Not many shows in Kid’s TV attempt to raise serious social issues, but Mikki vs The World is about to do just that.
The ABC ME series approaches mental health topics with a deliberately light touch, featuring Nigerian-Australian actor Chika Ikogwe as Mikki.
“She’s a psychologist, she’s just opened up a new clinic, she’s recently graduated, but she’s got no clients,” says Libbie Doherty, ABC Head of Children’s Production.
“Every day she unpacks the big issues happening in her life.”
The series uses creative analogies and carefully crafted characters to keep the mental health content entertaining and digestible for young audiences.
Joining Mikki are Carlo Ritchie as Mo and Becky Lucas as Internet Lady. Mikki also calls on ‘real life’ input from local teenagers, musicians, sporting heroes, comedians and experts to help her solve whatever life puzzle she is facing.
There are cameo appearances from Osher Gunsberg, Dilruk Jayasinha, G Flip, Montaigne, Courtney Act, The Veronicas, Nazeem Hussain and more.
“The show is so amazing, in the sense that it’s not talking down to kids. I know when I was younger I really hated that,” says Ikogwe.
“It treats kids like they are intelligent and capable young human beings, which they are. It really delves deep into serious issues without being too overbearing. It’s comedic, it’s fun and it’s exciting to see stuff like this on Australian TV.”
Doherty adds, “She was the most-prepared person we’ve ever had in a children’s program, but on top of that, the crew kept commenting ‘Oh my God, I really feel like I’ve learned something!'”
The production team collaborated with an Australian counselling service for young people, Kids Helpline, to develop the series’ themes and ensure that the series is factually correct and showcasing best mental health practice. Kids Helpline was consulted during the scripting process and counsellors from the service featured as onscreen experts in the series.
Episodes tackle Resilience, Toxic Friends, Peer Pressure, ASD, Sibling Rivalry, Identity Crisis, Social Media Addiction, Depression and more.
“All the episodes were great, but I loved the Bullying episode and the Shame episode,” says Ikogwe.
“I think those are still things that even adults struggle to talk about. Those episodes can be really great tools for people in various environments and circumstances.”
Sunday, 9th May at 5pm on ABC ME.