AN EIGHTIES chart-topping pop star has taken on a new role after teaming up with a television producer from Wrexham.
Stan Cullimore used to write songs and play bass guitar for The Housemartins but these days he is putting words into the mouths of a flock of sheep.
Appropriately for a man whose band released a single called Sheep, Stan is scriptwriting for the hit kids show Meees.
With a second series now showing on S4C pre-school service, Cyw, it’s the first UK children’s show to be co-produced with the Al-Jazeera Children’s Channel.
“I thought it was a lovely idea when I was asked to get involved,” says Stan who has written more than 80 children’s books since The Housemartins split in 1988.
“The beauty is that although it’s a family of sheep they’re like all families, really, in Wales and in all family-based cultures.”
Aimed at three-to-six-year-olds, Meees tells the story of a family of multi-racial, multi-talented sheep.
It’s made in Wales and was created by Nia Ceidiog, who hails from Coedpoeth, who also wrote the now globally famous Fireman Sam.
“I’ve got four kids and have just had grandkids who are just the right age to be watching this,” says Stan. “So I’ve been thinking what have they been doing and that gives me ideas.
“I also write songs for kids TV – there’s one in Meees – and I test them out on the kids first. The grandkids love it when one of granddad’s songs comes on.”
Not very rock ‘n‘ roll, though, for the ex-guitarist of a band who went to number three with Happy Hour.
“Strangely, I was chatting to an old producer who weirdly is working on the next Bob the Builder series,” he counters.
“Now we’ve all grown older and got kids it’s a case of ‘I see, I get it… Then your kids like what you do…’
“It’s really a pathetic attempt at trying to appear to be a cool dad or a cool granddad, that’s what it is.”
Meees is made in South Wales by a team whose credentials include Teletubbies, The Tweenies, Doctor Who and Torchwood.
“I love going up there to watch the series being made,” says Stan who comes from Hull but now lives in Bristol.
Meees is made by Cynhyrchiadau Ceidiog Creations and in the New Year the 52-episode series will be broadcast in 22 countries from Africa to the Gulf on Al Jazeera Children’s Channel.
Nia Ceidiog said: “It was a sheer delight to work with Stan and his scripts always sparkle with creativity and humour.”