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Hi-5 (Australian TV series) facts for kids

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Hi-5
Hi-5 Logo 2009.png
Genre Preschool
Created by
  • Helena Harris
  • Posie Graeme-Evans
Opening theme "Hi-5 Theme"
Ending theme "Hi-5 Theme (Reprise)"
Composer(s) Chris Harriott
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of series 14
No. of episodes 595 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)


Production location(s)


Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Kids Like Us (1999–2008)
  • Southern Star (2009–11)
  • Nine Films and Television
Distributor
  • Southern Star (1999–2011)
Release
Original network
Picture format
Audio format Stereo
Original release Original series:
12 April 1999 –
16 December 2011
Revived series:
15 May – 16 June 2017
Chronology
Related shows Hi-5 House

Hi-5 is an Australian children's television series, originally produced by Kids Like Us and later Southern Star for the Nine Network, created by Helena Harris and Posie Graeme-Evans. The program is known for its educational content, and for the cast of the program, who became a recognised musical group for children outside of the series, known collectively as Hi-5. It has generated discussion about what is considered appropriate television for children. The series premiered on 12 April 1999 on the Nine Network.

The series is designed for a pre-school audience, featuring five performers who educate and entertain through play, movement and music, which is an integral part of the series. The segments of the show are based on an educational model. The original cast was composed of Kellie Crawford, Kathleen de Leon Jones, Nathan Foley, Tim Harding and Charli Robinson. By the end of 2008, this line-up had been completely phased out and replaced with a new group of performers. Hi-5 received three Logie Television Awards for Most Outstanding Children's Program.

Harris and Graeme-Evans ended their involvement with the series in 2008 when the program was sold to Southern Star and the Nine Network. The final episode of Hi-5 aired on 16 December 2011 as a result of the Nine Network selling the property in 2012. A spin-off series, Hi-5 House, aired on Nick Jr. from 2013 to 2016, produced with no involvement from Nine. The network renewed its partnership with the brand in October 2016 and produced a revived series with a new cast, which aired on 9Go! in 2017.

Format

Hi-5 is a variety-style series for preschoolers which features music as an integral part of its premise. Aimed at children aged between two and eight, the series incorporates educational trends with a pop music appeal, using song and movement to capture the attention of children. The series employs central themes of exploration and discovery, providing children with an opportunity for a "sensitive exploration of their world". Hi-5 encourages children to "take a joyous and active part in life", with active participation encouraged. The program features five presenters who are collectively known as Hi-5, and perform songs as a group as well as presenting individual segments. All segments are integrated with music as a tool to highlight the key concepts of each episode.

The Shapes in Space segment focuses on visual and spatial awareness, with the presenter exploring shapes, colour and everyday materials such as boxes and playdough. Musicality is explored through Making Music, with an emphasis on pitch, rhythm, beat, melody, and using a variety of real and pretend instruments. The presenter of Body Move encourages children to participate in movement and dance, developing physical coordination and motor development. Linguistics and aural skills are at the centre of the Word Play segment, featuring a puppet named Chatterbox who assists in the exploration of language through stories and rhymes. Puzzles and Patterns has a focus on logical thinking and mathematics, with a puppet named Jup Jup used as a tool for the presenter to complete puzzles or solve problems.

The final segment in which the cast comes together is entitled Sharing Stories, where a story is told that explores interpersonal relationships and emotions. The episodes are bookended with a Song of the Week; a pop-style feature song which corresponds with the weekly theme and sets an educational topic for the week's episodes.

The 2017 revived series featured new puppet characters, the Jupsters, who were introduced as the family of previously established character Jup Jup. The revival also retained a segment introduced in Hi-5 House, entitled The Chatterbox. This segment focuses on the discovery of language through simple words and phrases, and features the puppet Chatterbox, who teaches a toy robot named Tinka how to speak.

Production

Conception

Hi-5 performing Jan 06 in Wellington NZ
Original cast, 2006 (L–R: Nathan Foley, Charli Robinson, Kellie Crawford, Kathleen de Leon Jones and Tim Harding.

Hi-5 was created in 1998 by television producer Helena Harris, who had worked on Bananas in Pyjamas. She and co-producer Posie Graeme-Evans (The Miraculous Mellops, Mirror, Mirror) developed the series as preschool entertainment. The name of the series was derived from the high five gesture.

Harris stated that her inspiration for Hi-5 came partly from living in England, where she realised that children are the same around the world, and expected the show would appeal universally, with accessible themes such as family and animals. Harris strove to incorporate items of current interest to engage with the children and keep them interested in the show. The creators saw the need for "life-affirming" television for rapidly maturing preschoolers, and found that most children learned from shows which incorporated movement and song. The creators believed pre-schoolers have matured beyond programs such as Here's Humphrey.

The series was pitched to the Nine Network through Harris and Graeme-Evans' joint independent production company, Kids Like Us. It was picked up by the network within days of being pitched, and officially ordered after two weeks. Harris stated that the network's enthusiasm for the show emanated from the executives' young children. A pilot was filmed in mid-1998, which was shown to a test audience. No changes were made to the format after the test. After being commissioned, the first full series began production in October, and had concluded by December. The Nine Network initially signed a co-venture with Kids Like Us to produce two 45-episode series of the show and the first went to air on Nine on 12 April 1999. Hi-5 was granted a P classification, deeming it specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of pre-schoolers and allowing it to be broadcast on the Nine Network with a 30-minute runtime commercial-free. The first series was produced for US$20,000 to US$30,000 for each episode. A fashion line for children, based on the costuming featured on the program, was released alongside the premiere of the show. Graeme-Evans only served as a co-producer for the first two series.

Cancellation

In June 2012 the Nine Network announced that the Hi-5 brand has been sold in its entirety to Asian equity group, Asiasons, following Nine's reported financial difficulties. Hi-5 would no longer be produced by Nine and therefore the thirteenth series became the last. A spin-off series entitled Hi-5 House was created under new management to continue the Hi-5 concept. The new series was produced independently from Nine and aired on Nick Jr. from 2013 to 2016.

Revival

The Nine Network renewed its partnership with the Hi-5 franchise in October 2016 and announced its plans to revive Hi-5 with a new cast in 2017. Executive producer Julie Greene stated "we're really excited to be working with Nine to develop a reinvigorated Hi-5 show". The revival would feature a new cast and set, but retain the original team of producers and writers. CEO of Nine Entertainment Co., Hugh Marks, revealed his role in the program's reintroduction, citing his belief that the series would still be relevant in an updated climate, while expecting significantly lower viewership. After auditions were held in November 2016, the new cast was revealed in December. The series began production in January 2017 and premiered on Nine's multichannel, 9Go!, on 15 May. A second series of the revival was planned for 2018, before filming was halted and the Australian production office was closed.

Educational theory

Hi-5 was designed by educational experts to appeal to contemporary, "media-literate" children by relating to their world. The series has been described as "for the kids of today". The cast are presented as older siblings to the children, educating the audience in a fun and entertaining way, through "play based learning", rather than appearing as adults who are teaching them. The educational theories of the series are disguised with music and entertainment, with the multiple layers of the show catering for a wide range of ages in the audience, while being primarily aimed at those aged 2–8. The real-life messages of the show are reinforced in an entertaining way.

Harris and Graeme-Evans based the series around an underlying educational structure, primarily using Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. It is recognised that each child learns in a different way, and each cast member has a specific segment within the show which targets a different aspect of learning, ranging from logical-mathematical thinking to a focus on linguistic skills, to cater to a child's individual learning approach. Harris observed that most viewers had a favourite cast member, believing that children generally "respond more favourably to the presenter who models the learning style they prefer". The use of multiple segments is also designed to hold the attention span of young children. The skills of pre-numeracy and pre-literacy are a focus of the educational theory, to prepare children for learning at school, while also encouraging self-confidence and expression. According to the show's website, Hi-5 also uses Piaget's theory of cognitive development, providing a learning experience that promotes individual growth.

Music and movement play a large part integrating the elements of Hi-5 together, with music reinforcing the central ideas which the series presents, while also being entertaining. Physical interaction is encouraged, and heavily featured to make the show relatively fast-paced, originally to replicate the energy of contemporary music videos. Dancing is featured, with a focus on movements that increase the integration between the left and right sides of the brain.

Cast

The program features five presenters who are known collectively as Hi-5. The cast became a recognised musical group for children, outside of the television program.

Original series (1999–2011)

Revived series (2017)

  • Courtney Clarke (Series 1)
  • Shay Clifford (Series 1)
  • Lachie Dearing (Series 1)
  • Joe Kalou (Series 1)
  • Bailey Spalding (Series 1)

Episodes

Original series

Series Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 45 12 April 1999 (1999-04-12) 11 June 1999 (1999-06-11)
2 45 2000 (2000)
3 45 11 June 2001 (2001-06-11) 10 August 2001 (2001-08-10)
4 45 2002 (2002)
5 45 2003 (2003)
6 30 18 October 2004 (2004-10-18) 26 November 2004 (2004-11-26)
7 45 23 May 2005 (2005-05-23) 22 July 2005 (2005-07-22)
8 45 12 June 2006 (2006-06-12) 11 August 2006 (2006-08-11)
9 45 11 June 2007 (2007-06-11) 10 August 2007 (2007-08-10)
10 45 7 July 2008 (2008-07-07) 5 September 2008 (2008-09-05)
11 45 31 August 2009 (2009-08-31) 30 October 2009 (2009-10-30)
12 45 13 September 2010 (2010-09-13) 12 November 2010 (2010-11-12)
13 45 17 October 2011 (2011-10-17) 16 December 2011 (2011-12-16)

Revived series

Series Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 25 15 May 2017 (2017-05-15) 16 June 2017 (2017-06-16)

Viewership

The first series of Hi-5 was broadcast in 1999 and quadrupled the ratings and audience share in its timeslot, previously occupied by programs including Here's Humphrey. Hi-5 averaged a national audience of 223,000 in 1999, which was a 32.2% increase on Humphrey. The first four weeks of broadcast achieved an average of 231,000 viewers.

Hi-5's highest rating episode in 2001 was watched by 96,000 children aged 0–14. In 2005, Hi-5 was one of the top ten children's programs (classified C or P) on commercial television in the 0–14 age group. Its average audience was 60,000 in this bracket. It was the highest rating P program in the 0–4 age group, receiving an average viewership of 39,000.

Hi-5 was consistently the highest rating program on Disney Junior Asia from its premiere in 2012 to 2016.

In Australia, the premiere run of the Hi-5 revival in 2017 averaged a viewership of 10,000.

Release

Broadcast

The first series of Hi-5 was sold to New Zealand and Singapore. In 2000, there were expression of interests from Britain, Canada, Germany, Israel and South Africa. The TV series had a successful premiere in the UK in early 2003. Initially, Harris expected that the series would become formatted into international versions, however, she was so confident with the original cast that the Australian series was sold overseas instead. On pay-TV in Australia, Hi-5 premiered on Nick Jr. in 2003. The programme debuted in the US for the first time in 2014, with episodes featuring the original cast premiering on KCET.

The first series of the 2017 revival was released on online streaming service Stan on 1 October 2017.

Home video

Compilation home video releases of Hi-5 have been distributed on VHS and DVD in Australia by Roadshow Entertainment.

Other media

Music

With the television series using music as an integral part of its concept, the cast of the series became a recognised musical group for children outside of the show. The debut album of the group, Jump and Jive with Hi-5, corresponded with the first series of the show and was released in September 1999 by Sony Music, reaching No. 33 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The group performed at venues such as the Newcastle Civic Theatre in their first year. Hi-5 won five consecutive ARIA Awards for Best Children's Album, their albums received multiple sale accreditations, and four releases reached the top 10 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The group also toured nationally every year, with sell-out national tours of their early stage shows, in venues such as the Sydney Opera House. In 2001, the group members said they did not expect that Hi-5 would become so successful; Robinson explained it was not until they went on tour that they realised their popularity.

The music of the show has a distinguishable pop music sound, being described as "pop for kids" by Crawford in 2001 and Foley in 2004. Chris Harriott is the primary composer of the show, having written thousands of Hi-5 songs (including feature songs of the week and shorter songlets) thus creating a sense of musical consistency. Graeme-Evans and Harriott had worked together when he scored the theme for the teen drama series, Mirror, Mirror (1995). He had previously worked with Harris as a composer on Bananas in Pyjamas; and had individually worked in Australian theatre. He was originally approached by the creators with the task of writing top ten songs for an age range of 2–6. Robinson said members were encouraged to write their own music for the group, and as of 2015, she was still receiving occasional royalty cheques for her work.

Spin-off series

In 2013, a spin-off series entitled Hi-5 House was created under new management to continue the Hi-5 concept with a refreshed appeal. The new series remained similar to the original concept, but featured a new setting; a house in which the cast members would live and present the show. The Nine Network were not involved in the follow-up series. The series premiered on Nick Jr. on 4 November 2013, and ran until 2016.

International versions

The international appeal of Hi-5 has led to successful local versions of the television series. In 2002, an American Hi-5 series was created, airing from 2003 to 2006 on TLC and Discovery Kids, also being nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 2005, 2006, and 2007. A UK series aired on Cartoonito in 2008. After Hi-5's sale in 2012, there was a return to licensing international versions of the program. A Latin American series entitled Hi-5 Fiesta aired from 2014 to 2016 on Discovery Kids, followed by a local version for the Philippines airing over 2015 and 2016, and the debut of an Indonesian series in 2017.

Awards and nominations

List of awards and nominations received by Hi-5
Award Year Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Category Result Ref.
ADVIA Awards 2006 Action Heroes Best DVD Marketing Campaign Won
APRA Screen Music Awards 2002 Chris Harriott, Lisa Hoppe, Chris Phillips (for "Opposites Attract") Best Music for Children's Television Nominated
Chris Harriott, Various (for songlets) Nominated
2003 Chris Harriott, Lisa Hoppe (for "Celebrate") Nominated
2005 Chris Harriott, Leone Carey (for "Making Music") Best Original Song Composed for a Feature Film, Telemovie, TV Series or Mini-Series Nominated
Asian Academy Creative Awards 2018 Hi-5 (for "Vehicles") Best Children's Entertainment or Drama Won
Hi-5 (for "Cultural Festivals") Best Preschool Programme Won
Asian Television Awards 2007 Hi-5 Best Children's Programme Runner-up
2010 Nominated
2017 Best Preschool Programme Won
Logie Awards 2000 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Won
2001 Won (Tied)
2002 Nominated
2003 Nominated
2004 Most Outstanding Children's Preschool Program Won
2005 Most Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
2006 Nominated
2008 Nominated
2010 Nominated
2011 Nominated
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