written by Mairi Hedderwick. The first was published in 1984 and they have proved very popular, not just in Scotland but worldwide. The stories usually revolve round Katie Morag trying to be helpful and it not going quite to plan. We’re not talking Tolstoy or Shakespeare here but heart warming stories for children who would love to live on an idyllic Hebridean island.

Katie Morag Katie Morag Katie Morag

The TV series was shot on location in Lewis with the interiors created in Stornoway. At least we know it’s going to look good, Lewis is beautiful in a rugged and dramatic way. I wonder how the crew coped with the weather which is as rugged and dramatic as the scenery?

Katie Morag the TV programme is great. The accents were spot on, the actors resemble their drawn counterparts as do the sets, though the bedroom was a little too tidy, and the CGI that creates the bay and village is good enough to be accepted by the hard to please targeted 5 year old audience. We watched the first two episodes of the series and our “I’m-too-old-for-this” 8 year old stopped slouching and watched attentively. He even clapped at the end. It was charmingly distracting when a little girl behind us kept on talking along with the lead character on the screen but as it was Cherry Campbell who plays Katie Morag we decided to let her away with it.

After the screening the audience were introduced to Mairi Hedderwick who was wonderfully nice. Imagine Granny Island and Granny Mainland rolled into one. She told us about her inspiration for the stories. Part of it was her children’s upbringing on the Isle of Coll and the rest was how she wished her childhood had been. I’m sure after seeing the programme many more children will want to have a life like Katie Morag’s. The morning was rounded off with a fine buffet. Luckily for me, the sandwiches were too fancy for our kids and I finally got something to eat after being denied pizza earlier.

As I wolfed down my sandwiches before the children changed their minds I quizzed our junior reviewers about the programmes. The 5 year old girl part of our panel thought it was a magnificent tour de force. A riveting and searing exposé of island life through a child’s eye. A roller coaster ride of emotions and adventures taking place on the outer edge of the world. Or as she said “Weally good.” Our more senior reviewer said that even though he was 8 he wouldn’t mind watching it, he even went so far as to say he wouldn’t switch it off if it was on when he walked into the room. Praise indeed.

There were some celebrities and media personalities in attendance. I was entertained by Mairi Hedderwick politely not having a clue who one of the celebrities was even after he practically read out his entire CV to her. Welcome to my world of anonymity. I’m not even the most famous person in our house. Even my dogs are better known than I am.


Katie Morag will be shown on the Cbeebies channel at 5:25pm every Sunday from the 3rd of November.

Rosie x

Images (and it’s a long list of credits today!) courtesy of:
John MacAulay/Move On Productions/BBC Pictures
Leila Angus
Rosie Woodhouse at Love Skye Photography
Andrew Woodhouse at Landscapes 365