Miranda Tapsell returns as the voice of Little J in the TV series Little J & Big Cuz.
Miranda Tapsell returns as the voice of Little J in the TV series Little J & Big Cuz. Supplied

The groundbreaking kids TV series building bridges

FROM racism to land rights and gender inequality, Miranda Tapsell has explored some of our most divisive issues through her television roles.

Whether it be the biting comedy of Get Krack!n and Black Comedy or the hard-hitting drama of Redfern Now and Mabo, the Darwin native's choices have never been predictable.

Even her starring role on NITV's Logie-winning series Little J & Big Cuz is more than just playtime.

The animation follows two children (voiced by Tapsell and Deborah Mailman) living with their Nanna and Old Dog who, alongside their friends, reflect on indigenous cultures and ways of learning while navigating the world around them.

 

Miranda Tapsell and Deborah Mailman voice the lead characters in the NITV animation Little J and Big Cuz.
Miranda Tapsell and Deborah Mailman voice the lead characters in the NITV animation Little J and Big Cuz.

 

"Children's television is really leading the way with inclusion and teaching tolerance and understanding," she says.

"But this is also a celebration. It's lovely to see Little J celebrate being Aboriginal. It's not something to be ashamed or scared of; it's something really unique."

Tapsell drew inspiration for seven-year-old Little J from her own family.

Miranda Tapsell voices Little J in the TV series Little J & Big Cuz. Supplied by SBS-TV.
Miranda Tapsell voices Little J in the TV series Little J & Big Cuz. Supplied by SBS-TV.

"When my cousins were little they just had the best timing. They were so beautiful and unaware, and I felt that same spirit was in Little J," she says.

"He's just very funny and joyful but his superpower is the fact that he can pick himself up and dust himself off if he's made a mistake. Learning something new is always exciting, so it's wonderful to remind children of that so school isn't a tedious thing to do.

"But he doesn't just learn things at school. What he learns at school and home are both valuable."

A scene from Little J & Big Cuz.
A scene from Little J & Big Cuz.

Season two will delve into new territory including an episode dedicated to grief and loss.

"The writers have done such an incredible job this season," Tapsell says.

"There's a bird that passes away, so Nanna and Big Cuz help Little J understand his feelings, and remind him just because their time together has come to an end it doesn't diminish the time they did have. I think that's a really important message to give because that stuff comes up when you're quite little."

The groundbreaking series is translated into more than half a dozen Aboriginal languages.

"That's exciting because a lot of Aboriginal languages are dying," she says.

"The best way to learn it is to hear it spoken."

Season two of Little J & Big Cuz premieres on Friday at 7.30pm on NITV.



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