Yes this week, Children’s BBC – the live links in between the shows – turned 30. Two weeks after Phillip Schofield went on air in 1985, I went for an audition at the TV Centre and was told shortly after afterwards that I’d be stepping in when Phillip needed cover.
This happened from April to June plus another two weeks in the Summer, shared with my pal from Piccadilly Radio in Manchester Andy Crane. Well the new MediaCityUK home in Salford took me 200 miles north-west, and thirty years in the past.
When I got there, having checked in to the hotel next door (they were putting me up overnight) I popped in to the studios to get my make-up done, and then I was taken to the green room. There I found a surreal mix of the past presenters from the Broom Cupboard era to the present.
The Broom Cupboard Era was represented by Andy Crane, Simon Potter, Simon Parkin and Toby Anstis. Phillip Schofield and Andi Peters did video greetings, as did a couple of the big female hosts from way back when. It was really nice seeing everyone, including Doreen, the famous secretary who outlasted every single presenter till she retired in 2005.
The last time I’d seen anyone was at her leaving ‘do’ in 2005, so whilst we waited for the live show to start, we had a good chin wag! She remembered my mate Craigy, who worked there as a researcher, so did Charlie Brook! And many other well-known faces
The Broom Cupboard Era!
One or two of them made my day. Ortis who now presents on ‘The Gadget Show’ came up to me when I was talking to Chris Jarvis, both famous faces. And Ortis said to me ‘can I take a selfie of me with you?’ I asked if he was joking but apparently, no, he told me I was one of the reasons why he went into telly! Did make me feel old though!
Great to see Otis and Chris again!
We did our bit and the show went out fabulously well, everyone celebrated the longevity of one of the biggest iconic broadcasters of our childhoods, and we took a big group shot at the end. Look at this photo and this video and you’ll get a tiny insight as to what we got up to behind the scenes.
The clip is what was happening behind the scenes whilst we awaited the big photo opportunity. And minutes later it was on Twitter!
It was a super night. Even Hacker was nice to me! Lol! I had to get this shot specially for my nieces, right? At the end, ‘they’ asked if I could help cut the cake with Andy and Simon Parkin since I was the *gulp* first one out of all of them, to have presented The Broom Cupboard.
Time to cut the cake
It’s a super part of my formative-presenting-years and I was proud to be involved. Not sure the 40th will be quite the same though! It’ll probably be all on the internet in another ten years! Watch the show here!
All photos are copyright BBC.