Something Special (TV series)

Something Special is a children's television programme presented by Justin Fletcher. It was created and produced for 10 years by Allan Johnston. It is broadcast by the BBC. It is designed to introduce children to Makaton signing, and is specifically aimed at children with delayed learning and communication difficulties. It is aired on the CBeebies channel and in the past was also broadcast as part of the CBeebies programme strand on BBC One and BBC Two.

Something Special
GenreChildren's television series
Written byAllan Johnston, Phillip Hawthorn
Directed byAllan Johnston, Michael Towner, Luke Howard
Presented byJustin Fletcher
Composer(s)Archie Brown
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series11
No. of episodes196
Executive producer(s)Sue Nott (season 1), Clare Elstow
Producer(s)Allan Johnston
Editor(s)Gareth Heal, Stephen Young
Running time15 minutes (series 1) 20 minutes (series 2-9)
Original networkBBC Two
Original release9 August 2003 (2003-08-09) 
2019 (2019)
External links

The name of the programme derives from the idea that all children, irrespective of their position on the learning spectrum, are special.

Their format of the show has evolved considerably since the original series. In 2012, a new series, "Something Special - We're All Friends" started, introducing some minor changes to the "Out and About" format. This format change has also included a change in location, and introduced the Tumble Tap, a personalised iPad showing the "special things" to look for.


It is presented by Justin Fletcher ("Justin") and features various other characters (also played by Fletcher) and clips of children with disabilities. Justin speaks as well as signing, and a spoken narrative is provided over the clips of children.

The other characters played by Fletcher are the Tumble Family: Mr Tumble, a clown who himself displays delayed learning and communication difficulties, Grandad Tumble, Barry Tumble and Baby Tumble. Other members of the Tumble family to have made appearances include two Aunts - Polly and Suki (as in the popular nursery rhyme "Polly Put the Kettle On"), Lord Tumble and King Tumble.

In series 2, Justin meets a friend named Guy H Pickle, they dance around a mulberry bush.

The creator and producer is Allan Johnston, who worked as a teacher of children with special needs before joining the BBC in 1989, with an important role in the show.


Series 1 and 2 (2003-2007)
Each episode has a duration of approximately 15 minutes.
Series 3 "Out and About" (2008)
Series 3, again presented by Justin Fletcher, was produced in 2008. 'Guests' included Mr Tumble, Granddad Tumble, Aunt Polly, Aunt Sukey and Cliff Tumble (a parody of Cliff Richard, with whom Justin has a link through his father Guy Fletcher). This series was made at various locations across the UK, including Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Each episode has a duration of approximately 20 minutes and features a "Doors" Style (Dropped in Seasons 5, 6 & 7).
Mr Tumble shorts (2008)
From 2009, CBeebies occasionally showed short programmes consisting of the Mr Tumble sections from the various episodes, without the sections featuring Justin. It appears that the BBC may view these programmes as series 3 of Something Special, as the full series which followed is referred to as series 4.
Series 5, 6 and 7 Out and About (2010-2011)
Series 5 of the show followed the Out and About format of series 3, in a "new, daily, week-day, year-round slot designed to provide continuity for its loyal audience" and introduced a new character, Lord Tumble.[1] The series has Mr Tumble and the other Tumble characters primarily based in "Tumble House", a large detached house located in extensive grounds close to the sea. Justin Fletcher revealed this to be located in Porlock, Somerset.[2] The house and grounds are populated with large coloured spots, balloons and similar circular/spherical items in keeping with the spots on Mr Tumble's costume. The episodes typically feature Mr Tumble sending photographs of items he is interested in finding out about to Justin using his "Spotty Bag". Justin, with the assistance of the children with him, locates these items or activities and in return sends associated items back to Mr Tumble. There is typically a link in the theme between the actions of Mr Tumble and the other Tumble characters, and the activities Justin and the children participate in.
Series 8 (Something Special - We're All Friends) (2012)
In 2012, a new series, "Something Special - We're All Friends" started,[3] introducing some minor changes to the Out and About format. This format change has also included a change in location, and introduced the "Tumble Tap", a tablet computer and game (the game is available on the Cbeebies website.
Series 9 and 10 (Something Special - We're All Friends) (2014-2016)
In 2014, a new series, "Something Special - We're All Friends" starring Justin Fletcher as Mr Tumble as The Unsmiling Principle featuring Mr Tumble,[4] which sees the Mr Tumble, and introduced the "Tumble Tap in Spotty Bag", and follows him throughout his early life.
The Tale of Mr Tumble (2016)
In March 2016, a theatrical production starring Justin Fletcher as Mr Tumble and Ronni Ancona as The Unsmiling Principle featuring Mr Tumble was performed, which sees the Mr Tumble character as a baby and as a young boy, and follows him throughout his early life.
Series 11 (Something Special - We're All Friends) (2018)


Series 1
Episode First broadcast Title Details
1/20 9 August 2003 BBC Two Pets
2/20 10 August 2003 BBC Two Weather
3/20 11 August 2003 BBC Two Moving
4/20 12 August 2003 BBC Two Garden
5/20 13 August 2003 BBC Two Farm
6/20 16 August 2003 BBC Two Toys
7/20 17 August 2003 BBC Two Clothes
8/20 18 August 2003 BBC Two School
9/20 19 August 2003 BBC Two Food Part 1
10/20 20 August 2003 BBC Two Family
11/20 23 August 2003 BBC Two Transport
12/20 24 August 2003 BBC Two Colours
13/20 25 August 2003 BBC Two All About Me
14/20 26 August 2003 BBC Two Food Part 2
15/20 27 August 2003 BBC Two Under the Sea
16/20 30 August 2003 BBC Two Jungle Animals
17/20 31 August 2003 BBC Two Where I Live
18/20 1 September 2003 BBC Two Shops
19/20 2 September 2003 BBC Two What I Like
20/20 3 September 2003 BBC Two Music
Series 2
Episode First broadcast Title Details
1/25 5 February 2007 BBC Two Birds
2/25 6 February 2007 BBC Two Meals
3/25 7 February 2007 BBC Two Toys 2
4/25 8 February 2007 BBC Two Animals
5/25 9 February 2007 BBC Two Nursery Rhymes and Songs 1
6/25 12 February 2007 BBC Two Mini Beasts
7/25 13 February 2007 BBC Two Birthday
8/25 14 February 2007 BBC Two Under, On and In
9/25 15 February 2007 BBC Two Holiday
10/25 16 February 2007 BBC Two Nursery Rhymes and Songs 2
11/25 19 February 2007 BBC Two Vegetables
12/25 20 February 2007 BBC Two Seasons
13/25 21 February 2007 BBC Two Shapes
14/25 22 February 2007 BBC Two Clothes
15/25 23 February 2007 BBC Two Nursery Rhymes and Songs 3
16/25 26 February 2007 BBC Two Baby
17/25 27 February 2007 BBC Two Doctor
18/25 28 February 2007 BBC Two Art
19/25 1 March 2007 BBC Two Opposites
20/25 2 March 2007 BBC Two Nursery Rhymes and Songs 4
21/25 5 March 2007 BBC Two How Do I Feel?
22/25 6 March 2007 BBC Two Baby Animals
23/25 7 March 2007 BBC Two People Who Help Us
24/25 8 March 2007 BBC Two The Park
25/25 9 March 2007 BBC Two Nursery Rhymes and Songs 5
Series 3
Episode First broadcast Title Details
1/15 14 January 2008 Out and About - Farm Justin is on a farm.
2/15 15 January 2008 Out and About - Wood Justin is off to explore a wood.
3/15 16 January 2008 Out and About - Harbour Justin travels to Weymouth harbour.
4/15 17 January 2008 Out and About - Theme Park Justin travels to a theme park.
5/15 18 January 2008 Out and About - Stables Justin visits stables in Northern Ireland.
6/15 21 January 2008 Mountain Justin is walking up a Mountain.
7/15 22 January 2008 Vet Justin is at the vet.
8/15 23 January 2008 High Street Justin is in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland.
9/15 24 January 2008 Beach It is a sunny day and Justin is at the beach.
10/15 25 January 2008 School Justin goes to school.
11/15 28 January 2008 Railway Justin arrives at a railway station.
12/15 29 January 2008 Market Justin visits a market in Belfast.
13/15 30 January 2008 Football Justin visits Craven Cottage.
14/15 31 January 2008 Camping Justin is at a campsite in the New Forest.
15/15 1 February 2008 Castle Justin has come to visit Carrickfergus, an old castle in Northern Ireland.
Series 5[5]
Episode First broadcast Title Details
1/15 8 March 2010 Airport Mr Tumble tries to fly, with some help from Granddad Tumble.
2/15 9 March 2010 City Mr Tumble has to put on the right shoes and coat before he can catch his bus. He misses the bus, but Aunt Polly gives him a ride to the city on her bike.
3/15 10 March 2010 Garden Centre Mr Tumble looks for a hole to put his flower into. Lord Tumble is first introduced in this episode, playing golf.
4/15 11 March 2010 By The Sea Mr Tumble is a pirate looking for his treasure with some help from Granddad Tumble and Aunt Polly.
5/15 12 March 2010 Hospital Mr Tumble visits Grandad Tumble in hospital, bringing some presents with him.
6/15 15 March 2010 Houseboat Mr Tumble tries to find a good place to put up his tent, but gets in the way of Aunt Polly and Grandad Tumble.
7/15 16 March 2010 Leisure Centre Mr Tumble takes part in a Sports day, competing with Aunt Polly for a throwing competition, Aunt Sukie for a bouncing competition and Grandpa Tumble for the egg and spoon race, with Lord Tumble acting as a judge. Mr Tumble fails to win a trophy, losing at all these events, but is given an egg cup for taking part.
8/15 17 March 2010 Animal Park Mr Tumble look for his animal - he finds Aunt Sookie's duck and Lord Tumble's rabbit, and discovers that Granddad Tumble has his animal (a tiger).
9/15 18 March 2010 Playdate Mr Tumble's cousin, Cool Tumble comes to visit and they play musical bumps, build dens and play Hide-and-seek.
10/15 19 March 2010 Animal Rescue Mr Tumble looks after Aunt Sookie's dog.
11/15 22 March 2010 Bike Ride Mr Tumble is pretending to be a postman, so he uses a bicycle to deliver parcels to Lord Tumble, Aunt Polly and Grandad Tumble.
12/15 23 March 2010 Creative Walk Mr Tumble paints a picture.
13/15 24 March 2010 Supermarket Mr Tumble brings his shopping home with help from Lord Tumble - but Lord Tumble puts things in the wrong places. At the start of the programme, Mr Tumble is seen in Frogmore, Devon.
14/15 25 March 2010 Butterfly Mr Tumble tries to film a butterfly with his new video camera, but it keeps flying away - thanks to Grandad Tumble's tricks!
15/15 26 March 2010 Drive Mr Tumble cleans his car - using bubbles from Grandad Tumble's bath!
Series 6
1/21 11 October 2010 Nature Trail Mr Tumble goes fishing with Big Teddy.
2/21 12 October 2010 Play Mr Tumble is playing some games of his own with Grandad Tumble and Lord Tumble.
3/21 13 October 2010 Sport Aunt Polly, Lord Tumble and Grandad Tumble show Mr Tumble how to do his exercises.
4/21 14 October 2010 Island Mr Tumble is visiting his friend Fisherman Tumble and helping him get ready to go out on his fishing boat.
5/21 15 October 2010 Festival Grandad Tumble puts on a concert for Mr Tumble and the toys!
6/21 18 October 2010 London Mr Tumble has lots of fun at home with his London Book.
7/21 19 October 2010 Art Mr Tumble paints a surprise for Grandad Tumble.
8/21 20 October 2010 Baby Mr Tumble gets ready for a very special baby visitor of his own.
9/21 21 October 2010 Village Fete Mr Tumble holds his own Village Fete for the toys!
10/21 22 October 2010 Big Animals Mr Tumble has a very special job - cleaning out Harry the Hamster's cage. But who is looking after Harry?
11/21 25 October 2010 Music Mr Tumble wants to be a pop star after watching his favourite singer Cliff Tumble on the TV.
12/21 26 October 2010 Strawberry Picking Mr Tumble is very hungry and goes looking for fruit in the garden.
13/21 27 October 2010 Cooking Mr Tumble is making something very special too - Grandad Tumble's lunch.
14/21 28 October 2010 Sleepover Mr Tumble is having a sleepover of his own in his garden.
15/21 29 October 2010 Routines Mr Tumble shows us what he does before he goes to bed.
16/21 22 November 2010 Birthday Party Back at the Tumble house there's a party going on too - a surprise party for Lord Tumble.
17/21 23 November 2010 Shopping Mr Tumble is doing his washing and needs to find some spare clothes to wear while it is drying.
18/21 24 November 2010 Cafe Mr Tumble opens his new Cafe and we are introduced to the all new Chef Tumble!
19/21 25 November 2010 Forest Art Mr Tumble is in his forest looking for animals from inside his den!
20/21 26 November 2010 Park Mr Tumble is trying to find a boat of his own to go on a sea adventure, but who will help him find one?
21/21 24 December 2010 A Christmas Special It's Christmas and Mr Tumble, Lord Tumble and Grandad Tumble are decorating the Tumble house.


Royal Television Society Educational Television Awards 2004
Awarded Best Early Years Programme (for the episode Garden)[6]
BAFTA Children's Awards 2005
Awarded Best Pre-school Live Action Series[7]
BAFTA Children's Awards 2007
Nominated for Best Presenter (Justin Fletcher)[8]
BAFTA Children's Awards 2008
Awarded Best Presenter (Justin Fletcher)[9]


Series 7
1/25 19 September 2011 Mr Tumble bakes some delicious cakes and Chef Tumble wants to have a cooking competition.
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