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Rhonda Merrick, of Hurst Road, Kennington creates TV show 'The Brilliant Book' inspired by her own son

By Samantha Williams

A woman from Ashford has created a new TV show for children.

The Brilliant Book is the brainchild of Rhonda Merrick and will premiere on the Community Channel in October.

Ms Merrick, 47, who was born in New Orleans, says the fun and educational show was inspired by her son, Benjamin, nine, who is on the autistic spectrum.

Rhonda with son Benjamin Taylor, Daniel Swann and Phillip Swann

She said: “A few years ago one of Benjamin’s teachers suggested he make a book that would include all the brilliant things he has achieved at school.

"This is where the idea came from. We want to make learning and reading fun, as well as increasing the literacy levels across the nation.”

Each 30-minute episode, which will be loosely based on a letter of the alphabet, will include animated segments, drawn by Ms Merrick herself, a 'brilliant friend of the day' and film clips showing Benjamin and a group of his friends going on adventures.

Most of the music will be produced by Ms Merrick’s band, Rhonda and the Great Unknown.

She said: “At first I wasn’t sure if Benjamin would be in the show, even though it was inspired by him, but I wasn’t sure if he could cope.

"We want to make learning and reading fun, as well as increasing the literacy levels across the nation.” - Rhonda Merrick

"But once I told him about the idea, he naturally assumed he would be the star, and so he was cast as the lead. Its great because it is something we can do together.

"The ‘friend of the day’ is a great way to show children what different jobs and careers there are out there.”

Ms Merrick, Benjamin and his troop of friends, which includes his step-brothers Daniel and Phillip Swann, usually spend their weekends filming new adventures for the series so that it will be ready to run on the Community Channel from October, including a baking session.

It will also be available to view on Freeview, BBC iPlayer and YouTube.

Ms Merrick, who moved to Ashford last year and currently works part-time as a tutor for Tuition Extra, is looking for people from different professions to feature in the 'friend of the day’ section of the show.

If you would like to contribute, contact Ms Merrick on 07851 413060.

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