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Nina and the Neurons
Genre Children's, educational
Presented by Katrina Bryan (as "Nina")
Country of origin United Kingdom-Scotland
Original language(s) English
No. of series 11
No. of episodes 174
Production
Running time 15 minutes
Release
Original network CBeebies
Original release 26 February 2007 (2007-02-26) – 2 October 2015 (2015-10-02)

Nina and the Neurons is a British-Scottish television programme shown on the CBeebies channel, aimed at four- to six-year-olds to help them understand basic science. Nina is a neuroscientist who enlists the help of five Neurons (animated characters representing the senses) in her brain to answer a scientific question.

The show is produced by Lucille McLaughlin, who has also produced the children's programmes Balamory, Me Too! and Bits and Bobs. The series is commissioned by CBeebies Controller, Michael Carrington.

Synopsis/plot

Most of the show is based at Glasgow Science Centre, with a small part taking place outdoors. At the start of the show, Nina conducts experiments in front of an unseen audience of children. At one point of the show, Nina is 'contacted' by (usually two or three, but rarely four) children, who appear on a computer screen asking a science-related question (e.g., 'What makes rainbows appear and disappear?') Nina then chooses one (or more) of the five Neurons inside her brain based upon which of the senses is most appropriate to answer the question. Once the Neuron has been selected, the children (called the 'experimenters') then visit Nina, using fun experiments and games.

Afterwards, Nina takes the children out to find out more about the answer to the question, sometimes with the help of their friends and family. After they have found out the answer to the question, they travel back to the Glasgow Science Centre to do another experiment. Then, the ‘experimenters’ leave.

At the end of each show, a song is sung, which changes from series to series depending on the theme of the series. Then, the Neurons discuss what they have done and the individual role they have played. The show ends with Nina and the Neurons bidding farewell to the viewers.

Nina And The Neurons Official Logo
Official logo

Characters and cast

The main character of Nina is played by Scottish actress Katrina Bryan. She is a scientist who works in the lab. Nina wears a white lab coat with brightly coloured cuffs and lapels in her lab, and either a bright yellow coat or a blue jacket when outside. In the programme, Nina drives either a pale blue 1970s Volkswagen Type 2 (Transporter) minibus or a New MINI, both bearing numberplates reading 'NINA', or rides a bicycle in the Go ECO! version.

The Neurons are computer-animated characters (stylised with human facial features and body, but no legs) who live inside Nina's brain, with no legs, and are named to reflect the five senses which they represent:

Felix, voiced by James Dreyfus in the first series but subsequently by Lewis MacLeod, represents touch. He is green, speaks in a posh accent and is particular about his appearance.

Belle, voiced by Kelly Harrison represents hearing. She is pink but also loud and can be bossy. She's also the group vice leader.

Luke, voiced by Patrice Naiambana, represents sight. He is yellow and is also the group leader. His character is laid back and relaxed, and speaks with a Jamaican accent.

Ollie, voiced by Siobhan Redmond represents smell. She is purple and described as 'sweet, self-assured and a bit of a goth.' She is the elder sister of Bud.

Bud, voiced by Sharon Small represents the taste neuron. He speaks with a Scottish accent. He is blue and also the youngest Neuron and can be enthusiastic and easily excited. He is the younger brother of Ollie.

Bud and Ollie are often chosen together by Nina due to the way taste and smell work together.

Felix and Luke got chosen together by Nina due to the way touch and sight work together.

Belle and Luke got chosen together by Nina due to the way hearing and sight work together.

Felix and Belle got chosen together by Nina due to the way touch and hearing work together.

Awards and nominations

  • BAFTA Scotland 2007
  • Awarded Best Children's Programme
  • BAFTA Scotland 2008
  • Nominated as Best Children's Programme

Composer: Scottish Composer Graham Ness

Exhibits

There is a themed Nina & the Neurons activity trail at the Glasgow Science Centre.. There was also an attraction located at Alton Towers themed to the show called Nina's Science Lab which opened in 2014 and closed in 2018.

Episodes

The first series began on 26 February 2007 and ended on 30 March 2007. The 2nd series began airing on Cbeebies on 31 March 2008 and ended on 2 May 2008. It was followed by a third, this time called Nina and the Neurons: Go Eco!, on 13 June 2008 as part of CBeebies' year-long green initiative called EcoBeebies, which ended on 15 August 2008. A fourth series called Nina and the Neurons: Go Inventing started on 18 May 2009, where Nina invites several young inventors to her lab to discover how things work by inventing their own versions. It ended on 19 June 2009. The fifth series, Nina and the Neurons: In The Lab, was broadcast from 27 September 2010 to 10 December 2010. In the show, Nina and the experimenters discover changes and reaction.

A sixth series, called Nina and the Neurons: Brilliant Bodies, premiered on 5 September 2011. The show focuses on the parts of the human body. The seventh series, Nina and the Neurons: Go Engineering, is another series about inventions. It started in 2013. Series 8 is called Nina and the Neurons: Earth Explorers, explores the Earth, the sea and beyond. The series also started in 2013. The last three series, Get Sporty (2014), Go Digital (2014) and Get Building (2015) focus on sport, gadgets and building respectively.

(The titles for Series 1 and 2 are from Digiguide)

Series 1 (26 February 2007 – 30 March 2007)

  • 1. Stars (stars)
  • 2. Do We All Smell Different? (smell)
  • 3. Amazing Maze (mazes)
  • 4. Trumpet (trumpets)
  • 5. Snowballs (snow)
  • 6. Eyebrows (eyes)
  • 7. What's Cooking? (food and drink)
  • 8. All Bunged Up (bungee jumping)
  • 9. Nina Needs A Wee (digestion)
  • 10. Spy Kit (household applies)
  • 11. Granny's Glasses (sight)
  • 12. Where's The Bad Smell? (bad smelling)
  • 13. Wakey Wakey (sleep)
  • 14. Why Is My Tongue Wet? (saliva)
  • 15. Shadows (shadows)
  • 16. Birthday Surprise (birthdays)
  • 17. Different Tastes (taste)
  • 18. Monster Hunt (illusions)
  • 19. Making Music (music)
  • 20. Distance (distance)
  • 21. Staying Cool
  • 22. Too Much Salt (salt)
  • 23. Bud Needs Help (help)
  • 24. Echoes (echo)
  • 25. Colours (colours)

Series 2 (31 March 2008 – 2 May 2008) (Followed By Series 3 - Go Eco!)

(This Is The Only Series To Feature The Neurons Scene After The Experiment Show )

  • 1. Hide and Seek (games)
  • 2. Getting Goosebumps (fear)
  • 3. Nina's Cake Bake (cakes)
  • 4. I Can See A Rainbow (rainbows)
  • 5. Terrific Teeth (teeth)
  • 6. Touching Clouds (clouds)
  • 7. Smelly Feet (feet)
  • 8. In A Spin (being dizzy)
  • 9. Bubble Trouble (bubbles)
  • 10. Fun In The Sun (the sun)
  • 11. Tummy Rumbles (hungry)
  • 12. Finding Flowers (flowers)
  • 13. Lovely Lollies (ice cream)
  • 14. Brilliant Bones (the skeleton)
  • 15. Rumbling Thunder (thunder and lightning)
  • 16. Nina Gets Nosey (peeking)
  • 17. What A Fright (fear)
  • 18. Let's Hear It For Ears (hearing)
  • 19. Making Waves (water)
  • 20. Splish Splash (hygiene)
  • 21. Baby Talk (babies)
  • 22. Funny Honey (bees)
  • 23. Digging Dogs (dogs)
  • 24. When The Wind Blows (wind)
  • 25. Tremendous Toes (limbs)

Series 3 - Go Eco! (13 June 2008 – 15 August 2008)

(Titles from Digiguide)

  • 1. Branching Out (trees)
  • 2. Food Glorious Food (fruit and vegetables)
  • 3. Keeping Cosy (hibernation)
  • 4. Super Slimy Slugs (insects)
  • 5. Mouldy Bread (rotten food)
  • 6. Something Fishy (the ocean)
  • 7. Recycling (recycling)
  • 8. Flying High (birds)
  • 9. Monkey Business (animals)
  • 10. Every Drop Counts (weather)

Series 4 - Go Inventing (18 May 2009 – 19 June 2009)

(Titles from Digiguide)

  • 1. Bouncy Beds (beds)
  • 2. Pen and Paper (pens)
  • 3. Loud and Clear (headphones)
  • 4. In The Box (boxes)
  • 5. Mirror Mirror (mirror)
  • 6. Wheels (wheels)
  • 7. Clean It Up (vacuum cleaner)
  • 8. Lift Off (rockets)
  • 9. Round and Round (bikes)
  • 10. Get Wet (paddling pool)
  • 11. Sliding Doors (automatic doors)
  • 12. Handy Handles (handles)
  • 13. Cooking With Waves (microwaves)
  • 14. Time For Cogs (clockwork)
  • 15. Hot and Cold (fridge)
  • 16. Buckle Up (seatbelts)
  • 17. Dirty Dishes (dishwashers)
  • 18. Top Taps (taps)
  • 19. Keys (keys and locks)
  • 20. Eyes in The Dark (torch)
  • 21. Near and Far (compass)
  • 22. Hubble Bubble (bubble machine)
  • 23. In a Flush (toilet seat)
  • 24. Extraordinary X-Rays (x-ray machine)
  • 25. Swish Swish (washing machine)

Series 5 - In The Lab (27 September 2010 – 10 December 2010)

(Titles from BBC)

  • 1. Melty Chocolate
  • 2. Sleepy Dust
  • 3. Rattling Pan
  • 4. Burnt Toast
  • 5. Sugar and Teeth
  • 6. Super Sand
  • 7. Ferocious Fire
  • 8. Soap Suds
  • 9. Boat Float
  • 10. Grass Stains
  • 11. Salty Sea
  • 12. Wobbly Jelly
  • 13. Steamy Mirrors
  • 14. Fragrant Flowers
  • 15. Noisy Foods
  • 16. Popcorn Pops
  • 17. Sniffing Smells
  • 18. Mighty Metal
  • 19. Sticky Jam
  • 20. Bubbles Burst
  • 21. Onions Make Us Cry
  • 22. Wrinkly Fingers
  • 23. Glow Stars
  • 24. Wet Paint
  • 25. Marvellous Milk

Series 6 - Brilliant Bodies (4 June 2011 - 26 November 2011)

(Titles from BBC)

  • 1. Heart
  • 2. Handy Hands
  • 3. Sneeze
  • 4. Two Ears
  • 5. Blood
  • 6. Brain
  • 7. Exercise
  • 8. Wringly Face
  • 9. Earwax
  • 10. Tickly Feet
  • 11. Yawn
  • 12. Digestion
  • 13. Sleep
  • 14. Eyelashes
  • 15. Bellybuttons
  • 16. Scabs
  • 17. Eyes See
  • 18. Burp
  • 19. Spine
  • 20. Breathe
  • 21. Skin
  • 22. Balance
  • 23. Memory
  • 24. Broken Bones
  • 25. Fingertips Feel

Series 7 - Go Engineering (14 January 2013 - 8 March 2013) (Production Year: Late 2012) (Followed By Series 8 - Earth Explorers)

A series about Engineering feats consisting of 25 episodes (15 minutes each) started being broadcast on 14 January 2013. Each episode tries to simplify a tricky science concept into three key experiments which children can participate in. (Episode info from Subtitles Portal's "Nina and the Neurons" Microsite)

  • 1. Aeroplanes (How moving air creates lift to make aeroplanes fly)
  • 2. Glass (How glass is made so strong, by laminating it)
  • 3. Electricity (How electricity is made from water)
  • 4. Bin Lorry (How a dustbin lorry works)
  • 5. Hovercraft (How hovercraft work)
  • 6. Robots (How robots are made)
  • 7. Cranes (How cranes work)
  • 8. Hot Air Balloons (How hot air balloons fly)
  • 9. Ships (How big ships are made)
  • 10. Roads (How roads are made)
  • 11. Tunnels (How tunnels are made)
  • 12. Cereal (How breakfast cereal is harvested)
  • 13. Cable Cars (How cable cars work)
  • 14. Steam Pump (How steam pumps move water)
  • 15. DVD (How do DVDs work)
  • 16. Diving
  • 17. Luggage
  • 18. Biscuits
  • 19. Cars
  • 20. Computers
  • 21. Tall Buildings
  • 22. Canal Locks
  • 23. Sticky Fabric
  • 24. Bridges (How a bridge works)
  • 25. Mobile Phones

Series 8 - Earth Explorers (23 September 2013 - 29 November 2013)

This series looks at various geographical and geological features such as lakes, caves, volcanoes, etc.

  • 1. Space Rockets (featuring "Russ the Rocketman")
  • 2. Grand Canyon
  • 3. Sand Dunes
  • 4. Living in Space
  • 5. Earth is Round
  • 6. Volcanoes
  • 7. Giant's Causeway
  • 8. Solar System
  • 9. Rivers
  • 10. Loch Ness
  • 11. Cliffs
  • 12. Night and Day
  • 13. Dinosaurs
  • 14. Living on Earth
  • 15. Stripy Rocks
  • 16. Geysers
  • 17. Mountains
  • 18. Moon Shape
  • 19. Caves
  • 20. Shooting Stars
  • 21. Coal
  • 22. Exploring Space
  • 23. Deserts
  • 24. Gravity
  • 25. Waterfalls

Series 9 - Get Sporty (21 July 2014 - 4 August 2014) (Followed By Series 10 - Go Digital)

  • 1. Cycling
  • 2. Curling
  • 3. Football
  • 4. Trampolining
  • 5. Climbing
  • 6. Rugby
  • 7. Marathon
  • 8. Sprinting
  • 9. Swimming
  • 10. Long Jump
  • 11. Snooker
  • 12. Gymnastics
  • 13. Diving
  • 14. Cricket
  • 15. Basketball

Series 10 - Go Digital (29 September 2014 - 3 October 2014)

  • 1. Driverless Cars
  • 2. Internet
  • 3. 3D Printing
  • 4. Coding
  • 5. Animation

Series 11 Get Building (7 September 2015 - 2 October 2015)

  • 1. Triangles
  • 2. Pointy Roofs
  • 3. Piers
  • 4. Nests
  • 5. Houses
  • 6. Windmills
  • 7. Beaver Dams
  • 8. Skyscrapers
  • 9. Bridges
  • 10. Demolition
  • 11. Floating Houses
  • 12. Rollercoasters
  • 13. Arches
  • 14. Lighthouses
  • 15. Living Underwater
  • 16. Living Underground
  • 17. Igloos
  • 18. Spiders' Webs
  • 19. Domes
  • 20. Amphitheatres
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