Thursday 13 August 2015

CBeebies Alex Winters Interview

When I was younger I was an avid Smash Hits reader and it was my dream to one day become a journalist who interviewed celebrities :-) Sadly I never got to work at Smash Hits but who'd have thought all these years later I would have my own little corner of the internet where I write stuff and get to interview actual famous people!!

I recently spoke to the lovely Alex Winters from CBeebies who was happy to answer my questions and take part in Entertaining Elliot's very first celeb interview. We love CBeebies in our house and it was pretty exciting being able to pick his brain! 

Did you always want to work in television?

I always wanted to perform! I either wanted to be a footballer - I used to play when I was younger and I wasn't bad either and at the same time I was in all the school plays and musicals. I had really awful knees though so I had to stop playing football which gave me more time to focus on drama. My sister and I used to often play Blue Peter and take it in turns to be the cameraman and presenter! One of us would a pair of toilet rolls which would be the cameraman and the other would be the presenter making something! I did always fancy childrens television, it made a big impression on me

What do your kids think about you being on TV?

It's sort of different for the 3 of them because I had my eldest before I was on CBeebies and so her and I would sit and watch the bedtime hour. It's taken a funny old progression with her because at first it was "well what's Dad doing on the telly?" which was strange for her! For the other two they don't know any different. George is 6 and for a long while he just thought it was normal, it's only been in the last 2 years maybe that he's realised "oh, not everyones Dad is on telly!". The youngest one doesn't know any different, so its completely normal for her as she's only two.

Whats the most embarrassing thing you've done on CBeebies?!

Do you know what, to do this sort of job you do kinda have to have a low embarrassment threshold! And this probably says a lot about my character but I just find it all hilarious! Floella Benjamin said to Cerrie and I (Cerrie and I started on CBeebies together), that the secret to presenting is when you look down that camera, you're just speaking to one child. So when I'm looking down the camera I'm often thinking of my own children. So when I am dressed in a blond wig and singing to Madonna's Holiday with a brush it's not embarrassing! I just find it hilarious because I think the kids are either going to die with embarrassment or George will wee himself laughing!

Does everyone get along at CBeebies?

You know what, that's a question everyone asks - I think they want us to say "Nooo we can't stand Mister Maker!" . When we all get together,  which is very very rare because everyone's all over the place filming, so the CBeebies panto at Christmas, we all get together and it's great!  We're all such really good friends and they feel like best friends.  I can imagine if someone came along who was a bit prickly then that might be tricky but that's never happened, everyone I've met is genuinely lovely which makes things easier.

How is the new boy Ben settling in?

Oh bless him, talk about thrown in at the deep end! He's had some awful comments online but everyone just needs some time. I can't watch any of the first 6 months of me on CBeebies because I just look completely over the top and over excited! He's doing well though and I hope parents can see he's improved and can see his love and passion for it.

How are ahead do you film the links for CBeebies?

It's about 2 weeks although birthdays we do more, so perhaps 2 or 3 in advance. Our programme schedules change alot - there's a lot to do with scheduling that the general public aren't aware of. Like for instance you're only allowed to show so many hours of animation a week. A schedulers job can be be a bit of a nightmare really. Technically the office need to give themselves time so they can take our links and see what they have and move them around. But then at Christmas that all goes down the pan, we start filming Christmas in October/November!

So your job, I'm guessing it's not 9-5?

We're normally in for about 7.30am and we wrap at maybe 630pm so they're long days and very different to the norm. But you get in, you're into make up and then you're in the studio and you have your pile of scripts. And they say "Right, we're going to do sequence 21!" and you get to read it over together, have a look and then do it. You get sort of 5 minutes because there's a lot of things to get through. In one day you may film a whole week of discover and do for example. It looks like lots of fun and it is, but there's a lot to get through in the day.

If you could present one programme on CBeebies what would it be and why?

Well I'd like to do a new one, a comedy, as I like character acting. For an existing programme I'd quite like to do Mister Maker Around the World! I'd probably be Little Maker, I could help him and hand him the glue!

What's your favourite memory of your time on CBeebies?

I've got so many! I remember the first link, the very first time I walked onto set for filming and we threw to Balamory. The CBeebies pantos every year are a favourite memory! And this year they let Katy and I on Blue Peter for Comic Relief Day as they were trying to break the record for as many shaving foam beards as possible. So for me being on Blue Peter, that was an absolute lifetimes ambition to do that. And my kids thought I was cool because they still love Blue Peter!

I think it's things that are off camera too, so the times that I have with Andy, and Cat and the funny things that would mean nothing to you and aren't even funny but at the time are hysterical. So I've got lots of really good memories, it's hard to pinpoint one.

What was your favourite kids show growing up?

Well it's impossible to keep it to one! I loved Mr Benn, Button Moon and Cockleshell Bay.  And of course I remember Playschool with Derek Griffiths who was my hero. I hope the children nowadays think of the programmes that are on now like I did. It's so nostalgic and I feel all goosebumply when I think of those times. It was the memories that go with it, like being with my mum at home or being looked after by my Grandparents and sat with a toastie at lunchtime watching Mr Benn!

Who were your childhood heroes? (Question from Louise T)

With regards to television it was Derek Griffiths, he was just brilliant. And then my sporting hero as a kid was Mark Hughes who played for Wales and Man Utd. I had posters of him on my wall! I also had lots of posters of Michael Jackson on my wall, I was quite obsessed!

Do you ever get star struck these days when you meet celebrities?

Yes! Either a famous actor who I respect, or a sports person. I met Paula Radcliffe a few weeks ago and I was like a giggling school boy, it was hilarious! I think shes amazing, just brilliant.

What's your favourite part of the job? (From Karen H)

When they let us get out and about to do live appearances definitely!

When is the next pantomime and can we get tickets?! (From Rachel W)

She can certainly apply for tickets!! I can't tell you anything about the next panto but it will be at Christmas and is very very exciting!

Speaking of panto, why does Andy always play the baddies?!

Because he's a very naughty boy! Although in Jack & the Beanstalk I got to play "Fair Deal Fred" which was considered the baddie, even though Andy was the giant, and playing the baddie great! But lets be honest, Andy does it so well although he's the very opposite to those kind of characters. But maybe he won't be the baddie this year!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time, still at CBeebies? 

No, I think we all understand that it's just impossible to be on something like CBeebies for that long. I genuinely don't know where I'll be in 10 years time - although I'd love to be hosting a primetime show on Saturday night television! Call me in 10 years and I'll let you know!

Thank you so much to Alex for the interview, he was just as lovely as how he comes across on telly and it was really interesting getting some behind the scenes CBeebies gossip!

Linking up with...
A Cornish Mum
The Free Range Family


  1. We love Alex in our house! He seems like a really nice guy. I too used to love Smash Hits, do you remember how they used to publish the lyrics for songs? I think that is why I know the words to so many more from that time than I do now (oh and possibly my age too ;) ) xx

    1. Oh I used to love the lyrics, you're right, thats why we know so many old songs and not any now lol! x

  2. Brilliant interview, mine are way beyond the CBeebies days now...although if it gets turned on by accident they do end up mesmerised ha! Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix, he sounds lovely

    Stevie xx

    1. I must admit, I don't mind watching most things on CBeebies. Its the crappy american cartoons I can't stand but luckily my little man isn't really into them yet!

  3. When I first started using Twitter, I used to chat to Alex occasionally. He always came across as a sweet, genuine person. Perfect for kids TV!

    1. yeh he's definitely perfect for kids tv, I reckon it helps that he has his own kids! x

  4. Thankyou SO much forlinking up with #busydoinglife I love this post! He really does seem very genuinely lovely and very down to earth! What an awesome thing for you to be able to do.. I remember Smash Hits very well! What a blast from the past! Do they still publish that magazine??

    1. I don't think they do publish it anymore which is a shame, I might have learnt something from it if I were able to buy it now lol! x

  5. Really interesting interview, thank you! He's such a great presenter so it's nice to know he's nice 'in real life too'! Becky x #busydoinglife

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it and yes I was pleased to hear he was just as nice in real life! x

  6. Thank you for linking up with Anything Goes linky at Blogging Mummy. Wow what an opportunity you had to do this interview thats fantastic. Were not quite into cbeebies here. Were more Fireman Sam and Milkshake channel. x

    1. We occasionally watch Milkshake but theres so many adverts and the presenters are SO perky!!!! xx

  7. My 4 year old still likes cbeebies and no doubt I will be watching it with Ava when she is older. The interview with Alex is really interesting, I used to want to be a kids tv presenter. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix


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