This morning was an exciting one. A boy and a girl left a cinema on Regent St giddy, giggling and excited after some close celebrity encounters. That was me and Nathan, but Reuben was pretty hyped too.
It was all so unexpected. I knew we were going to a screening of some new CBeebies shows, compered by SidBeebies but I didn’t expect Sid to be out mingling with us before it started. Neither did Roo, and he was a bit taken aback. I don’t think he quite knew what to say, but it did make him very happy…
But there was more! We also met Dr Ranj, of “Get Well Soon” fame (and Reuben was thrilled to learn that he knew the father of his BFF….we’ve been telling him this for ages, but he didn’t believe it until he heard it from the doctor himself). Mister Maker was wandering around, as were the child actors of the new shows we were there to see. There was a magician and a lady making balloon animals, and I smiled at someone I thought I knew, because she was smiling at Eva and saying how cute she was. It was only when I went to talk to her that I realised I didn’t know her – it was Luisa from “The Apprentice”.
On the way into the screening, Jean Adamson, author of the “Topsy and Tim” books, attempted not to step on any of the small children and when we sat down, there was an exuberant guy called Ray behind us, walking a toddler called Harry about. Some extensive googling leads me to believe this was Ray Quinn, of X Factor fame. There were probably other celebrities there, but I’m not too hot on “slebs” and wouldn’t have recognised them. But I did recognise Floella Benjamin.
Enough of the smug schmoozing talk! What were we actually there to see? Well, it was the premiere of two brand new Beebies shows, along with a new episode of “Tree Fu Tom”. Sid introduced the shows with a chorus of “If you’re happy and you know it” and then we saw a few previews of some upcoming shows. There are some exciting and puzzling new developments. Are you ready for this….?
Let’s start off mildly – there’s a new character in “Old Jack’s Boat” – he seems to be a kind of rival sailor. So far, pretty innocuous. There’s a new music-based show called “Melody” and another one about starting school. “My Story” seems to have moved away from mainly-Scottish tales, with a scene of some pearly kings and queens doing the Lambeth Walk (We have lived just off Lambeth Walk for years now, and I have never yet met anyone doing this).
Slightly more intriguing – Kip the inventor seems to have built a time machine, as Andy is now going on some dinosaur adventures. Nathan was very excited about that, and Reuben was too.
But the big news? “Grandpa in my Pocket” has new grandchildren! Jason Mason is now a gangly teen, who has passed the magical mantle onto some other children (presumably his cousins) and the story centres around them now. If you’re a “Grandpa” purist, this may upset you…
So, onto the main events and first up was “Katie Morag”. This won’t upset anyone – it’s a simple, lovely tale about a girl growing up on the (fictional) Isle of Struay in the Hebrides. It’s about family, small island life and gentle comedy – nothing particularly ground-breaking, but very well done and well acted by the lead, Cherry Campbell. When interviewed by Sid, she said that her favourite bit of filming was “everything”, then told a joke about a “wee chimney”. She was a bit adorable.
Next was some Tree Fu Magic, which Sid demonstrated to us, along with Cherry and the other child actors. Sid may have regretted his choice of very tight jeans when demonstrating the “Big Ant” spell and….I’m not going to sugar coat it for you readers….there was a flash of CBeebies pant-age. Neon pink at that. Mothers throughout the audience are still trying to calm down.
Talking of mothers calming down, there may be some disappointment when the new “Tree Fu Tom” series airs, as the luscious tones of David Tennant have been replaced. I imagine he’s busy doing Shakespeare or something and it doesn’t detract too much from the all-new Tree Fu, which is as pacey and action-packed as ever. The replacement does a good DT impression, but real Tennant
obsessives connoisseurs may notice the difference.
And so it was time for “Topsy and Tim”. I used to enjoy the books when I was a kid, and Roo enjoys them now though for the grown-ups reading them aloud, they can seem a little repetitive. The point of the books is to explore the everyday things that 5-year-olds do, and the TV series captures that pretty faithfully. The episode we saw concerned the twins making cardboard copies of themselves and arguing with Mummy over bunk beds. There was some foreshadowing, setting up future episodes that Nathan and I recognise from the books (“Topsy and Tim Move House”, “Topsy and Tim and the New Baby”). It was well done, and fans of the books will love it, but there’s no getting round the fact that these are not the most exciting stories you will ever watch. But hey, we have “Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures” for that….
On the way out, we bumped into Mister Maker, annoyed him by calling him Mister Liker-Biker and Roo’s day was complete. And we have some very interesting autumn viewing to look forward to…