CBeebies' favourite Hey Duggee hits the Yorkshire stage
Duggee and the Squirrels, who join him for fun, adventures and hands-on learning at the Clubhouse, were an instant hit with viewers.
Their popularity has only increased ever since, with Hey Duggee being the most streamed children’s show on BBC iPlayer in 2021.
Now Duggee and the Squirrels are about to hit the road in an all-new stage production. Hey Duggee The Live Theatre Show will visit Yorkshire later this year promising non-stop fun, laughs, singing and dancing.
Responsible for making that shift from screen to stage are co-adaptors Vikki Stone and Matthew Xia – who have absorbed more than 18 hours of Hey Duggee watch-time to create a theatrical experience perfect for pre-schoolers.
“When the producer Kenny Wax first approached me, he said: ‘I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Hey Duggee…’, and I said it’s one of my favourites,” explained Matthew, also the live show’s director. “My daughter was born in 2014, the same year Hey Duggee started, so we’ve really grown up with the show.”
By contrast, Vikki, who is also the live show’s musical supervisor and arranger, hadn’t seen a single episode: “I didn’t know Hey Duggee at all when I was approached. So, I spent a long time getting very closely acquainted with the show, and now I love it.
"I very soon realised how special Hey Duggee is, that it sits in the realm of co-viewing; the adults are watching it with their children, not just putting it on to entertain them while they’re doing something else.”
So how did they tackle creating Hey Duggee The Live Theatre Show?
“The first day, Matthew and I sat in an office and had our own lists of our favourite bits – and we had chosen a lot of the same things,” Vikki said.
Matthew said: “We had to keep the big format of the show, you know – where the narrator says to the Squirrels ‘Do you know what time it is?’.
"That’s the start of the adventure, and that had to be the same on stage.”
The show is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Wednesday July 19 to Saturday July 22.