Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Justin Fletcher - the interview!!! Plus a fabulous giveaway




Sometimes as a blogger, the most amazing opportunities land in your inbox.

When I found out I was to interview Justin Fletcher by telephone, a veritable god of children’s TV,  I think I was even more excited than Ruby!  What to ask the great man?  The BAFTA award winning Justin Fletcher MBE is used to being interviewed by experienced journalists and radio presenters, so sparing the time to speak to me, in a busy Cornish cafĂ© with dodgy mobile reception and a hyper pre-schooler had the potential to go horribly wrong.

Hearing he was running a little late from his interview with Richard Bacon on BBC radio 5 Live did nothing to calm my nerves, but luckily Justin is a pro – so at least one of us involved was!

As you’d expect, he was supremely modest and lovely, and was pleased to hear that we are fans of his new album ‘Hands Up’.  I asked him what the thinking was behind making the familiar songs so up-tempo and high energy and he explained that the song choice came from his live shows.  He took his cue from the songs which were best received and got lots of audience participation, and as he’d wanted to make an album the whole family could join in and sing along with – a real party feel.




Justin has seen the viral video of the fitness routine by Steve Teasdale and thinks it’s brilliant!  I asked him how he felt about a growing number of parents using his album as a fitness tool and did he ever imagine he’d become a fitness guru?

He seemed to find this most amusing and said he really didn’t think he had the physique to be a fitness guru – whilst he is a member of a gym he rarely gets time to go and his locker key now has cobwebs on.  He explained that he gets all his exercise from his slapstick routines and from the live show.  The show finale, Hands Up is always a very physical moment on stage.





I told him how much we love Something Special.  I particularly remember the episode filmed at the Children’s Trust in Tadworth, and explained how his use of Makaton has helped Ruby communicate with children with special needs.  I asked him how he thought the programme has changed children’s and parent’s perception of other children with special needs.

Clearly (and rightly) he’s immensely proud of his work in this area.  He was thrilled when the initial pilot episode became an overnight success and more shows were commissioned.  He feels that the decision to take the show ‘out and about’ was the best thing for the programme – it has made the children themselves the stars of the show, and gives children a voice through signing where they might otherwise have had none.  He was very complimentary about the Children’s Trust which he described as a ‘fantastic place’.  Something Special is the only show on cBeebies which has a protected slot – 9.45 every weekday morning.  I think it’s brilliant the BBC have taken into account that a lot of SEN kids have a real need for routine and familiarity, and by keeping the show’s schedule constant, parents and children can always rely on it being there.

I asked him if he knew Makaton before Something Special or whether he’d learnt it specifically for the show.  Amazingly he said that although he’d heard of it, having been around for several decades, he didn’t know a single sign.  He undertook a 2 week crash course and mastered 3-400 signs in that time.

We spoke briefly about children’s TV when we were kids.  Johnny Ball is credited with helping a generation understand maths, Tony Hart inspiring art and Johnny Morris is forever remembered for his work with animals and conservation.  I wondered what Justin hoped his legacy would be?

Supremely modest, he said he’d never even thought about his career in those terms.  He’s been doing a job he loves for 17 years and still has a lot more to give.  He told me his childhood idols were the likes of Brian Cant and Derek Griffiths, but felt that if he could be remembered for the work he did on Something Special, then it couldn’t get better than that.

Justin is so instantly recognizable to kids and adults alike I wondered how this impacted on his day-to-day life.  I have visions of him getting mobbed by pre-schoolers every time he goes to buy a pint of milk!  He did admit that if he nips to the supermarket is an old pair of sweat pants, he might pull on a baseball cap in the hope he doesn’t get spotted looking like that, but on the whole he welcomes approached and feedback.  He said he does often get recognized and gets attention, but that it’s all good.



Wearing a waistcoat in honour of the great man

At last is was My Shadow’s turn to ask a question.  She’d been practicing hard but I feared she would clam up and go shy.  She didn’t.  She did amazingly well and I was so proud.  She did have to repeat herself as she has a tendency to hold the phone at arm’s length, but she asked him what his favourite song on the album was.  He replied that his absolute favourite was ‘Hand’s up’ but he also really liked Heads, shoulders, knees and toes.  Ruby loves these two as well, but her favourite is 10 in the bed.

Justin is a busy guy at the moment.  Not only has his new album just released, there are new series planned and he's performing in the UK tour of the CBeebies Live show - Reach to the Stars.


Photo credit: BBC CBeebies Live!



Along with a host of other favourites including Andy, Phil, Katy and Mister Maker, the show promises to be an all action; all singing and dancing star-filled spectacular.


I have one family ticket to giveaway (read below for venue/date/time) along with a copy of Justin Fletcher's new CD and a signed photograph.  To enter, simply leave me a comment stating which is your child's favourite Justin Fletcher role - do they love Justin's House, or are they fans of Mr Tumble?  Perhaps Gail Force or Anna Conda gets them giggling?


For a bonus entry, you can tweet the following and leave another comment here saying you have done so: "I'm entering with @missielizzieb to #win a family ticket to #CBeebies Live, Justin Fletcher's album & signed photo http://bit.ly/zfVolw.


This competition will close at 12 noon on Wednesday 21st March 2012.  The winner must respond and provide postal details within 3 days or I reserve the right to re-draw.  The ticket for CBeebies Live will be a family ticket (for 4 persons max) for Wembley Arena, on Sunday 1st April 2012, the 5pm show.  The ticket is not transferable.  Please make sure you leave a suitable method of contact so I can let you know if you've won!



I'd like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Justin and his team for setting this up. 

Please note, I am not responsible for any changes, alterations or cancellations to the planned shows or tickets offered.  


102 comments:

  1. Sounds like he is a really nice man. Ruby did well, didn't she!

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  2. Mr Tumble? Meeeester Tuuumble?! He's a bit ubiquitous and all children's telly drives me bonkers but my littlest loves Gigglebiz and after all it's not aimed at me! Good on him for his inclusion work with kids with SN.

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  3. What a lovely interview - he sounds very modest. Well done Ruby, you are a star, but don't take over your mum's media career just yet, we want more of Liz on the airwaves!

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  4. Fantastic interview! My kids love Justin! travelled 200 miles at xmas to go and see him in Panto! just asked 3 yr old who his fav character is his reply "i like justin when he is Justin"!!!!

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  5. big fans of mr tumble for sure

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  6. Aww how lucky - we love Mr Tumble in this house. Great interview. He sounds as lovely in real life too! Isla's favourite is Mr Tumble.
    Have tweeted too xxx

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  7. Have tweeted
    @ammalinetheduck

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  8. Samuel's favourite is Justin's House. He is dying to go to this Cbeebies Live. @clairew137

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  9. I have tweeted - @clairew137

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  10. My child's favourite is Mr Tumble, my favourite is Justin's House! We're huge Justin fans in this house, and I'm even more impressed with him after hearing how fast he learnt makaton!

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  11. I've tweeted too! @sparkles07

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  12. victoria wilkes08 March, 2012 22:02

    My son and my niece are tumble fans. I even watch it with them as i think he is so good with the children and it teaches them not to be discriminative towards disabled people. Cant tweet but hope im still in the draw :) x

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  13. My 2 year old absolutely adores Mr Tumble, my 4 year old prefers Gail Weathers et al :) They both enjoy Justins House :) @pipersky1

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  14. I've tweeted @pipersky1 :)

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  15. I have to say my daughter loves Mr Tumble best but I love all Justin's programmes.
    @maisietoo

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  16. I have tweeted.@maisietoo

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  17. At the moment his favourite would be Justins House but he is still partial to Mr Tumble and even at 5 loves the program!

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  18. My Granddaughter likes Justins House @mamamakes

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  19. I've Tweeted too :-) @mamamakes

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  20. What a great interview. He sounds so lovely. Ethan loves Mr Tumble, although he has figured out that Justin and Mr Tumble are the same man and finds that rather confusing... hehe!

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  21. Have just tweeted. @Medicatedfollow

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  22. My little girl loves Mr Tumble- He is such a legend! @esthermate

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  23. New to twitter and its my first tweet - I think - all a bit confusing!

    @louise_A_Perry

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  24. My son really like Mr Tumble!
    @Dorothee77

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  25. What a great interview. He sounds so lovely. Aaron loves Mr Tumble, and whenever he sees Justin as himself (justins house ect) he he gets all excited and shouts mr tumble xxx

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  26. has to be Mr tumble for us!
    @iheartmuthahood

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  27. My 2yr old loves all of Mr Tumbles characters especially Aunt Polly she laughs when she eats all the cakes!! I credit Justin with teaching my little one to talk, before she watched SS she could only say 1 word now she says whole sentances her fave word at the moment is pineapple!!
    Ive tweeted @LaurensMum2010

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  28. Brilliant! I'd also say mrrrrrr tummmmmmmmble, mrrrrrr tummmbbbble? Heeeeee-looooooow

    @ButtonF1Fan

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  29. I can't believe I am jealous you got to speak to Justin but I am! Would love to win as my son is a huge fan, his favourite is Mr Tumble who makes him giggle!

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  30. Tweeted too @gingerbread_mum

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  31. Ooooh which one?! Well to be honest Boo's favourite is Justin in Justin's house! He loves the way he interacts with Robert and little monster! (I have to confess this is also one of my favourites!) @goriami

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  32. Mr Tumble! My little girl adores him and is currently trying to teach her baby sister how to say it! :-) Great to hear about him, I met him once a while back and he was as funny, smiley and charming then as he sounds in your interview :-) x Will Tweet too as @Carriecakes80

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  33. My little girl love MR TUMBLE :) always brings a smile to her face and to mine seeing the enjoyment she gets taking part and watching the programe

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  34. My little girls favourite has to be Mr. Tumble!! She especially loves grandad tumble!!

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  35. My daughter loved Justins House, the only programme she asks to watch!

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  36. Mr Tumble!!! Or as our daughter says 'Oh Miiiiiister Tummmmmmble!' Everyone in our house including myself love him! xxx
    catcollins1983@hotmail.co.uk

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  37. my little girl has special needs, and LOVES mr tumble!!!

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  38. all my kids(5 of them) either used to or still do in the case of youngest all loved mr tumble, he made them laugh but while doing so taught them new skills to, admission even i like him as mr tumble :) twitter name @no1mumslh also tweeted

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  39. It's got to be mr tumble, my daughter loves him as did my nephew when he was younger

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  40. Mr tumble and granddad tumble. my kids have all loved watching Justin. we saw him at Lego land once. such a lovely man.

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  41. mr tumbles!!! were watching it right now, then i'll have to rewind it on sky+ so she can watch it again!

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  42. My little girl love MR TUMBLE :) always brings a smile to her face and to mine seeing the enjoyment she gets taking part and watching the programe she loves seeing what will be in the bag today MIIIIIISTER TUUUUUMBLE :) twitter name-@angel198128
    hope ive done that right its my first time here

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  43. Mr Tumble - hes the one for my wee man. thank-you

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  44. My Little girl loves Justin's house

    helenejohnson2003@yahoo.co.uk

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  45. Well done, its nice to hear you got to talk to Justin he has a heart of gold, I bet he cant walk down the road without being swapped by parents and kiddies!
    My sons are Massive fans... Liam 2, is transfix to the screen if he see Mr Tumble on. Otherwise Liam and his older brother James 4, enjoy Justin's house! Everyone time they start singing the theme song! The boys scream! JUSTINS HOUSE! Its loud and funny but very loud! I should invest in earplugs!

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  46. Also tweeted: I'm entering with @missielizzieb to #win a family ticket to #CBeebies Live, Justin Fletcher's album & signed photo http://bit.ly/zfVolw.

    As @LondonBirdLucy
    Thank you

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  47. Justin's House always a firm favourite in our house!

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    1. slatterysarah@hotmail.com16 March, 2012 21:55

      .

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  48. my daughter love watching him as mr tumble @emmajlowe

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  49. Baby Tumble is just right of a 3 year old.

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    1. MrsAishaKhan@yahoo.co.uk

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  50. Mr Tumble! We just adore him in our house x

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  51. My grandchildren love Mr Tumble

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  52. my godson would love me forever thanks for the chance of winning x

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  53. I have tweeted as @00annabellee00


    https://twitter.com/#!/00AnnabelLee00/status/181473746673090560

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  54. My son's new love is "Justins House" but "Mr.Tumble" has always been his fave

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  55. Ghalib Ghalib contactghalib@gmail.com19 March, 2012 17:46

    Growling tiger in boo! love the act. Always entertaining.

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  56. Stacy Fenemore19 March, 2012 20:27

    My son adores Mr Tumble so much that for christmas we had a bag especially made for him. He takes it everywhere filled with a nappy, wipes, a drink and a snack x

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  57. Mr Tumble my daughater is justin mad would love to win this for her

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  58. Twitter id @lisa1977xx

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  59. Hi, thanks for this brilliant giveaway. I really enjoyed reading the interview with Justin, who seems to be a really genuine, nice person. I have asked my little girl who her favourite character is and it is most definitely, without a doubt, Mr Tumble!

    coppelia100@btinternet.com

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  60. What a great prize draw!! Justin Fletcher really is a marvellous man! My 22 month old LOVES Mr Tumble-so much so that now whenever he see's something polka dot he says its Mr Tumble!

    Twitter @mariajkknight

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  61. Following you and have tweeted as @mariajkknight

    https://twitter.com/#!/mariajkknight/status/182101034376757249

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  62. My girls love Mr Tumble, he is definitely their favourite!
    @MummyBee81

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  63. My daughter has watched Mr Tummble since she was a baby - she still adores him now at 4 years old x

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  64. Mr tumble, mr tumble! He was the first tv character my now 6 year old loved, and my 1 year old now loves him too!

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  65. Oh. my twitter ID is @daved888, mr tumble!!!

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  66. My son is mesmerised by mr tumble and has been since he was a baby he is now 4 years old and still loves him jennynjack@hotmail.co.uk

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  67. I've tweeted @samanthawesley

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  68. Mr Tumble - we always say "Mr Tumble, Mr Tuummbble" in a silly voice when he comes on.

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  69. Have tweeted @kooky_kate x

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  70. Emma Cunningham20 March, 2012 23:07

    My son loves Mr Tumble.

    gershwin77@hotmail.co.uk

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  71. Has to be Mr Tumble, but Justin's House keeps the children captivated also.

    @LSULLYSULLIVAN

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  72. My daughter loves mr tumble she signs with them bless her

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  73. My son loves Mr Tumble and he loves to copy the signing that mr tumble does :o)

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  74. Mr Tumble is the favorite here too. Tweeting as @worriedmum46

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  75. Rapids Johnson - @msedollyp

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  76. Both my kids love Mr Tumble - @JenniiPenny

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  77. Following on Twitter - @JenniiPenny

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  78. Piper and Daisy both love Mr Tumble. @piperanddaisy

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  79. samantha henderson21 March, 2012 19:14

    all kids just seem to love him!

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  80. ALL THE FAMILY LOVE MR TUMBLE especially Charlotte our very special 4yr old grandaughter. He is responsible for Charlotte signing, communicating and eating her meals - THANK YOU JUSTIN XX

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