Sid Sloane On Life After CBeebies
Sid Sloane On Life After CBeebies
After lighting up TV screens and children's faces across the country for 11 years on CBeebies presenter Sid Sloane has moved on and is now touring the UK. Here he spills the beans on his life as a kid's TV presenter and his crush on Lorraine Kelly.
Being a children's TV presenter is an unusual job, how did you get your job at CBeebies?
I basically fell into it. I had only left drama school seven months earlier and was just starting out as an actor so being a presenter was something I had never even thought about, all I wanted to do was be an actor and get paid millions of pounds but I was looking for an opportunity to get into TV and fortunately the BBC were looking for some new faces. I was called in for an interview and on the way home my agent called to say I had a screen test the next week and luckily I just managed to get picked.
What was your first day like at CBeebies, it must have been a bit daunting?
Yes it was very nerve-wracking because it was a whole new industry which I had no understanding or experience of. The studio was still being prepared so it was very easy going, just getting to meet people like the scriptwriter and producer and familiarising myself with the visualization of what they had planned. I was very nervous for the first few years to be honest but they were good nerves in that they helped me to focus on what I do.
When you are in front of the camera do you put on a persona or are you being yourself?
I think some presenters can seem a bit patronising and talk down to the camera as if they are talking to babies and I don’t really think that that’s a good thing to do. It was a blessing to me that at the time I started at CBeebies my child was three-years-old so I spoke to the camera as I would if I was speaking with him. That really helped me to focus, so yes I’m completely natural in the way that I speak to the camera.
You must have had your fair share of awkward moments during your time at CBeebies, what was the most cringe worthy?
One day we were recording a link which I thought was a rehearsal and at the end of the link Alex tickled me with a feather duster and I just made this very camp over the top reaction. It was actually a take so it was fine but just a bit cringe worthy when you look back. When we are rehearsing we do tend to have a bit more grown up fun so you quite often get a few botty burps, which I have to say I’m notorious for!
Sid in Action
Would you say you are always as jolly as you come across on screen?
No-one’s ever like that surely? I have a certain amount of energy which lends itself to happiness and I don’t think you can be high energy and unhappy but I’m definitely a happy person with a happy balance to my life.
How do you get on with your fellow CBeebies presenters?
We all get on really well although of course there are one or two who I get on with better than others. I do genuinely get on really well with everyone, even now I’ve left CBeebies I love going and catching up with my friends, I recently saw Kerry performing in her show and I performed with Andy over the summertime. Rebecca and Kath have come to see my show too so we really all do support one another.
Were you surprised by how often you were recognised while out and about?
It’s something that I will never get used to, I find it hard to put into my psyche. There is not a single day that I don’t get recognised, in fact just last week I was in Barcelona and got recognised there, so bizarrely it doesn’t seem to matter where I am people always notice me.
Sid on Tour
You were a presenter on CBeebies for so long, were you ever on the receiving end of any strange fan mail?
Yes I was. It was an early experience and a lady wrote to me who had become a little besotted with me. At this point I have to admit that years ago I developed a little bit of a crush on Lorraine Kelly, mainly because I watched breakfast TV a lot at the time and I thought she seemed like a lovely lady. However, it never became an obsession and it was nothing beyond watching her on TV in my living room, but this lady took it to another level when she wrote that she had noticed that I wasn’t wearing a wedding ring and even sent a photograph of herself inviting me out to dinner. I didn't accept.
So I take it wasn’t Lorraine Kelly then?
Ha-ha, no it wasn’t otherwise I definitely would have gone. But I sent a signed photo back and asked that any fan mail of that nature was not forwarded on to me, as it’s not the kind of thing that I wanted to encourage. Actually I was at an event where I was doing a meet and greet after the show and a mum came up to me and asked me to sign her T-shirt in a place where gentlemen shouldn’t place their hands so I just politely signed the back, but then she sent her daughter up to ask me for my telephone number!
Was it a difficult decision to leave CBeebies after all those years? We hear some mums went into mourning.
Well some still are apparently. Yes it was terribly difficult to tear myself away from what I see as my home but I’ve been in one place for 11 years. All the changes that occurred over the past decade have really benefited me positively, so I’ve had different challenges but they were running out. I thought it was time to take a look at what I wanted to leave as my legacy working in this medium and there is more to Sid than being a kids tv presenter.
And finally, you are back on the road with your tour tell us more about that...
It’s called Sid’s Show and it’s mainly running through half terms and weekends and it’s basically all about a journey where we go to find my shoes and socks. It has funny characters, lots of songs, lots of interaction and getting the kids involved. It’s very colourful and there is plenty to see and do. All the songs are original and it’s just a fantastic show.
We're touring the UK and you are guaranteed to have a great time for 55 minutes and then I get to meet the audience afterwards. Everybody seems to have a really fun time and the feedback is consistent. It’s a show for everyone as it’s suitable for under 2’s through to grannies of 90 and everybody seems to be totally enamoured. I can’t think of a better, more pleasing way to live than to be the person who children come to see as their first theatre experience, and I get to impart my positivity, creativity and love which hopefully they will hold onto and want to go to the theatre a lot more. I really hope that is what the show will encourage them to do.
For details including all tour dates go to Sid's Site
Sid will also be appearing in Pantomime this Christmas as Dandini in Cinderella at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley