We recently caught up with the co-creator of Tractor Ted, Alexandra Heard.
Tractor Ted has been entertaining children for many years. Now, with a new collection of backpacks, colouring pencils, books and DVDs out, we got to find out a little bit more about the friendly green tractor…
Can you tell our readers the background of Tractor Ted?
Tractor Ted started when my children were aged two and three and were completely fascinated by tractors and machines. I couldn’t find anything “real” for them to watch – it was all completely animated. I was talking to my great friend David who has a beautiful Somerset farm and we decided that we should look into producing our own programmes, which would show all the exciting day to day work on the farm and also help link to food and how it is produced. We needed someone to tell the story and thought an animated tractor would be the answer. And as we have seen, children love Tractor Ted and his real life programmes.
Can you tell us about the new books? What new things is Tractor Ted up to?
This is an exciting time for Tractor Ted. We have been busy reanimating him, so he can be more interactive on screen and he has some new friends including Midge the Dog. With the new programming we have published four new books. They are wonderfully story-led and hopefully will help with bedtime and eating carrots!
How important do you think reading to your child early on is?
Reading is so important and we hope that our books will help children who may not be so keen. At this age they just need to learn to enjoy reading and hopefully it will continue as they grow up.
What are the main lessons that Tractor Ted teaches children?
The programmes we make are factual and so children can learn from them. Simply because we are showing them how something is made, or how work is done on the farm and in the countryside.
What has been the response to Tractor Ted from both parents and kids?
We always receive such lovely emails and letters from parents, and even grandparents. Whether it is simply to say thank you or to tell us about children who have sat and read for the first time, or eaten peas for the first time. Or in one case an autistic child who spoke for the first time!
Why do you think that Tractor Ted has been so successful?
The real life has been the key to the success. We are always led by what the children love to see and do and in turn this makes the parents happy too. We hope too that we take away the worry of them watching something at a younger age, because it is like taking them for a trip to the countryside, which is wonderful for children in cities.
How has being a mum helped with creating Tractor Ted?
It wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t as it is down to mine and David’s children and their passions when they were young.
Has Tractor Ted made your children want to live on a farm?!
It has! We now have a couple of pigs, cows and chickens and the occasional hedgehog.
Do you have any more plans for Tractor Ted in the future?
We have many plans in the pipeline, but none that we can reveal yet!
For more information on Tractor Ted and its range of products visit tractorted.co.uk.