Children become Montezuma’s Chocolates stars with new screen series

Gaining the chance to become Willy Wonka for a week at Montezuma’s Chocolates proved an opportunity not to be missed by a group school children who appeared in a British TV documentary screen on Channel 4 this evening. Neill Barston reports 

An enterprising group of six youngsters from across the UK have been offered a unique insight into chocolate making at Montezuma’s Chocolates in Chichester, as part of a TV documentary series.

The six children, aged 6-8, from across Britain were chosen for a three-part Channel 4 prime time series, called When I Grow Up, were given the chance to design and taste their very own series of bars and buttons. They were also given a taste of a running a business through serving customers at one of the company’s stores.

Designed as a social experiment, the series from Optomen Television, aimed to encourage children to broaden their horizons from a young age, offering them the chance to work on a national magazine, as well as an estate agency business.

Helen Pattinson, Montezuma’s co-founder comments, “Taking part in the documentary was so much fun, though it was a completely mad week – we hadn’t realised how much of our lives it would take up, but the children were fantastic and they were all real characters and we were actually quite sad to see them go at the end of it all.

“They all had to audition for the show and were chosen from around the country, and we were struck by how mature some of them seemed. But when they realised that they’d be spending time with us, all they wanted to do was stick their heads in all the chocolate, which is something that’s hard enough to resist as an adult!”

She added that getting the children involved with the production end of the business “proved chaotic” but she felt that they had learned a lot from the experience, and perhaps challenged some of their own pre-conceptions about future work prospects.

“My main hope for it is that it doesn’t come across as being too contrived and I feel they would have taken something from it in knowing that there are many different jobs out there that you can do. I’d love to be able to do another piece with them in the future to see how they get on,” explained Pattinson, who said the company had explained its core values to them of how to treat suppliers, customers and staff correctly, and also respecting the environment.

Melanie Loudonsack, Producer at Optomen Television who created the series, added: “We approached Montezuma’s as we felt its reputation as an innovative, fun and independent chocolate company was a great fit, with lots of scope for creativity, and a variety of roles and areas for the children to be involved in, giving them the opportunity to really understand the origins of chocolate. It was fantastic to see the children trying different job roles whilst sharing their ideas, suggestions, wit and wisdom!”

  • The show will be screened this evening (Thursday 9th May) on UK television at 8pm on Channel 4.

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