17 JUN 2022

“The Peppercorns,” diversity and inclusion as the success formula

Studio Hamburg has presented the 18th season of “The Peppercorns,” the longest-running live-action children’s series on German television. Tania Reichert-Facilides, Head of Studio Hamburg Enterprises, describes the process of maintaining a hit IP for almost two decades.


Young audiences have grown along with Studio Hamburg's "The Peppercorns." The show has been on the air for 18 seasons in Germany, with values like diversity and inclusion at the core of the storytelling. Señal News spoke with Tania Reichert-Facilides, Head of Studio Hamburg Enterprises, to reflect on the global success of the show and the new topics young people can identify with.

"The Peppercorns" is the longest-running live-action children's series on German TV. What is the secret behind the show?
"The series has always dealt with contemporary issues and will continue to evolve with current times. The stories covered in this series include fraud, cybercrime, drug trafficking, bullying, environmental issues such as the declining number of bees and water pollution, domestic violence, and educational challenges such as dealing with Dyslexia. We have always kept representation and diversity at the heart of the storytelling and continue to do so with this new series and its crew of crime fighters with varying backgrounds, passions, ethnicities, and physical abilities."

Why has the series been so successful during these years?
"Live-action for kids never gets boring. Every season brings new stories from the detective's personal lives: from finding first love to problems with siblings, parents, or issues at school. All of the topics covered are universal. At the core of each episode are messages around building teams and working together, finding new friends, and learning how to say goodbye when characters move away to another country."

How has the storytelling been adapted to the current audiences?
"Every two years, there is a new generation of detective kids leading the series, which helps to refresh which current universal topics are addressed. For example, new topics that will be covered this season include smuggling diamonds, accessing the dark web, and bullying on social media – all of which are issues children worldwide can identify with."

How important is it to offer meaningful content to kids over the world?
"For any country in the world, it's important not to disregard the children's market as something that can be quickly filled with shallow and meaningless but 'fun' stories. Of course, we must provide that slice of fun for kids to enjoy, but we have a unique opportunity to educate, lead, inspire, and provide hope to this huge and diverse market. Today's kids have been through very trying times, and content can act as a comfort and a tool. Young audiences must see diverse and inclusive stories, particularly returnable ones they can rely on. That's what we aim to provide through 'The Peppercorns.' We think it has done remarkably well since we've sold the show to Italy, Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland), Benelux (the Netherlands, Belgium), Slovenia, Hungary, and Croatia. We would love to expand the show to Latin America."

Why are diversity and inclusion a key factor for "The Peppercorns"?
"Reflecting the topics younger audiences care about has helped us keep the series strong for so many years, for 18 seasons, making it one of the longest-running kids shows in Europe. Combining this with reliable and authentic yet diverse and relatable characters is key to success. By putting inclusion at the heart of writing, we hope we've inspired a broader range of kids around the world who see themselves reflected in the Peppercorns. An example of that is the Kids Emmy Award the show won in 2017 for the 'Cause I'm a Girl' episode. It was also nominated for an International Emmy in 2019 and has won a Golden Sparrow award. Hopefully, this is a testament to its longevity, and the diverse and inclusive aspects have been key to this success."

By Romina Rodríguez