Creative Crick couple choose life in the slower lane on board their narrowboat after exciting times with the stars
When it comes to being creative, there's nothing a Crick couple who live on board a narrowboat won't try their hand at.
Mike and Janet Roberts live an idyllic life on their boat with their cheeky Jack Russell Chico.
They are the brains behind ‘Chico Chugg’ – a live-action programme for pre-school children which follows the canal adventures of their pet dog.
They run an award-winning TV production company Chugg Productions – which they founded with producer Anita Ramdharry.
Janet wrote a series of books about Chico’s exploits on which the series is based, while Mike – who was a pop star in the 80s with Coventry band King, and was also a member of Dexys Midnight Runners – penned and performed all the music for the series.
Janet, a retired primary school teacher deputy headteacher, said: "Several years ago we decided it was time for a change, so I gave up my job, sold the house and bought a narrowboat.
"Some of our friends thought we were a bit crazy, but we felt it was the right thing to do."
Janet spends her time writing books and creating stories for children’s TV.
She also makes and sells delightful clay models and has recently been commisioned to make a scaled down version of a customer's house. Next on her list is making soap dishes for two ladies who live in West Haddon who make their own soap.
"My passion of working with clay started over 40 years ago at university when I chose pottery for my art and design focus when training to be a primary teacher," Janet added.
"Over the last 30 years I have made pottery gifts for relatives using friends’ kilns and wheels but now with recently having my own kiln and beautiful old kick wheel, I am excited about trying to sell some of my creations.
"I went on to teach for almost 30 years as well as living in Germany and America and having three children. "
She said she loves the exciement of handmade creations.
"They are all unique," added Janet, who has written six children’s books, four of which feature Chico and his adventures on the narrowboat.
"That’s why I love working with clay, you never know what will happen on the journey."
Several years ago the couple were joined by a producer who used to work at the BBC, to form their own production company.
They went on to make two TV series inspired by Janet's books with songs and music produced by Mike.
Janet said: "The 49 episodes have been on SKY, numerous VOD channels and Chico’s own youtube channel. They have also been translated into Welsh for S4C where Chico is now known as Nico Nog. He even has has his own website for kids.
"Before lockdown, Mike and I were getting regularly booked, through an agency, to go into schools and do workshops inspiring children with writing and reading.
"We're not sure where our journey will lead us next - and that's what keeps life exciting."
For more information on Janet's work, email [email protected]