NICKE TAKES OVER THE SCHOOL
Wednesdays at 4pm (repeated Sundays at 4.30pm), on NICKELODEON
A SHOW in which teachers are "slimed" in green gunk? In which kids can
complain about anything they like for 10 seconds? In which teachers are forced
to confess that they don't know the names of the members of the cult group
Segments such as these help make up Nickelodeon's first locally produced
children's series, Nick Takes Over Your School.
The 13-part series, hosted by Lizzie Trevan, is aimed at six- to
12-year-olds. It has been made for Nickelodeon by the independent production
company Becker Entertainment. The TV crew is given access to a State primary
school for the day, allowing children (mostly from Year 6) to show off their
classrooms and playgrounds and generally enjoy themselves in front of the
But just because NTOYS (as it is known) is filmed in schools does not mean it
"It's definitely not educational," says Donna Andrews, programming director
of Nickelodeon Australia and one of the show's executive producers. "It's a lot
of fun. Basically it gives the kids a chance to show off their environment and
turn the tables on the teachers and have a day of fun."
But does she think kids who have just come home from school will want to
watch more classroom antics?
"I do, because there's such a fun element to it," Andrews says. "And there's
also that great opportunity to stickybeak into someone else's school and see
what's happening there."
The "fun elements" include a "Test the Teacher" segment, in which pupils find
out exactly how much their teachers know about youth culture; "Gags and
Giggles" (kids telling hot playground jokes); "Sneak Peeks" into staff rooms and
other out-of-bounds areas; and "Pop the Question", in which a boy and girl are
teamed up for a schoolyard date. There are also tours of the school,
highlighting special activities such as arts, musical and sports events.
More than 1,000 schools expressed interest in taking part after seeing the
question "Do you think your school has what it takes?" on the Nickelodeon Online
Treehouse website. Eventually the list was whittled down to 13 schools in
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Perth. (The three Sydney schools
are Murray Farm, Engadine West and Castle Cove Primary.)
Lizzie Trevan makes an energetic host, whether she is running around a
softball diamond or cheering on a teacher who has found herself facing the
ignominy of bobbing for apples in front of a smiling Year 6.
Trevan started her career as an executive assistant at Nickelodeon, but
quickly became involved in some of Nickelodeon's activities outside broadcasting
- especially Nick Takes Over Your Beach, in which she became a guest host
organising summer activities for kids at the beach. When NTOYS was mooted,
Trevan auditioned and "just shone", according to Andrews.
The kids, and even the teachers, taking part seem to be having a good time,
and Andrews is confident the enjoyment will be infectious. "I think it's going
to be a lot of fun for the kids out there," she says.