How does it work?

We’ve lined up some of the UK’s most renowned children’s writers from publishing and television to write stories. Our entrants respond to one these stories with an illustration or animation.

The work is then judged by a panel from the industry. With the winners earning themselves a paid internship with one of our fantastic partner companies.

The Hook: the author of each individual story is kept a secret until the night of the awards!

The prizes

An internship

A paid internship at one of the brightest and best studios working in the children’s industry.

Find out more

A mentor

We'll partner you up with someone who has been in your shoes or has years of industry experience. They'll be there to help you make the most of your internship and support your decision making on your what's next.

The Secret story draw sessions

Just by making a submission, you’ll automatically be entitled to attend the Secret Story Draw Sessions. A series of money-can’t-buy creative workshops given by industry insiders dedicated to giving you the inside track on everything you need to know to take your talent to the next level. Sessions and speakers to be announced.

Meet our judges

Ore Oduba - Celebrity Judge at The Secret Story Draw
Ore Oduba

Ore Oduba is a broadcaster and actor who has been entertaining audiences ever since winning the 14th series of Strictly Come Dancing. Hosting flagship shows such as This Morning, The One Show as well as countless hours on BBC Radio 2, Ore is one of the most versatile presenters around, from Saturday night TV host to fronting some of the biggest national events live to audiences of millions! The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Ariana Grande’s global concert One Love Manchester to name but two.

Axel Scheffler - Star Judge at The Secret Story Draw
Axel Scheffler

Axel Scheffler was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1957. He studied history of art in Hamburg, before moving to the United Kingdom to study illustration at Bath Academy of Art in 1982. Since then, he has worked as an illustrator in London. He is best known for the children's books he has illustrated through his partnership with author, Julia Donaldson. Together they created The Gruffalo, which has sold over 14 million copies in 85 countries throughout the world. He lives in London.

Meet our judges

Jamila Metran

CHAIR  OF JUDGING PANEL - Jamila has over 20 years’ experience in the kids  industry.  She’s currently Director of Sony Kids Network overseeing POP,  Tiny POP and POP Max.     
Jamila  started her career in distribution for TV and film company  Fireworks International (now Kew Media) before going on to specialise in  children’s television.    She became commissioning broadcaster at CITV where she worked for 14 years.

Elliott Palmer

Elliott Palmer is a freelance Producer and consultant currently working as Animation Development Producer at King Bert Productions. Up until December 2020 he was Production and Development Manager for Nickelodeon International, responsible for sourcing talent and development projects from around the world for the broadcaster. Before joining Nickelodeon, Elliott was a Script Editor at BBC Children’s, working on CBBC’s Danger Mouse and CBeebies’ Go Jetters.

Tom Beattie is Head of Kids and Family programming for Tiger Aspect Productions.He is creative producer of the Mr Bean animated series and creator of Danny & Mick for CBBC. His other credits include Tinga Tinga Tales, Aliens Love Underpants, Pirates Love Underpants and Charlie and Lola.

Tom Box is co-founder and joint MD of Blue Zoo Animation. Over the last 21 years, the studio has become the biggest dedicated CG animation studio in the UK, picking up a few BAFTAs along the way. Tom has been the driving force behind the studio's use of technology to facilitate their creativity.

Tom is an Emmy award winning Creative Director for Jellyfish Pictures. He oversees the creative direction of their key projects, and over the last ten years he has creatively led successful projects for BBC, Netflix, Apple, Sky, PBS, National Geographic, CNN, Participant and Channel Four.

Louise Bucknole

Louise is VP Programming Kids, Nickelodeon Network and Milkshake! Channel 5 UK & Ireland, with over twenty years’ leadership experience as a content strategist and commissioner. She is the kids content lead, responsible for all editorial and content strategy and sits on the Nickelodeon International Programming Council.

Adam Campbell

Adam Campbell is Director of Product at Azoomee, Co-founder of POC in Play and CEO of new games label, StudioAC Games. He's also a board member of UKIE, BAFTA judge and an award winning producer, with a career spanning 12 years in industry.

Ted Ty

Ted Ty is the Global Head of Character Animation at DNEG. He brings over 25 years of experience in both 2D and 3D animation from Walt Disney Animation, DreamWorks and others.

Steve Harding-Hill

Creative Director at Aardman Animations and director of advertising campaigns for clients such as ITV, National Lottery and Nike to name a few. He created the animated DFS campaign and has just directed Aardman’s first 4D short ‘The Bear & the Squirrel’ for leading European theme-park Efteling.

Laura Henry-Allain MBE

An international award-winning Early Education specialist, creator of the well-loved CBeebies characters JoJo and Gran Gran, vice-president of the British Association for Early Childhood Education and educational consultant in children’s media, particularly in the areas of inclusion, racial equality and diversity.

Jodie Hodges

Jodie Hodges is a literary agent for children’s authors and illustrators at United Agents, London. She represents award winning and bestselling creators across children’s publishing; working on stories and non-fiction for all ages from babies to teenagers.

Darren Nartey

Acquisitions Manager for all acquired Films and Kids content across the ITV portfolio. He has acquired and co-produced a range of live-action and animated comedies such as Detention Adventure, Lloyd of The Flies, Mr Bean and Mr Magoo. He was previously Acquisitions Executive for Channel 5.

Selom Sunu

Selom Sunu studied MA Character Animation has since balanced a day job with freelance Illustration and Character Design. You will rarely find him without a pencil in hand, and characters are at the heart of everything he creates. He loves thinking up my own backstories, whether it’s for a brief, or for a personal project. Selom is a devoted Christian and lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Jackie Edwards

Jackie is Head of the BFI Young Audiences Content Fund, and is responsible for the successful implementation of this game changing UK Government initiative to stimulate the provision of public service content for audiences of 0-18,
Jackie joined the BFI from BBC Children’s where she had been the Head of Acquisitions and Independent Animation, responsible for pre-buying and acquiring live-action and animated programming for CBeebies, CBBC and iPlayer. 
A passionate advocate for public service content, Jackie is living her dream job!

About the internships

Each internship will be paid. Internships will run for at least 3 months. Internships will be based in the studio or remote working (COVID) as agreed by the participating studio. Studios will provide computer/equipment for both studio and home-working for the duration of the internship.
We have tried to select studios from across the UK. Below is a list of the current studios taking part and their regional locations.

Aardman Animations, Ltd

Bristol, UK

Blue Zoo Animation Studio

London, UK

Jellyfish Pictures, Ltd

London, UK

Fourth Wall Creative

Birkenhead, UK


Altrincham, UK


London, UK


London, UK

King Bert

London, UK

Double Negative

London, UK

Locksmith Animation

London, UK

Flix Facilities

Manchester, UK