Show adds up to fun and learning for kids

A new children’s TV show — locally shot and produced — is winning rave reviews from some tough critics: Kids.

“They loved it. They were applauding and cheering,” said Jim McNeill, general manager at Ottawa Family Cinema.

More than 300 people saw an episode of The Prime Radicals at the theatre Saturday afternoon.

The show is about math in the everyday world.

“What we’ve tried to do is build stories into every episode where the math content is woven through in a fairly implicit way, so it doesn’t come across at all like a math lesson,” said Hoda Elatawi, senior producer at GAPC Entertainment.

They’re not the only ones adding and multiplying.

In one quarter alone, $10 million was spent in local production in 2010, according to the Ottawa Gatineau Film and Television Development Corporation.

The Prime Radicals debuted last weekend on TVO Kids.

And there are plenty of familiar faces and places.

“Cast and crew, all from Ottawa. Locations, we shot in studio at the Shenkman Arts Centre,” said Elatawi.

Field segments for The Prime Radicals were shot across the city.

But in the show itself, “we don’t really identify the location. So for kids not living in Ottawa, it could be any place,” said Elatawi.

Geared to six-to-eight-year-olds, the show stars Norm MacQueen as “Uncle Norm.”

“He gets into all kinds of mathematical jams and the kids bail me out with their math skills,” said MacQueen, who’s also an English teacher at Glebe Collegiate.

“The show coincides with the Ontario Grades 1 and 2 curriculum. The fact that it’s basically my own math level is just perfect,” MacQueen said, laughing.

Kevin Wang, a Grade 7 math whiz at Fisher Park, plays Uncle Norm’s nephew, Kevin.

“I’ve liked math since I was a child. I really thought it was like a puzzle, and it makes my brain think,” Wang said.

The show airs on TVO Kids Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and Sundays at 12:30 p.m.

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