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Agenda Five minutes with... ANDY DAY

CBeebies presenter and front man of BAFTA-nominated Andy’s Wild Adventures explains why he loves working with children, and tells us about his recent foray into the music business!

How did you end up working in children’s television? From the age of 17 I knew I wanted to be entertaining children, so I just pushed for it. I worked for a while at Nick Junior doing their ‘Jump Up’ tour with Stephanie from Lazy Town. I performed in pantomimes and pursued various other projects, including ones that my friend and I put together ourselves and pitched to different production companies. Then, in 2006, I found there was an open audition after one of the presenters left CBeebies. About 2,000 performers went for it, and after three auditions I found myself in the last 15. It just so happened that they chose me – luckily! I believe I was very different from the other presenters who auditioned, and they felt I’d slot into the team nicely.

What do you enjoy most about working with young people? I love their energy and honesty! We forget our childlike selves all too often – working with young people on a daily basis is a great reminder of how we once were. I recently met two dinosaur-obsessed brothers who were dressed up as prehistoric explorers (as I do in my show, Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures). They told me that they had created the costumes themselves with help from their mum, quoted lines from the show, and told me about all the dinosaur facts they had learned! Children are like sponges, and take so much joy in expressing themselves and being creative. To be a part of that, and see the way the shows 

You’ve launched a new album, reported to bridge the gap from nursery rhymes to adult pop. Is this is a niche that’s missing? Yes! I think we live in a very fast-paced world, 

to monitor what exactly their children have access to, and to censor inappropriate music and videos online. When making the album, we wanted the music to be cool enough that children aged six to ten would actually want to listen to it – at that age, whether something is ‘cool’ or not is pretty important! We did make this album for adults, too, but often  online, not the parents!

School discos are popular with PTAs – any fond memories?    danced with my schoolboy-crush Samantha Richardson at a school disco once. I was six!

How important do you think music is to children as they grow up? It’s incredibly important – as important as it is for adults. I want this album to really connect with children. We are creatures of habit, and if we listen to music that has a positive, fun message, it will have an effect on us – hopefully in a positive way! The album has a running theme of ‘being individual is cool’.

What was it like shooting a music video? Are children being exposed to too much, too young? It was brilliant fun shooting the music video, watching your ideas come to life. We had to call in lots of favours to get it done, but were lucky enough to get a talented bunch of people to help. It is very important to us that the music and any videos we make are accessible and work on multiple levels, as we want them to be family entertainment. We were always mindful about what we were putting on screen, knowing it will be watched and listened to mainly by a pre-school

audience. Anything you do nowadays and put online or out there for the public you have to take resposibility for; you are a role model in your own right when you put videos up of any kind – we were mindful that all ages might be watching or listening.

You’re a goodwill ambassador for children’s charity Angels – how did you get involved? Emma, who works on all the PR for the charity, is a mum and had heard that I was doing an album. Angels were getting involved in a music project and wanted me to be at the front of it. They approached me and were lovely. They work very hard on raising awareness and money for children in impoverished areas, including South Africa. They are all volunteers and passionate about helping to feed and educate children. I then called up my very good friends at ‘Bunkersonix’, who are music producers and co-wrote the album Who Invited This Lot? for our band, Andy and the Odd Socks. We then worked on creating a song and music video to raise funds for the Angels charity. You can donate via my website



 Who invited this lot? by Andy and the Odd Socks to give away, worth £7.99 each. Turn to p14 for entry details. SUMMER 2016 17

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