Big Babies. Image shows from L to R: Rocco (Martin Collins), Brooks (Spencer Jones). Copyright: BBC.

Big Babies

Spencer Jones and Jon Riche interview

Big Babies. Image shows from L to R: Rocco (Martin Collins), Brooks (Spencer Jones). Copyright: BBC.Spencer Jones and Jon Riche answer some questions about their CBBC comedy show Big Babies...

Hi guys, what are your roles in the show?

Spencer Jones: I'm co-creator and co-writer with Jon. I also play the part of Brooks and the voice of Dave the dinosaur, Gonch's mum, and other voices throughout. I am also a puppeteer, associate producer and second unit director. And I did my own make up, and co-wrote the music.

Jon Riche: I'm director and co-writer/creator. At least that's what I got paid for! When budgets are tight you end up doing a bit of everything to get the show you want.

Spencer, can you tell us a little more about the character of Brooks...

Brooks has some issues, to put it nicely. He thinks he knows best all the time. Sometimes he makes stuff up just to appear important or clever or cool. This always catches him out in embarrassing ways. Brooks often shouts at Rocco, but really he's his best mate and would be lost without him.

Big Babies. The Gonch (Dan Kirwan). Copyright: BBC.Jon, where did the inspiration come for Big Babies?

I'd wanted to do a music video with a bands' heads on babies' bodies for years. Although I came close a couple of times, I could never get a band to go for it because they tend to take themselves very seriously. One night Spencer and I were making each other laugh by talking about what babies would say if they could speak and decided to make the idea ourselves. We managed to borrow a couple of six month old babies off their mums for half-an-hour and we made a 40 second sketch. Jack and Japhet at the BBC liked it and they gave us a break.

Do you have children? If so did you glean any inspiration from them?

Spencer: I don't have my own kids but I have actually employed my niece Yasmin and nephew Max as "script insultants". While we wrote the show I would regularly phone them up and ask for brand new baby insults. My favourites were: Donkey Bucket and Beanstalk head.

Jon: No, I don't have children, although seven babies have been born to various friends of mine while we have been making Big Babies. I sometimes wonder if we "gave birth" to Big Babies so we'd have something to talk about with our mates.

Spencer, what were the considerations for acting, knowing that your head would be transposed onto a baby's body?

Just before we shoot a take, we look at the babies' body movements our heads will go on to, so we can match our head moves to the body. For example if the baby body is bouncing up and down, then we need to make sure when I say my lines I deliver them with a "bouncy energy". Likewise if a baby is lying down, I should be lying down too.

Big Babies. Brooks (Spencer Jones). Copyright: BBC.Jon, what is your favourite line/scene from the show?

This is a hard question. There is a line in Dinodinodino Town where Brooks says "I'm not scared of anything. I'm king of the Time Train". It is not a funny line but Spencer's delivery makes me crease up every time. It's like when Leonardo DiCaprio shouts "I'm king of the world" in Titanic.

And what about favourite characters... who is your favourite and why?

Jon: They all have a place in my heart but I would probably say Brooks (pictured right). Despite being quite spoiled and obnoxious, much of his negativity is justified. I think he gets a raw deal and I guess that's why I root for him.

Spencer: I can't choose my favourite. I love them all. But I can tell you the character I like the least though, the character I play, Brooks.

What was the most rewarding thing about working on Big Babies?

Spencer: That my niece and nephews will see it, and my Dad has stopped saying to me: "Why don't you get a proper job?"

Jon: We are lucky on this job to have worked with a lot of our friends. Most of the cast and crew are our mates. It's been wonderful to watch them rise to the challenge and pull out all the stops to achieve all we asked of them. Spencer and I are indebted to all of them but we are also very proud to have seen them rise to the challenge.

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Published: Sunday 14th March 2010