Most parents will tell you that entertaining one toddler is hard enough – but presenter Chris Jarvis admits he can’t wait to tackle a theatre full of youngsters in Lichfield.
The CBeebies presenter joins TV partner Pui Fan Lee at the Lichfield Garrick on August 29 and 30.
And after a career which began back in the days of the Broom Cupboard in the nineties, Chris is still enthusiastic about a job he loves.
He told The Lichfield Blog:
“I guess we all love to let our hair down from time to time very few adults go to the pantomime and sit purse-lipped hoping for some intellectually stimulating satire. Most join in and enjoy being kids again – and we get to do that every day on CBeebies.
“I aspire to being an all-round entertainer; I sing, act, tell jokes, impersonate, play musical instruments and puppeteer. Pui is in a similar boat – as well as being a trained actress she is a talented artist. Where else on television could we do all that and not be arrested?”
And now the jump from screen to stage will take place as their show hits the road for a nationwide tour.
But the difficulties of keeping a live audience of youngsters entertained isn’t lost on Chris. He said:
“Holding the attention of very young children can be a tricky job. We strive to do that with a programme of material that evolves and keeps moving – swiftly but not frenetically – while hopefully stimulating young minds with a few one-liners for their mums and dads.”
It’s a formula that has worked spectacularly for Chris and his Show Me, Show Me partner Pui.
The duo first linked up when they began working for CBeebies nine years ago.
And he admits that the on-screen duo are just as good pals off screen. He explained:
“Pui and I started together on TV when CBeebies began, although we first met a long time before that at the Rock Island Diner at the top of the Trocodero Centre in London. We get on very well off screen as well as on and share a sense of humour.
“We have just filmed a new series of Show Me, Show Me which will be broadcast on CBeebies in September – and we’ve just been blessed with a further re-commission so will make another series early in 2011.”
With many of the channels aimed at youngsters broadcasting a raft of animated shows, you might be forgiven for thinking that Chris might fear for the future of an industry that he holds so close to his heart.
But the presenter insists the children’s TV landscape is returning to the “golden age” of yesteryear.
“My favourite pre-school shows were Rainbow, Playschool and a show called Pipkins – very few people seem to remember that but I thought it was strangely fantastic.
“I also enjoyed Mr Ben, Rupert and Mary, Mungo and Midge – a show which helped inspire the location for our programme Show Me, Show Me set on the 10th floor of a tower block. Later I graduated onto Blue Peter and hilarious shows like Rentaghost and Worzel Gummage.
“I think – and hope people will agree – the golden age of children’s television has continued. Blue Peter and Newsround are back on top form and shows like Horrible Histories are awesome.”
But Chris is hoping Lichfield youngsters will take a break from the small screen to see the live show at the Garrick.
And he’s even letting them bring an adult along too!
He explained the format of the live show:
“There are sketches, songs and rhymes imported from our television appearances but the theatre is a very different medium – there are many things we do on the telly that we could not achieve nor wish to do on stage.
“The greatest thing about theatre is that we can see and hear the audience. We can be more interactive – we involve the audience more and love it when children bring along a soft toy to join in with – obviously they must also bring along a grown up to ensure the toy is looked after and makes the journey home again!”
Chris and Pui will be at the Lichfield Garrick on August 29 and 30. Tickets start from £6.50 and can be booked from www.lichfieldgarrick.com or by calling the box office on 01543 412121.