Award-winning children’s fantasy adventure show “Raven” is to return to British network CBBC (the children’s television arm owned by the BBC), with a new format and a new star.
21-year-old Aisha Toussaint (photo in character costume above) has been cast in the lead role for the revamped “Raven,” which follows on from where the original show left off in 2010 after a hugely successful eight-year run.
With an intriguing back story for the new lead and lots of exciting and action-packed challenges, the series expands and develops the format of the original to make it appeal to a whole new generation of viewers.
Toussaint, who also plays Jules Belmont in BBC Scotland drama “River City,” takes over from original Raven, James Mackenzie. The original series gathered a massive cult following when it first aired in 2002. It introduced the eponymous immortal shape-shifting Scottish warrior, who guided fledgling young warriors on their quest through a mythical land. Overcoming trials of strength, intelligence and agility, only one contender would survive the various rounds of elimination to be crowned Ultimate Warrior.
Similar mental and physical games will be included in the new series and there’s another constant – Raven’s nemesis, the evil sorcerer Nevar. The warriors will all be competing to be named Ultimate Warrior in the hope of helping Raven defeat Nevar in the Ultimate Battle.
Aisha Toussaint, 21, says: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be the new Raven. I was a massive fan of the original series and remember rushing home from school so I didn’t miss an episode – it was always so exciting. I used to dream of one day being a warrior contestant – I never for a second imagined that I’d one day be Raven. My 11-year-old self would be gobsmacked! Pulling on the costume for the very first time was a very special moment.
When the production team closed applications for contestants, more than 2000 young people, aged 9-13, from all over the UK, had applied for just 16 coveted places.
Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC, says the overwhelming response is testament to “Raven’s” popularity.
She adds: “’Raven’ has always inspired a passionate and loyal following from CBBC fans and it’s clear from the number of children keen to participate in the new series that its enduring and powerful appeal lives on. The return of ‘Raven’ has caused great excitement and we wait with anticipation to meet the new cast and immerse ourselves in this legendary battle.”
Bringing the hit show back to the schedules in this updated format has been years in the making.
Executive Producer Sara Harkins says: “We are so excited that ‘Raven’ is back. The new series will be filled to the brim with challenges which will test our Warriors’ bravery. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to showcase the stunning Scottish landscape.”
Made by Children’s Scotland for CBBC, “Raven” will unfold over 15 thirty-minute episodes, to be filmed from July to September 2017, with the unspoilt wilderness of the Cairngorms National Park forming the backdrop for “Raven’s” battleground.
The series is expected to be aired later in the year.
Series Producer is Nick Gunaydin.