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Live webchat with Something Special presenter Justin Fletcher, Mon 12 April, 10.30-11.30am(320 Posts)
It's taken a while since you first asked (last July, to be precise!) but we're inordinately pleased to announce that Something Special presenter Justin Fletcher is coming to the Towers for a webchat on Monday 12 April, 10.30-11.30am.
Justin (AKA Mr Tumble) is a BAFTA award-winning presenter and actor, and won the MBE for services to children's broadcasting and the voluntary sector in 2008.
Hope you can join us but if you can't, please post your question for Justin here.
Firstly as the Mum of two children with autism that have enjoyed Mr Tumble in their time can I say thank you, and also on behalf of ds4 who is two (today) and adores it- it's both child good TV and normalises having siblings with extra needs.
DS2 has a Q for you: if you have one tip for someone who wants to be a children's entertainer on TV, what would it be? (I think he's currently juggling around children's entertainer, next Dr Who, author and RSPCA worker- or apparently all 4!)
OH MY GOD. Sooooo excited. I don't think I'll be able to make it sadly.
Can I just say that you have such a special gift. My son adores you!
Do you have any plans to do a Gigglebiz tour? It would be amazing. I live in Reading and will be at the panto at Christmas!
#Hello, Hello, How are you?#
Hi Justin. My DD loves your programme and has been able to pick up signs from 1 year old. Its really helped us and although she does not have any SEN its certainly been useful. She is not a big talker although now manages to tell me that owls live in trees thanks to you!
My question is why isn't the hello and goodbye song signed anymore? DD adored this and it has certainly confused her
Love the new programme, although I'm not sure about Mr Tumbles voice (did he always sound like that? , it certainly has given more scope for every day signs.
#Goodbye, goodbye, it's time to run#
Hi Justin, my DC both love Something Special. When my DS was little I used to record them and when I needed 30 mins of peace I could play them to him. He was never really into TV but he was transfixed by SS, as is my DD.
Not a question, but a bit of rude constructive criticism, please drop Nana Knickerbocker from Gigglebiz, it's just not as funny as the rest of the sketches. 5 yo DS's favourite sketch is Packlunch Pete and DD (2 yo) loves Rapids Johnson and screams "There bear!" the whole way through. I love Dina Lady (in part because I slightly fancy Tommy Tummy ).
My question is a bit personal, I saw you being interviewed on The One Show and you weren't at all as I thought you would be. Were you putting on an adult persona for adult tv or are you naturally softly spoken with minimal gesticulation? If so, what drew you to the clown/children's tv industry?
wow this will be popular!
WOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! fantastic! must think of a good question...
Well done MNHQ!!
Justin, have you learnt Makaton as you've filmed the shows, or have you undertaken any 'formal' courses?
Ps love Gigglebiz. It's like The Fast Show but for children
Hi Justin - another house full of fans here. My son isn't SN, but had hearing problems early on and Something Special was a fantastic aid to all of us.
Also, I think Gigglebiz is hilarious.
My question is (just out of nosiness curiosity): did you have a specific interest in SN programming from the beginning, or was it a happy accident?
You clearly have an affinity and sympathy with the children, which makes me wonder if you have had any personal experience with SN kids.
Ooh will be there.
Justin - just wanted to let you know. Last year we attended Camp Bestival with my 3 sons aged (then) 10, 7 and 4. My 10 year old is severely autistic and has severe learning disabilities and was incredibly hard work during the whole weekend, he has no concept of waiting or staying still and walks/runs the whole time. He paid no attention at all to the bands/stages and we had to take it in turns to walk him round the site on a fixed route (deviation not tolerated).
Until..... you came on stage. He was at the tent with my husband, heard your act start, grabbed dh and ran to the stage. He then tried to get onto the stage with you and almost passed out with excitement. He was grinning from ear to ear and actually watched your entire show (unheard of).
Anyway, it was the highlight of the weekend (which was otherwise exhausting and hard work to be frank), and made the trip worthwhile. One for the memory banks.
Something special is the only tv my SN 4 year old dd3 watches, we are all massive fans! It's wonderful to see children with SN on tv as Clarissimo said, especially with someone that seems so at ease and natural.
Dd3 is very routine driven and finds it very hard that the hello and goodbye song isn't done on every episode and as a result the poor child has to listen to me murdering singing it. Will the songs be coming back, or is there anyway they could be put on the dvds as an additional feature? This is currently a huge issue in our house
Bugger I'm back at work then.
Hi Justin I work in a Special School where we all use Makaton, I just want to thank you for Something Special.
That's all really .
What's Shaun the Sheep like to work with?
Seriously, although DS (who is 4) insists he is too big to watch baby shows on CBeebies he loves to watch Gigglebiz and has a Gigglebiz dance (mainly consisting of wiggling his bum but there you go)
OMFG, Sir Justin of Fletcher is going to be here.
DS is only 19mo but he adores Something Special and Gigglebiz. Infact dh and ds both enjoy Gigglebiz.
I don't think I have a question, I just want to have a bit of a fawn and say that you truly have a special gift with children. You can do no wrong in our house
Oh this is great I love what Justin does.
DD's got the voiceover for DIY Dan down to a tee whenever DH does something DIY "fixing the guttering is easy, you just.....................job done"
He deserved that BAFTA for Something Special.
I'll speak to DD about questions.
Yeay Great News!
My two children are dedicated fans of Something Special and Gigglebiz so much so that there is sometimes a significant puddle under DD2 during the programme.
DH and I have cynically exploited their devotion to you by convincing them that you are actually Ray Mears brother. This means that we can actually watch some grown up telly whilst they are around. The girls are ever hopeful that one day you might pop out of the jungle for a cup of tea with Ray.
So my question is:
Have you ever considered creating a programme in collaboration with Ray Mears? We would definitely buy the box set
OMG we love him! I actually have a slight crush on him, but that's not what I want raised -
I was just wondering what his background is re children and SN children in particular? He comes across as being so natural and comfortable I was wondering if he had either personal or work experience in this field?
DD is only two so has no questions, but loves Justin almost more than she loves me. I can't really blame her tbh, he spends an awful lot more time teaching her things than I do . She's a bit too young for gigglebiz, but LOVES Something Special and has learnt lots of signs which have actually helped her language come on nicely.
Oh, and we have now seen all of them I think, so when is there another new series coming out?
would have loved to log on with dd (3) who adores Something Special and Gigglebiz but we are going to be out will see if she has any questions...
We love Something Special here Chez Sidge and as DD2 has complex SN including severe expressive speech delay SS has been an education for us. My Makaton vocabulary has increased enormously thanks to Mr Tumble.
I love the fact that SS has normalised children with SN and disabilities and seeing them on mainstream TV is great for ALL children IMO.
Just for feedback though - I really don't like the way Cool Tumble talks. But Cliff Tumble is just inspired and my favourite character
Justin you are very talented and show a real empathy for the children you work with; if you are down South feel free to pop round for a cup of tea!
Oh no. I wont be around when the webchat is on.
Justin - you are currently having to compete with Chris & Pui for my daughter's affections (50/50 split at the mo). What is your favourite cbeebies programme (not your own) and why?
hi justin ,i have a son whith gdd [kenzie] he loves your show so much,he trys to copy the children doing there signs ,you are truely fantastic i would love to see a talking mr tumble doll ,he loves all your shows you are on and he has the biggest smile on his face when you come on tv
Justin, my son, who is 3, really enjoys Something Special. He's never noticed that the children on the programme are SN, but has started to copy some of the noises made by them and gives the odd laugh. Obviously, I want him to grow up respectful of everyone, so I was just wondering at what age do you think a child who is not SN becomes aware of a child that is, and how is it best explained?
Justin ~ Both my DCs love you and your shows, But Im just wondering how on earth you manage to have a personal life?
helloooooooooo justin. Along with Dave Benson Phillips you are the most watched maaaaaaaaaaaaaan in this house
can you have dd on your show? she is desperate to do it
We think you're fab too! My 2 are transfixed by both something special and gigglebiz.
Why are the 'something special' dvds sooo expensive?? We record/v+ episodes but £18 for a kids dvd??!!! Even Disney aren't that expensive!
No question but a THANK YOU for making SN "normal" !
'Something Special' was the cause of huge celebrations in our house because it was the first time ever that my youngest son (who has autism) showed us that he was able to imitate someone. He copied the sign for 'rain'. So thankyou so much for that.
My question is about the Something Special DVDs on sale from the BBC. Many parents who have children with SN would like to buy them but are unable to because they are so much more expensive than the DVDs of other CBeebies programmes. Other CBeebies DVDs are generally under £10 but the Something Special ones are £18+. Now that you have your MBE and BAFTA, are you able to tell off the BBC have any influence over the way your programme is marketed and sold?
well we are just huge fans here. dd is nearly 4, she and dh happily spend the evening acting out dina lady, especially the sponge sketch, also grandpa tumble, cliff tumble, oh and not forgetting anne teak 'i'm the expert'! loads of favourites. dh and i also play 'spot the justin voice over' in every other cbeebies show..
i would like to know.. are you generally mobbed when you go out? it occurs to me that you are a very recognisable huge celeb to millions of kids, though anyone without children wouldn't really know who you are. so what do you do? avoid play gyms and stick to sophisticated champagne bars??
and thank you 1 million times over for keeping dd entertained while i feed ds
How did Something Special come about?
And thank you for bringing a program suitable children with specific language and/or learning difficulties into the mainstream.
Oh Justin we all love you in this house! Gigglebiz is brilliant, and the only programme my almost-3 year old son actually ever asks for (at least twice a day).
So 'fess up, which character do you enjoy playing most - must be Nana knickerbocker surely?
And pleeeeease, would you consider doing children's parties?? You could retire at 40 if you did, I reckon.
Keep up the sterling work, you're fab.
Justin, we lobe Gigglebiz too. I cannot help wondering though whether you take great pleasure dressing up as a woman?
CAn I nominate appletreewick as the funniest MN question ever?
no question as such but thanks for the work my 5 yr old dd loves everything you do, in fact the only reason she stopped complaining about us changing Summer Festivals this year is because you will be at the new one see you then
and great job making Makaton better known I worked for years and year in SN and it is a great communication tool
oh yes and dd was highly disappointed you were not the dame at our local Panto
Hello Justin - You are very much loved in our house and we are all enjoying the new series. Now, I am desperate to know the backstory behind that stunning house! Who owns it? Is it Lord Tumble's family seat and does he let his extended family live there too? Or, did the whole family, as my 6 yo ds reckons, sell each of their houses to buy the big house and live together as a commune. Dh would also like to know where it is in <hush> real life - he thinks it might be in the west country somewhere...
Will you repaint my MIL's bedroom wall as DS drew large X's on it in imitation DIY Dan stylee?
How many different BAA's did you have to record for Timmy?
we love you here too Justin
haven't a question yet - but wanted to let you know you are the King of childrens TV!
What is mr tumble's favourite biscuit ?
I've noticed, I think, nods to some well known comedians in some of the characters you play. So I was wondering which performers you have been most inspired by?
THANK YOU - YOU GOT MY DS (WHO IS 6 AND HAS LOW FUNCTIONING AUTISM) TO SPEAK.
My family and I are forever indebted to you and your colleagues at Something Special.
THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!
Thank you for coming on to do a webchat.
DD (21 months), being our Precious First Born, doesn't watch much TV , but after only three episodes of Gigglebiz started requesting the theme tune as her bedtime song ("Na na! Sing more Na na"!). Every single night. (Sometimes we sneak in Twinkle Twinkle for a bit of variety, without her noticing). So I have sung the song more times than you probably have.
My question is: can you suggest some more verses? I am a bit fed up of
Na na na na na na Gigglebiz Na na na na ho ho ho Na na na na na na Gigglebiz Na na na na it's time to go Gigglebiz gigglebiz, we've had a lovely time Gigglebiz gigglebiz ho ho ho Gigglebiz gigglebiz we've had a lot of fun Gigglebiz gigglebiz ho ho ho
(although we do sometimes attempt to improvise...)
I assume you are standing for Parliament like all our other webchat guests?! I think you would get a lot of votes!
My children aged 3 and 2 watch Gigglebiz and Something Special all the time...favourite is Grandad Tumble in hospital.
My question is are there any plans for more Something Special...Gigglebiz merchandise? I know it would go down well in our house.
Cant wait to see you in panto at Xmas..we will be cheering from the front row
Justin has a lot to answer in my house! I took 22mo dd to Tesco last week and she sat in the trolley shouting 'Mr Tumble' over and over again
I was surprised at how much signing she has picked up on. Dd loves books and would love a Something Special book - Any thoughts on releasing a line of books?
oh my God I've been wanting to do ask this for ages
<splats Justin with whipped cream>
<squirts chocolate sauce on his face>
<leans elbow heavily on plastic tub of jam so a bit flies out and lands in Justin's eye>
<innocently> Say! What happened to you?
Actually we love you Justin and my question is, which is your favourite Gigglebiz character? Mine is Rapids Johnson.
mama2 beat me to it - are there any plans for a Something Special signs book? We have a couple of makaton ones, but something with Mr Tumble in would go down a treat.
Also what copper said regarding the price of the DVD's.
How an why did you get involved with SN and makaton specifically?
Hello Justin, my son LOVES Something Special but most of all Something Special "Out and About". When he wakes up in the morning all I hear is "When you see it wave or cheer" or "Where is my spotty bag".
Our question is
Will you be making more episodes of Something Special?
P.S I am loving Aunt Polly "Mr Teeeumble!!!!"
AppleTreeWick's question (Ray Mears collaboration) just made me snort my decaff over the keyboard....
Justin, my (non SN) children enjoy your programmes, thank you. Any thought of something aimed at CBBC rather than Cbeebies, next? My two eldest are 7 and 5, and most of CBBC is too grown up, but cbeebies "too babyish" apparently.
DS1 loves Something Special and especially the one in the garden centre, he is a bit obsessed with signing wheelbarrow and keeps asking "But where's Musamil?" whatever we're doing.
I want to ask where that garden centre is, if it's anywhere within reach of London I'm sure DS1 would love to go there!
hello sir justin
my daughter thinks you are brilliant(she has sn) but has outgrown something special(she will be 15 by the time you do this) would you ever consider doing something aimed at older kids with sn?
Hi ya. Just want to add to the please tour plead!
Another houseful of Gigglebiz and Something special fans here
I'd like to ask you Justin, what would you like to do when Gigglebiz/Something Special run their course? Do you plan to move into mainstream TV work (was going to phrase it as "Adult" TV but thought better of it - Could you imagine the headlines in the Daily Mail...) and do you worry that you may be pigeonholed as a childrens tv actor forever more?
Oh and one more..
What is your favourite biscuit?
Hello Justin! DS (2.1) loves Something Special and so do I. I particularly like the way that it's not been too pigeonholed, so young children without SN also love it - it normalises SN and that's wonderful.
Oh, and don't listen to anyone who thinks the crossdressing on Gigglebiz is a bit 'off' - we love it here!
The first time I watched Gigglebiz I was very , as I thought it was far too old for ds who was just 2 at the time. How wrong was I?? Again you got it just right - he loves it - esp Humphry and Rapids Johnson. Oh and his favourite game at the moment is playing Burrito Brothers... this involves him climbing up me and balancing on my legs/arms/stomach... the brusies have to be seen to be believed
Question - Any chance of more Higgledy House? Ds loved it but it hasnt been on for ages!!!
Justin for PM!!!
Oh and Gigglebiz tour would be amazing - as long as you come to Scotland... I'm sure Nina could put you up...if not I'll kick dh out we have a spare bed
It's not the cross dressing that I object to with Nana Knickerboker, it's just that nobody I know finds her funny (although I appreciate that it might be a cultural thing as I'm not British).
Welcome to MN.
Can you tell us what's happened to Sarah-Jane and do you have any plans to work with her in the future?
Hello Justin another house of big fans here. My two boys (4 & 1.5) are not SN but love Something Special especially the out and about ones. Gigglebiz is comedy genius and I think a wonderful introduction to comedy (btw we love Nana Knickerbocker here although dina lady and rapids are ds (age 4) absolute favourites.) Captain Adorable not so much...
The things I wanted to ask have been mentioned above especially - tour! - and Higgledy House, we loved that any prospect of any more?
Justin, we need to know if you are the voice of Handy Andy? ds has been looking for you under it and was very concerned you might be trapped in it. Pleeeeeeeeease tell us!
Have posted this on another thread but MNHQ said I should have courage to say it here!
Sorry but I know I might get flamed for this but can people stop saying:
'My DCs are not SN but......'
My DS has a SN - he is not SN... if that makes sense.
It just really grates thats all.
Having got over my underwhelmed feeling at the prospect of a webchat with Justin Lee Collins, and clicking on this anyway to find that (yay!) it's somebody talented
Can I ask if my daughter (9) would enjoy your programme? I have been moved reading accounts of how children have responded to it, but warn you that she is low-functioning autistic with severe learning disabilities, and has never shown much interest in telly, beyond being soothed by music channels. She has laughed like a drain at Takeshi's castle though. May I ask if Justin would contemplate jumping into muddy water somewhat clumsily from a great height? It may just hook her in...
It sounds like you are doing marvellous work- so kudos to you, and I wish you continued success.
Just wanted to say how much we appreciate Something Special. DD (4 in July) absolutely loves Mr Tumble and, sadly, it's the only thing on television that goes at a pace she can process.
Do you ever run workshops on communicating with children with learning disabilities? I do use Makaton but of course, that is not the whole story. Would be useful for health professionals too...
just a thought!
Arabica and DD xx
Stillenacht - apologies! I did exactly what you said
Justin, we think you're great too - my husband and son (aged 2 yrs 2 months) are addicted to your programmes equally. We also went with my in laws to Cinderella at Horsham in the New Year to see you as Buttons. It was fab - my father in law was thrilled to catch the three cup bra which Baron Hardup threw :-)
In response to the posters about the price of Something Special original DVD's, I agree they're a fair whack but imagine it's due to the publishers or something. Was therefore chuffed to see that 'Hello Mr Tumble' Something Special Out & About on DVD is out in May isn't it, £8.99. Can't wait.
A question - gosh, so many I can think of - well firstly, please please can you do a tour of Something Special; secondly maybe you could put some signed photo's for sale on Mumsnet... to raise money for your chosen charity - or we could order them? I'm sure there are lots of us who'd like to buy a poster or signed DVD or something? And some clothing too please, before our toddler is too old to wear it. tshirts etc..??? Please
Again, thanks and you deserve a knighthood- we're thrilled that we can watch a programme which will help our son to have a positive view of other children who have difficulty with those things he's lucky enough to take for granted.
oh, and DS can sing 'hallo hallo' and 'goodbye goodbye', the opening and closing songs from start to finish. We have the something special cd on in the car constantly and the other favourite is The grand old duke of york, which we have to put on repeat from your nursery rhymes DVD. Both CD and DVD highly recommended. Can't wait to see you at the Hexagon in the 2010 panto :-)
sorry, last one from me... is the Tumble house somewhere near Beaulieu in the new forest? The stretch of river looks so similar..?
DD is 2 and loves to say "Hello, I'm Justin" whilst signing along. I love King Flannel and his techno dance - my favourite Gigglebiz sketch .
Well done for making SN part of the mainstream, it was long overdue.
BitOfFun, my daughter has severe learning disabilities and autsitic traits and she loves something special. Her earlier communication method was makaton though and still is to some extent. She hated pecs (used to eat the cards) So imagine it is worth a try to see, though I think it may depend on how they communicate iykwim
(sorry for thread crash)
Stillenacht - you are right to point that out. I don't think people even realise they are doing this. I don't like the use of NT either because I think it encourages people to say 'that child is NT and the other child is SN'.
Sorry, back to Justin...
stillenacht sorry certainly didn't meant to offend/grate on anyone. Had only mentioned it as the programme is aimed at for four to seven year-old children with learning difficulties and dd is neither.
In complete agreement with the wonder of you Justin My youngest DC has rare genetic disorder and my eldest doesn't and both love the show. Oh and we miss the signing of the goodbye song too.
Now you are reading and processing the horror...I mean delight of how much we all depend on and secretly heart you ...do you ever feel typecast into nice signing bloke (who's also funny and can play football and dance and sing)...and do you have plans to escape to an adult audience one day?
My 2.5 year old has adored your programmes since she has been able to watch tv, and now regularly signs colours! The farmer character you play in Gigglebiz is pure comedy gold and makes me and my husband snort! I'd like to ask if you have plans to do a tour?
I can't make it but just wanted to add to the list to say that my son (8) with multiple special needs loves to watch Something Special and all the old Tikkabillas. (And confidentially Ds1 (10) who doesn't have any special needs can often be found alongside him on the sofa!!!). Ds2 can't speak very clearly and calls you "Dustbin". Thought you would be pleased about that .
we all love gigglebiz in this house, and something special too. as a parent of two (afaia) NT girls i love that they are learning to communicate with children who they meet who have SN.
we met a woman in a museum recently, she was with a carer and in a wheelchair and couldn't speak clearly but wanted to chat to the dds. both tried their very hardest to sign to her, which tickled her enormously, although as she motioned to her carer she didn't have a blithering clue what they were on about.
anyway, that comes from Something Special, so thanks.
WOW!! My daughter is 3 and absolutely loves Something Special and Gigglebiz. She is obssessed with her search to find and capture the giant panda that apparently hides under my bed
I second a previous posters question, which character in Gigglebiz do you most enjoy playing and why?
**Walks off whistling "Tyra's arms have got no bones..." **
Farmer Dung is hilarious, and the ever-grinning sidekick. DH and I are always quoting the "Cow's gone... Don't matter" line.
I think you are about a billion times more talented than most comedy actors on grown-up telly <fawn>
Damn, I'm back at work. I'm a huge fan, well actually have a little crush if I'm honest. Have you always done children's TV and have you any plans to do a comedy for the grownups, I think gigglebiz is hysterical.
We are big fans in this house...especially of higgedly house and I have 4 double episodes on Sky + which are very precious!
Will you be doing anymore of that series?
Do you have children and do they watch you on TV and love Mr Tumble as much as we all do?
DS who is nearly 3 loves to watch Something Special.
Could you do a special potty training DVD? I would buy that, and only YOU have the power to convince my LO that it is a good idea to use the potty/toilet!
oh gosh that would be good! a range of 'justin says..' i'd go for them over anything by supernanny
and thanks whoever mentioned farmer dung!! we love him, and his jacket made of potatoes, oh and his brum brum
god yes, that would be great.
I can't believe how pathetically excited I am.
DD loves Something Special and as she has speech difficulties signing has helped her immensely. Thank you.
Ohh, I love Justin.
As a special needs teacher, I love Mr Tumble. I often go to school and when asked how to sign something, I usually say 'Well, this is how Mr Tumble does it'
We second the collaboration with Ray Mears.
We love Gigglebiz in this house too.
What made you start?
Do you visit SN schools?
Sorry, Stillenacht, I did it too. You're absolutely right and I won't say it again.
Do you ever go out for a drink with Sarah Jane, and do you swear like troopers?
hello Justin! again you are loved by all in our home!!
My (slightly tongue in cheek) question is does the BBC have a contunity plan for if you ever leave?? Do the other presentere really resent your all round wonderfulness?
Hello Justin, my 2.5yr old DD and I love Something Special and we were both in fits of giggles recently when following the 'you sign rabbit poo' part of an episode
Has there ever been any signing that you've decided to avoid or modify at all? I always found the Grandma 'hairy chin' sign a little when I was encouraging DD to sign pre-speech. Grannies can be a little sensitive after all .
Oh my, I am so excited about this. You are ever so popular in this house Justin. I am another that has a secret crush .
Is it wrong though that I imagine you in between takes flouncing off to your trailer wearing a dressing gown like a proper luvvie?
Are you like that? I sort of hope so.
I have just seen this ad am very sad i'm going to miss the webchat as we are huge gigglebiz and something special fans. ds loves Justin, esp as Rapids Johnson. So this is just a hello and will look forward to reading the webchat in the eve.
*THANK YOU Justin* , you have made a huge difference to my lovely DS1 who has GDD, I cannot put it into words!!! (we miss higgeldy house with Sarah Jane)
_My question for you_ would you consider making a program similar to something special but aimed at helping with school? Literacy, numeracy? I would be over the moon!
I would ditto the house question - the one in SS out and About is gorgeous - is it yours? Do you need a roomie if so? I am very clean and tidy and could live with the spots on the walls.
Hello there Justin.
Just a quickie, is the signing on SS Makaton or BSL? And why did you chose that particular method of communication over the other.
(Actually, the MNers will probably know.)
You obviously attract a more refined audience than Chris from Doodle Do
<<thinks back to the smut which peppered his webchat...>>
I will be back with a sensible contribution on Monday!
We think you are great here too, DD is 2.5 and thinks you are fab, loves gigglebiz as well as something special.
Also gogglebiz is the only childrens program my dad approves of when he is looking after DD so a lot of cross-generational appeal there!
My DH was wondering teh other day how you got into this? Did you work with children with special needs first and know makaton and go on to do the programs, or were you chosen to do the programs and that is when you started IYSWIM?
You are much loved here on MN (you can probably tell! )
Well be away on Monday but I just wanted to say a big thank you Justin for being so totally brilliant I honestly think you are one of the most talented (and kindest) people on television. My two small children are growing up on your work and we all love everything you do. I can imagine when they are grown up they will remember all your programmes with great fondness (as I do with Playschool and Playaway!)
I also wanted to echo the pleas for a national tour of Gigglebiz and a Ray Mears collaboration!
I have just been to see Chris and Pui miming "live".
They were shit. Please tell them from me, my ds, and the half of audience that walked out at half time.
£20 and an hour of my life I'll never get back....
I'm sure you would have been much better.
"Do you ever go out for a drink with Sarah Jane, and do you swear like troopers?" I love this question from SMaCK!
Justin you are THE best - I love you as much as my ds does - we think you're great. Bring back Higgledy House!
geordieminx - my DDs loved the Show me Show me on tour thing!
Please don't take any notice of the criticism of Nana Knickerbocker - I have to search On Demand for the episodes that have her in-5 yr old twins think she's brilliant!
I have actually banged on to lots of people about how superb Higgledy House was-please bring it back.
Justin, Justin ,Justin.....fabulous programs especially Gigglebiz! Something Special raises many questions in our house and my children are very interested in all of the children shown. We all find this a good opportunity to talk about special needs and find it all very normalising.
Do you see yourself as a children's TV presenter when you're as old as Granddad Tumble?
My children have loved Something Special or OUt and About as the older one knows it as, Gigglebiz and Higgledy House.
I'm in love with Rapids Johnson but thats another story....
Anyway question: When children meet you do they all start signing? My 3 year old adores you and certain phrases / sayings she always signs aswell as says the word!
Why on earth am i all a fluster typing this?
We all know you are the king of pre school tv and the funniest and most talented person on the planet but my question is on a much more personal level.
Can you tell us something about you that would surprise us.....?
Go on i dare you!
my 3 kids love mr tumble....please tell me where i can get something special on dvd.
Wow! THE Justin Fletcher?
May we have some more higgledy pigglety house please - comedy gold!!! We all love it!
Love that kids of all needs and abilities can join together in loving your work.
Am I right that you do Timmy too???
Look forward to seeing you online.
I've started to read back this thread and feel the urge to use the few signs I have learnt from Mr. Tumble.
No question, but thought you might like to know that Something Special has been really useful in our house in a slightly different way. My parents are both profoundly deaf and as a lot of makaton is similar to BSL, the children have picked up lots of sign that they use with their (delighted) grandparents. It's a great show.
hi justin would just like to say thanku so so much for giving children an insight into the lifes of children with disabilities, i have a daughter with learning difficulties ans she loves it as well as her two sisters, hope u can carry on with sonething special for many years to come because that programme is definately changing the way disabled children are looked on in society today!!
First of all I just want to say what a fantastic job you do of presenting children's programmes and we adore Gigglebiz too. Something Special was the only show I ever let my son watch ( I was very precious, but having another child helped me appreciate the magic of Cbeebies).
Now for the question: How did you get involved with 'Something Special', was it something you were actively seeking, or did it all come together when you got the job? You just seem such a natural, it's a joy to watch and the children on the show really come alive in a way that I don't see much on other programmes.
Anyway, carry on with the good work!
bubble 1 - you can get something special from the bbc shop. Its very expensive though .
Please Justin would it be possible that you could have a word with the powers that be and get the price reduced on the Something Special DVDs. Raising a disabled child is, as I am sure you are very aware, very expensive and the price of the DVDs is often double that of equivalent DVDs.
THANKS AGAIN FOR GETTING MY SON TO TALK!!
I agree Stillenacht - about 75% of my Sky Plus hard drive is Something Special and Gigglebiz - there's no way we could afford all those SS episodes on DVD.
Going back to Gigglebiz characters - I adore Gail Force, Dina Lady and King Flannel
Another house full of fans here too
I think that you have done excellent work in bringing children who have SN onto television.
What did you think about the negative reaction in some parts of the media and some viewers when Cerrie became a CBeebies presenter? I couldn't believe the comments and ignorance shown about a person with a disability, I guess there is still a long way to go in changing attitudes....
Sorry I can't make the webchat but just to say you are great and my DC's adore you. We enjoyed you at Camp Bestival last year and looking forward to seeing you this year.
My DD (20mths) loves all your shows, they're fantastic and the only ones she would actually sit still and watch! My god the amount of Something Special we watch, i can even recite them! Please keep them coming, any plans to tour the UK? Keep up the good work!
I seem to have seen the lovely pics of your family from an old Tikkabilla programme so many times, every time I comment on how much you look like your Dad!
DD says does Mr Tumble come from a bigger circus? If so, where can we join?
She loves something special & I adore gigglebiz.
I also think it's great to have more children with disabilities on TV. I like the way on SS we see the personalities of the individual children on the show not just their disability. I also like the way it shows disability as just a normal part of everyday life. IYKWIM?
I too have something special obsessed dds. Like saintlydameMrsTurnip, we took dd1 (5 and ASD) to see you last summer (at legoland). She spent the whole show running up and down oblivious to the stage until you came on. Then she sat down, rivetted, for your whole set. She even tried to join in with the action songs .
Something special was the first tv she would pay attention to (she is especially fond of your collaboration with Singing Hands - any pl ans for anymore?)
we took her to see you in panto last christmas, and again she sat entranced throughout. Tbh, we wouldn't have dared take her if you had 't been in it! Both girls were over the moon to see you so close (front row seats!)
I would like to echo what others have asked - how did you get into working in SN? Have you always had this incredible affinity with children with disabilities (believe me, many have tried to entertain dd1. Most have failed )
oh, and YES PLEASE to potty training stuff from you - you are an absolute god according to my daughters, it would make my life so much easier. (another household where anything Justin related must be good and right, and far better than mummy!)
(we are also going to be at Camp Bestival this summer, so expect two little female shadows for the whole time)
Won't be there for the webchat but can I second (or third) Coppertop's request that you use your influence to persuade the BBC to bring the price of the SS DVDs down? My son is 7 and severely autistic. He loves the DVDs and plays them repeatedly on a portable DVD player- often rewinding the same section over and over again. (At the moment we are being treated to " I've got a cat and he meows....a lot" ). This is good for his speech but very hard on the disc! We have managed to get some secondhand (thanks 2Shoes!) but they're hard to find, and as CT has said, very expensive new.
I credit SS with teaching my son the connection between a sign, a picture and a word - so thank you!
I'd like to know what you wanted to be when you grew up, when you were at school
Thank you for everything!!! (especially those few precious hours I get back each week to facebook do the housework while the DCs are entranced by your shows).
I would love to know what happens when the cameras are switched off. As you spend so much time being the adorable buffoon that appeals to kids, do you feel the need to act very 'adult' when off-duty?
And are the Cbeebies staff Christmas parties the deliciously sordid and depraved affairs my twisted head wants them to be?
Firstly, thank you for being the one face on television that will make my two DCs stop in their tracks and actually listen!
Secondly, you must find the reaction to SS very rewarding, did you expect such a great response or has it come as a surprise to you?
Do you secretly harbour a massive desire to do an adult comedy sketch show? Some of the characters in Gigglebiz remind me of some of the 80's sketch shows - like the DIY Dan reminds me of Kenny Everett's Reg Prescott and Arthur Sleep is very Ronny Barker!
Anyway, our 2 yr old loves you and Gigglebiz - especially the theme tune which he sings full volume!!!
Are you doing another series of Higgledy house with Sarah-Jane?
My daughter LOVES that show, she also loves everything else you do as well. You're a firm favourite in this home.
My DC are 5 and almost 8yo so a bit old for your shows, but still enjoy watching them occasionally.
I find that there is a bit of a gap between the Cbeebies programmes and the Cbbc ones aimed at older DC. It would be great if there was more for 5 - 8 year old children. If you would do something that would stop my DC wanting to watch Horrid Henry and bloody Sponge Bob, I would be incredibly grateful.
Justin is here! He has done a load of advance answers to try to answer as many of your questions as poss, so he's going to post those now so you get a chance to read them and then we'll start properly at 10.30am
Thank you again Justin for my sons first words. I can't tell you how much it has meant to my whole family - including grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. The world of communication is opening its doors to our family now. THANK YOU xxxxxx
Hello Mumsnetters (signs "hello"!)
Can I just say that I'm really thrilled to be at MN Towers and bowled over by all your comments about Something Special and the other programmes.
A lot of people are involved with the making of Something Special and it's very close to all our hearts. And it's the comments like yours, and from other people who write in about how their children have communicated or done things for the first time, that make it absolutely worthwhile for all of us.
I hope I'm going to be able to answer as many questions for you as I can today and I'm going to make sure that all your feedback (good and bad!) about the shows goes back to CBeebies.
Clarissimo: DS2 has a question for you: if you have one tip for someone who wants to be a children's entertainer on TV, what would it be? (I think he's currently juggling around children's entertainer, next Dr Who, author and RSPCA worker- or apparently all four!)
JustinFletcher: Hi Clarissimo and DS2. I was taught how to present by a man called Iain Lauchlan and he taught me the three Cs of presenting - clarity, contact and commitment which Ive always tried to have in the back of my mind. If DS2 is really serious about being a childrens presenter my advice would be that he should practice as much as he can doing pieces to camera with a video camera.
Picante: Do you have any plans to do a Gigglebiz tour?
JustinFletcher: Hi Picante and others who've asked - there are no plans for a Gigglebiz tour at the moment but I am in early discussions about doing a live show next year.
LoveBeingAMummy: My question is why isn't the hello and goodbye song signed anymore? DD adored this and it has certainly confused her.
JustinFletcher: To LoveBeingAMummy and Bigcar. This is a really good point and it's something we're all very aware of. Basically because Something Special has gone Out and About we no longer record the signed hello and goodbye songs in the studio. And because of the way CBeebies repeats programmes children often have to switch between the old studio-based episodes and the new location episodes which I know can be confusing. We know children benefit from routine so we've made our new out-and-about episodes very repetitive (in a good way!) with lots of clear signposts. My producer has told me that we may have the opportunity in the future to go back into the studio and if so we'll look at re-introducing the songs. I hope that helps a bit.
bran: Not a question, but a bit of rude constructive criticism, please drop Nana Knickerbocker from Gigglebiz, it's just not as funny as the rest of the sketches. My question is a bit personal, I saw you being interviewed on The One Show and you weren't at all as I thought you would be. Were you putting on an adult persona for adult TV or are you naturally softly spoken with minimal gesticulation? If so, what drew you to the clown/children's TV industry?
JustinFletcher: Hi Bran - I'm sorry you don't like Nana Knickerbocker. I think you must have seen me on Breakfast News not The One Show. Obviously I have a different persona when I'm presenting to children but doing an interview on adult tv is a very environment. I was drawn to children's tv because I used to watch Philip Schofield reading the birthday cards in the broom cupboard and I thought Id like to have a go at that. Philip was a good inspiration to me.
Valpollicella: Have you learnt Makaton as you've filmed the shows, or have you undertaken any 'formal' courses? PS love Gigglebiz. It's like The Fast Show but for children.
JustinFletcher: Im glad you love Gigglebiz Valpollicella. Due to the time restraints we have with filming it hasnt been possible for me to do long courses but I have training before filming starts when obviously we concentrate on the key signs. But I'd really love to do a proper course and extend my Makaton vocabulary.
Booboobedoo: My question is (just out of nosiness curiosity): did you have a specific interest in SN programming from the beginning, or was it a happy accident? You clearly have an affinity and sympathy with the children, which makes me wonder if you have had any personal experience with SN kids.
JustinFletcher: To Booboobedoo, Ellie G, WahWah, Silverfrog, MumofMonsters and others When I was filming Tikkabilla the producer Allan Johnston had the idea for a new series (Something Special) and he asked me if I would be interested in learning sign language for children with learning difficulties. And I just jumped at it - there was no question of me not doing it! But, no, I hadn't worked previously with children with learning difficulties.
Iklboo: What's Shaun the Sheep like to work with?
JustinFletcher: Hello Iklboo - it's a joy to work on Shaun the Sheep and I'm very proud to provide his baas! The quality of Aardman's animation is just quite amazing.
AppleTreeWick : DH and I have cynically exploited their devotion to you by convincing them that you are actually Ray Mears brother. This means that we can actually watch some grown up telly whilst they are around. The girls are ever hopeful that one day you might pop out of the jungle for a cup of tea with Ray. So my question is: Have you ever considered creating a programme in collaboration with Ray Mears? We would definitely buy the box set.
JustinFletcher: To AppleTreeWick and everybody else who's interested in the Ray Mears collaboration! I haven't thought about working with Ray Mears but wildlife is a big interest of mine and I would love to come up with a wildlife show for young children. So I would be all ears if someone like Ray Mears got in touch. Or perhaps Rapids Johnson from Gigglebiz and Ray could get together in some way!
EllieG : I was just wondering what his background is re children and SN children in particular? He comes across as being so natural and comfortable I was wondering if he had either personal or work experience in this field?
DD is only two so has no questions, but loves Justin almost more than she loves me. I can't really blame her tbh, he spends an awful lot more time teaching her things than I do. She's a bit too young for Gigglebiz, but loves Something Special and has learnt lots of signs which have actually helped her language come on nicely. Oh, and we have now seen all of them I think, so when is there another new series coming out
JustinFletcher: EllieG and Bexxaa I thnk Ive already answered EllieGs first question in a previous post but theres a new series of Something Special currently on air at the moment and we start filming another new series in April which I think should be on screen later in the year. And of course there are repeats on CBeebies week daily for at least a year.
EVye: What is your favourite CBeebies programme (not your own) and why?
JustinFletcher: Hi EVye - that's a really good one and its got me! Actually I'm going to go with Charlie and Lola, that's a great programme.
sunchild77: Im just wondering how on earth you manage to have a personal life?
JustinFletcher: Hi Sunchild77. I'm very lucky to have been extremely busy for the last 15 years and I each year I always think it's going to get quieter and it never does. I absolutely love what I do but it does make it very difficult to have personal life.
scrappydappydoo: Why are the 'something special' DVDs sooo expensive?? We record/v+ episodes but £18 for a kids DVD??!!! Even Disney aren't that expensive.
coppertop: My question is about the Something Special DVDs on sale from the BBC. Many parents who have children with SN would like to buy them but are unable to because they are so much more expensive than the DVDs of other CBeebies programmes. Other CBeebies DVDs are generally under £10 but the Something Special ones are £18+. Now that you have your MBE and BAFTA, are you able to tell off the BBC have any influence over the way your programme is marketed and sold?
JustinFletcher: ToScrappydappydoo,Coppertop Stillenacht,Sidge and everybody else who has posted about the DVDs. I do take your point about the price of the SS DVDs but the good news is that there is (as NewShoesonMonday points out) a new DVD coming out soon which is produced by BBC Worldwide and which I think IS cheaper.
ruddynorah: Are you generally mobbed when you go out? It occurs to me that you are a very recognisable huge celeb to millions of kids, though anyone without children wouldn't really know who you are. So what do you do? Avoid play gyms and stick to sophisticated champagne bars??
JustinFletcher: Hello Ruddynorah. Funnily enough a lot of adults do recognise me - especially students! And quite a lot of my mail comes from adults saying that they watch Gigglebiz - so it's not just adults with children. I'm very lucky as most of the feedback is positive so it's not a problem at all.
TotalChaos: How did Something Special come about?
JustinFletcher: To TotalChaos. Something Special was the brainchild of producer Allan Johnston who before he worked in television was a teacher in mainstream education, then special needs education and in a school for children with severe learning difficulties. A few years later at CBeebies he was asked to make a series about communication and it took him back to when he was teaching and he thought it was a great opportunity to make a series about Makaton and the rest is history. Im very happy to ask him if hed like to come on and do a web chat if youd like!
FattipuffsandThinnifers: Which character do you enjoy playing most - must be Nana knickerbocker surely? And pleeeeease, would you consider doing children's parties?? You could retire at 40 if you did, I reckon. Keep up the sterling work, you're fab.
JustinFletcher: To FattifpuffsandThinnfers, LemonMelon and SethStarkaddersMum - that's a really good question! I obviously love Mr Tumble because Im a big fan of slapstick but my favourite character in Gigglebiz is probably Arthur Sleep, but then I do love Rapids Johnson and Captain Adorable is great fun too
FioFio: I cannot help wondering though whether you take great pleasure dressing up as a woman?
JustinFletcher: I love a challenge and when I dress up as Dina Lady or Nana Knickerbocker or Ann Teak it is certainly a challenge. But it's great fun to play all sorts of characters be they male or female!
treacletart: I am desperate to know the backstory behind that stunning house! Who owns it? Is it Lord Tumble's family seat and does he let his extended family live there too? Or, did the whole family, as my six-year-old DS reckons, sell each of their houses to buy the big house and live together as a commune. Dh would also like to know where it is in <hush> real life - he thinks it might be in the west country somewhere...
JustinFletcher: Hi treacletart. DH is right it is in the West country in Devon. We thought it would be funny to have a place where all the Tumble family would be contained in one place and this was an ideal spot.
PfftTheMagicDragon: How many different BAAs did you have to record for Timmy?
JustinFletcher: When I'm recording Shaun I can do up to four hours worth of various baas. And on Timmy Time I voice Paxton the Pig, Kid the Goat, Finley the Fox and Osbourne the Owl - so I'm something of an expert now in animal noises!
charlieandlola: What is Mr Tumble's favourite biscuit ?
JustinFletcher: Hi Charlieandlola. Mr Tumble is a fan of custard creams!
Besom: I've noticed, I think, nods to some well known comedians in some of the characters you play. So I was wondering which performers you have been most inspired by?
JustinFletcher: Hi Besom. The comedians that have inspired me are Rik Mayall, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and Jim Carrey.
Wigeon: DD (21 months), being our Precious First Born, doesn't watch much TV, but after only three episodes of Gigglebiz started requesting the theme tune as her bedtime song ("Na na! Sing more Na na"!). Every single night. (Sometimes we sneak in Twinkle Twinkle for a bit of variety, without her noticing). So I have sung the song more times than you probably have.
My question is: can you suggest some more verses? I am a bit fed up of
Na na na na na na Gigglebiz Na na na na ho ho ho Na na na na na na Gigglebiz Na na na na it's time to go Gigglebiz gigglebiz, we've had a lovely time Gigglebiz gigglebiz ho ho ho Gigglebiz gigglebiz we've had a lot of fun Gigglebiz gigglebiz ho ho ho
(although we do sometimes attempt to improvise...)
I assume you are standing for Parliament like all our other webchat guests?! I think you would get a lot of votes!
JustinFletcher: Hi Wigeon Im sorry youre a bit fed up with the theme tune but we did consciously try to keep it very simple because we wanted children to be able to sing along with it!
shanks313: My question is are there any plans for more Something Special...Gigglebiz merchandise? I know it would go down well in our house.
JustinFletcher: To Shanks313, mama2moo and JarethTheGoblinKing. There aren't currently any plans for books, merchandise or an SS tour at the moment but we do have interest from time to time from publishers and merchandisers so watch this space! Weve always thought that signing books or a Mr Tumble sensory doll would be a good idea but we wouldn't want to produce merchandise for merchandise sake - it would have to stay true to what Something Special is all about. There is going to be a Something Special magazine out though in a couple of weeks so watch out for that.
mama2moo: Dd loves books and would love a Something Special book - Any thoughts on releasing a line of books?
SethStarkaddersMum: Which is your favourite Gigglebiz character? Mine is Rapids Johnson.
JarethTheGoblinKing: mama2 beat me to it - are there any plans for a Something Special signs book? We have a couple of Makaton ones, but something with Mr Tumble in would go down a treat. Also what copper said regarding the price of the DVDs.
mumofmonsters: How an why did you get involved with SN and makaton specifically?
bexxaa:Will you be making more episodes of Something Special?
MegBusset: I want to ask where that garden centre is, if it's anywhere within reach of London I'm sure DS1 would love to go there!
JustinFletcher: MegBusset Im really sorry but I've shot in so many different garden centres I'm not sure which one you mean!
2shoes: Would you ever consider doing something aimed at older kids with SN?
JustinFletcher: Hi 2Shoes - Yes absolutely - I'm always open to new ideas.
stanausauruswrecks: What would you like to do when Gigglebiz/Something Special run their course? Do you plan to move into mainstream TV work (was going to phrase it as "Adult" TV but thought better of it - Could you imagine the headlines in the Daily Mail...) and do you worry that you may be pigeonholed as a childrens tv actor forever more? Oh and one more. What is your favourite biscuit?
JustinFletcher: To Stanausauruswrecks, Indie37 and Todoornottodolist - I don't think I'm ever going to move away from children's television because I love it so much. I'm absolutely happy where I am. If someone offered me a adult acting role I'd look at it. But to be honest there's a great challenge doing something like Gigglebiz with twenty different characters - probably more of a challenge than I'd ever get on an adult programme.
geordieminx: Any chance of more Higgledy House? Ds loved it but it hasnt been on for ages!!! Justin for PM!!!
JustinFletcher: Hi Geordieminx (and others who asked this): Sarah-Jane and I are in touch - she's a great friend of mine and we would love to work together again in the future. But there aren't any current plans to bring back Higgledy House
SawneyBeane: Can you tell us what's happened to Sarah-Jane and do you have any plans to work with her in the future?
JustinFletcher: SawneyBeane - Sarah-Jane is going to be doing a great new show on Cbeebies later in the year called Mighty Mites about encouraging children to try out different activities. And we would love to work with each other again but theres nothing on the cards at the moment.
aloevera: Justin, we need to know if you are the voice of Handy Andy?
DS has been looking for you under it and was very concerned you might be trapped in it. Pleeeeeeeeease tell us!
JustinFletcher: Hello aloevera - I'm really sorry but Im not sure what Handy Andy is so I don't think I am the voice!
BitOfFun: Can I ask if my daughter (9) would enjoy your programme? I have been moved reading accounts of how children have responded to it, but warn you that she is low-functioning autistic with severe learning disabilities, and has never shown much interest in telly, beyond being soothed by music channels. She has laughed like a drain at Takeshi's castle though. May I ask if Justin would contemplate jumping into muddy water somewhat clumsily from a great height? It may just hook her in...
JustinFletcher: Hello BitOfFun - I think your daughter may well like Mr Tumble if she likes clumsiness. Do let me know what she thinks of it. I have already jumped off many things as I do all my own stunts!
Arabica: Do you ever run workshops on communicating with children with learning disabilities? I do use Makaton but of course, that is not the whole story. Would be useful for health professionals too...
JustinFletcher: Hi Arabica - I don't do workshops but when I do live shows I quite often sing and sign at the same time.
NewShoesonMonday: In response to the posters about the price of Something Special original DVD's, I agree they're a fair whack but imagine it's due to the publishers or something. Was therefore chuffed to see that 'Hello Mr Tumble' Something Special Out & About on DVD is out in May isn't it, £8.99. Can't wait.
A question - gosh, so many I can think of - well firstly, please please can you do a tour of Something Special; secondly maybe you could put some signed photos for sale on Mumsnet... to raise money for your chosen charity - or we could order them? I'm sure there are lots of us who'd like to buy a poster or signed DVD or something? And some clothing too please, before our toddler is too old to wear it. tshirts etc..??? Please
JustinFletcher: Hi NewShoesonMonday - I've brought some signed postcards in with me today which I'll leave with Mumsnet. And the Tumble house is in Devon.
ToDoOrNotToDoList: Do you ever feel typecast into nice signing bloke (who's also funny and can play football and dance and sing)...and do you have plans to escape to an adult audience one day?
LemonMelon: I second a previous posters question, which character in Gigglebiz do you most enjoy playing and why?
**Walks off whistling "Tyra's arms have got no bones..." **
indie37: Have you always done children's TV and have you any plans to do a comedy for the grown ups? I think Gigglebiz is hilarious.
OMG a SS magazine - THANK YOU!!!!! My son will LOVE that!!!!!!
I would like to firstly say that our 4 children are huge fans of Something Special and now Gigglebiz. My 4 year old, Ellie, has learnt most of the makaton signs on Something Special and stands up in her pre-school and teaches them to the rest of the children which we all think is wonderful! It gives her and her friends an opportunity to learn a vital skill which they otherwise wouldn't have come across.
Ellie would love to ask you which is your favourite song from Something Special - she loves the Weather Song. Also which is your favourite Gigglebiz character - Ellie loves the Pirate and Captain Squawk!
Thank you Have a great time at MN Towers!!
Is that the longest post in mn history??
Justin knows who i am and answered my question, thank you
Thanks for answering the question about the DVDs too
You are a hero of all parents of children with SN.
<<must stop swooning>>
My previous question was too silly for Justin to answer so I've thought of another one....
Justin, will you marry me please?
that's very impressive, much better than the politicians we've had in, are you sure you can't run for pm, I'd vote for you?
Swoons - is there anything you can't do - multi-talented performer, great with kids, knows that you have to be prepared for a mumsnet webchat...
You're taken aren't you?? if not I may consider divorcing dh...
Also, how do the children /special schools on Something Special get chosen? Are they written to or are they from contacts from the producer?
vg justin, top marks already.
i know you don't do her voice, but do you know why the cat in timmy time says 'mee-yoo' rather than the more trad 'miaow'? is she a forrin kitten?
Justin, where's Wiggyville? It looks a gorgeous little place.
Hello, Hello How Are You? Hi I'm now live and ready to answer.
My favourite song from SS is Down in the Jungle because I have great fun doing the animal actions!
Wigglyville is Portmerion on North Wales and it's a beautiful spot.
My DCs LOVE your programmes....any more Higgledy House on the way?
<<collapses on floor in excitement>>
Thank you Justin, I have Ellie screaming into the laptop "Thank you Justin I love it too!!"
It's a mix of schools that are chosen by our research team and schools that write in and put their schools forward.
Oooo Justin typed my name! Twice!
Am ridiculously over-excited now. If there's any marrying to be done I'll be doing it, thank you <elbows olifin and scrappy out the way>
How do you feel about a still-married mother of two Justin? Good catch eh?
Argh forgot this!!!
My two youngest love all things Justin
Oh, and Boo! was the first thing that DD1 was ever interested in, and SS got her speaking when she was delayed.
Not got any questions, just excited
That's the most efficient webchat ever! Only just arrived and everyone of my questions has already been answered.
We also love SS in this house. What particularly impresses me is that the can be watched repeatedly without making any adults heads explode. So much of children's television is made for the lowest common denominator that watching it on permanent repeat is soul-destroying.
SS episodes remain as vibrant every time you watch them even if you've seen the episode 600 times.
A cat says meow is a favourite song in this house although the new sign for rabbit pooh caused great hilarity at nursery.
How did it feel to get your bafta and mbe?
God, I have so many questions for you. I am a secondary music teacher (and piano teacher) with a son with low functioning autism and severe learning difficulties.I have often thought I could go into entertainment for children with SN. Did you study performing arts/theatre studies at Uni - what was your route into tv?
Thanks for answering my question- will stop now as hogging this!!!
Is it true when you received your MBE that one of the guards shouted Mr Tumbles as you walked away?
How shocked were you?
I howled with laughter when I read that.
Can I just say again how overwhelmed I am by the response. And very flattered by the marriage proposals - at least two in 5 minutes!
hey justin, we had the head of children's tv on here for a webchat and wittered on in a similar vein about how great you are. i hope he called you into his office and told you about it. we were quite clear that he should.
lovely to see you here on MN - we think you're fab.
Question: do you write any of your own stuff and if not is it something you'd like to do if you had more time?
Mr Tumble were my daughters first words
(I'm skiving at work to write this, so hope I don't get caught!) 2 questions for you:
1. Do you use the Makaton now in your personal life - if you meet a child with special needs in the street for instance? I think it is a great skill to have and have learnt it along with my daughter from watching Something Special.
2. do you come up with all the characters yourself, or do you work with anyone else to come up with ideas?
Justin as you've answered all the serious questions that just leaves 50 mins for the not so serious one You may ahve noticed a could of mnetters mentioning marriage can we have your current statur please?
I missed the answer about adult TV; I love gigglebiz which is a miracle as I've watched it SO many times. It reminds me o Morecambe & Wise, Two Ronnies, Dick Emery, (oldie emoticon )
So Justin, any plans for family en=tertainment, after Dr Who on Saturdays would be good!
PS I love Mr Tumble and the punning names..Arfa Sleep, Ana Conda, thanks for all he fun you bring to us all xx
Adding to the general fangirlism, here. My boys, 6 and 3 both have ASD and love your shows. DS1 is verbal, now, but learnt Makaton with you as he learnt to talk. DS2 has only just started gesturing and imitating and loves putting his hands to his mouth to "call" for Mr Tumble!
As for Grandad Tumble - you've clearly met my ex-FIL
Yes it is true! It was the funniest thing but I had to keep a straight face because I literally met the Queen a minute later!
I always got the impression that, behind the scenes that dragon Tamba was a bit of a demanding Diva. So c'mon, spread the dirt, was she 'difficult' to work with?
Flameboy (4yrs old) is here. I asked if he has any questions for Mr Tumble.
He wants to know if there is a Mr Tumble cuddly toy.
We are overwhelmed to have you here Justin <fawn> <gush> <swoon> etc.
What was your favourite subject at school?
As I said before I'm always open to suggestions about new shows, whether they be children or adult. But I'm very happy where I am at the moment!
you are very talented
how old r u? i am only interested as it is hard to tell
my daughter who is 4.5 years luvs gigglebiz
I haven't got a question just wanted to tell you that mY 3 year old DS thinks your great. He gets really excited when any of your programmes on. I think its great he'll sit there and learn makaton then teach me some
I just loved drama - my first part was the Artful Dodger in Oliver!
Hi Justin, I am in awe
DS (age2)has learnt Makaton purely by watching SS and we all Love you in our house...........Gigglebiz brightens up my week and has the kids in fits of laughter.
Thank you xx
PS - no marriage proposal but you are welcome for dinner any time in the loujay household!!
Hi Justin. Just wanted to add my vote that you are def the best presenter on CBeebies. You make interaction with all the children so natural, and don't talk down to them (unlike others).
My DS learnt to sign from SS, and he still enjoys watching it now (actually I do too, and I love Cliff Tumble).
Are there any plans to have a programme like SS for older children with SN ? SS is the only place that children who are non verbal or who have more severe SNs than just using a wheelchair (watch any other childrens programme, and if there is a child with a SN, it always means they can communicate independantly and if using a wheelchair, self propel) ?
Don't tell anyone else but I'm 39!
Thank you Justin- I thought that was probably the case! I can just picture you as the Artful Dodger
I loved the Mr Tumble playing a popstar in a library sketch. I would love to know the name of the episode that was in because I am a tortured daughter of a Cliff Richard fan and the whole thing made me howl with laughter! My verbal description of it doesn't quite do it justice....
Justin, do you have children of your own? Do you practice out your Gigglebiz characters on them?
Havin learnt makaton through SS, do you think it would be a valid argument that it should be taught to all children in preschools/infant schools?
My DD (18 months) and I watch something special together and we are learning the signs, she can now ask for a drink.(her first sign!)
Yes I do write some of my own stuff. The characters from Gigglebiz were all my own creations and I try to write as much as I can but I do have a large team of writers to help me as there's so much material. And with Something Special, I have a free reign with the visual slapstick although I'm given a storyline first.
Just want to say that my boys 6 and 2, both love Gigglebiz. I find it like a childrens version of the fast show.
Can't think of any questions.
Justin, given your almost universal mumsnet popularity have you thought of selling your endorsement to a political party (& donating proceeds to charity of course ;) )
I to think you should probably stand for election, maybe in 15 years time when all of todays 3 year olds could vote too!!
Hi Justin no real question but like others have said your program is fantastic. My little girl Emily went to a Sing and Sign class when a baby and never learned anything but after watching your show she can do it all and even uses the actions when trying to make us understand her. I have also learned a lot too and my mum just thinks its brilliant!
Sad its not on as much on Cbeebies these days. Will it be coming back with new episodes? (sorry there was a question!)
Lauren and Emily (2.5) x
wow you definetly dont look 39 i was thinking more like 29!! i am shocked!!!
do yuo have any pets? andwhat food do you like
Hi again Stillenacht
Yes I did study at the Guildford school of ACting for three years. I moved into television in 1994 - my first job was Fun Song Factory after sending a letter to producer Iain Lauchlan, who went on to co-create The Tweenies.
you are definetly the best present on cbbc i agree
i luved what you did with sara jane she is good 2
Have been on phone to everyone all a-flutter! I've 'spoken' to Justin!!
My daughter aged 4 loves all of your shows, especially gigglebiz, she thinks you are great, just wanted to say well done for creating some fantastic TV.
She wants to know who your favourite character is in gigglebiz, she likes captain adorable best! (I dont think she really believes the others are you!)
my daughter is sat on my lap she is 4 years old and loves you
she would like to ask
do you have any cats or kittens
do you have an oven
Yes I do use Makaton when I meet children. If they use signing as well I sign straightaway with them
I dont have a question, but I would just like to thank you ever so much for Something Special. My son has ASD and loves the show, and he recently started signing along, which is absolutely fantastic and still brings a tear to my eye. He loves the episode about shops on his Favourite Things DVD.
We thing you deserve a knighthood
Hi easterbunnies and daughter
Yes I have two cats - Freckles and Muggles - and I have an oven too!
Have you got any more weekend visits to the CBeebies house planned? My son loves it when you pop up in the links between shows
Justin, do you voice any audio books? If not, any plans to?
That would be GREAT. My two love listening to stories in the car.
No I don't have children of my own but I'd like a family one day. In the meantime I practice my Gigglebiz characters on my niece and nephew!
Was great to see you on cbeebies yesterday doing the birthday cards (including timmy's baa), are we going to see more and more of you on there? Are you can Katy going to take over? Oh there's an idea, Mr tunble on I can Cook!
No question from me but just want to say I think you are fab <gush, gush>. Dd (4) is a massive fan now that she is no longer scared of Mr Tumble... She hasn't quite got the idea of jokes but wanted me to tell you this one.... (hold onto your hat)
What do you get if you have an elephant, a car and a chair?
(Cue: massive hysterical laughter from dd)
<That's it... don't hang around for the punch line!>
Thank you for all your great work! bbxx
we have one cat called james
what do you like doing in your spare time?
I love going into the CBeebies house as it gives me an opportunity to work with the other presenters. I'm sure I'll be popping up again there soon.
Hullo Hullo! And squeeeee!
Thanks for answering my question...a Rapids Johnson - Ray Mears collaboration OOOOH YES PLEASE! God that would be marvelous...Ray and Rapids are building a canoe...can you sign canoe? Ray and Rapids are heading down river can you sign waterfall? Oh no!
My kids adore you and we are coming to see you in panto(front row seats)
We was wondering will there be a chance to meet you after the show? Thanks
Ha Ha ImagineWittyNameHere
Just to add to the fangirling - my two daughters absolutely adore everything you do.
My eldest, who is 6, has ASD/high functioning, and my little one is only 18 months but suspected for ASD - they both love the makaton, though.
And your singing. And Nana Knickerbocker, Prof Muddles, etc from Gigglebiz!! We can't miss an episode of that, no way!
They were very amused to see you pop up between shows the other day, was it saturday? You were painting Cerrie and Alex, and you had a funny mustache on, waggling your eyebrows - my eldest burst into laughter watching that.
Anyway, just a heartfelt thank you for your hard work on TV, your dedication to children and children's services, and a woohoo for your crossdressing! Please never leave our tv screens!
just wanted to say thanks for SS. my son loves it and we both love learning the signs, in fact we often do the signs when we see something when out and about. no money wasted on baby signing classes in this house
and also thanks for the Veterinary episode. im a vet nurse and i give talks to pre school age children. i use lots of what you did in that episode in my talks and the feedback from the teachers is fantastic - im always a bit embarrassed to admit that i learnt all my animal signs from cbeebies
Tell me when you're coming and I'll give the children a big wave.
We are hoping for tickets to see you at the Parents Like Us festival in May. Last year, you crashed the phone lines and it was still sold out in 10 minutes.
A SS tour would be fabulous: introducing kids to the theatre for a character they love. Although some awfully fast costume changes for you.
So diving deeper into your personal life (because yes I have noticed that you have ignored the marital status questions)
Were you anymore than just friends with sarah-jane? Seeing as you shared higgedly house and all....
or more seriously - who is mr tumble going to vote for??
Hi Justin - thanks for answering. I work with children too, and have no plans to 'move on' to more adult stuff.
It's inspiring to see someone so obviously committed tp what they do - and doing it so well.
Luvvy question: if you went to Guildford, were you taught by Peter Roberts? He's my hero.
Thanks for answering Justin
The kids are watching you right now..they are obsessed lol,
We will be at the 1pm showing on Dec 27th.Look forward to it
I have very little spare time but I like to go to the movies when I can and working in the garden. I built a duck pond yesterday!
<swoon> I made Justin laugh.
DD1 will never believe me - she laughs like a loon at Gigglebiz & when I try she just tells me not to be so silly..
I wasn't taught by Peter but i do know him he's a lovely chap.
we have one cat called james
what do you like doing in your spare time?
thanks so much for answering my question justin - keep up the good work. btw grandad tumble reminds me very much of clive dunn ...
Sarah Jane and I are great pals. And if Aunt Polly was willing to stand for election, Mr Tumble would vote for her!
Thanks for answering my question Justin - your neice and nephew are very lucky!
When my 2 watch Hiddledy House in the car, all we hear in the front is "Justin.....Sarah-Jane has an itch".....and the adults laugh louder than the children . Perhaps you should consider TV for adults
do you play any musical instruments?
Thank you and yet still being elusive
Who else can hear Justin's voice when she reads his replies?
Hi Justin, I have 3 sons and my middle one has DS. He has severe hearing loss and wears hearing aids and I want to thank you and Mr tumble for helping with his hearing aids as the only way we could get him to wear them was when he was watching you. He adores you and could watch you day and night! Thanks again and keep up the good work!
Hi Justin! Well done for being more popular than any of the politicians
My question would be: Waht does it take to be a hit with young children and do you reckon it is something you can learn with time?
Thanks and keep up the great work!
Tell your daughter i like Captain Adorable too and Arthur Sleep and Rapids Johnson are my other favourites
my daughter likes the sound of a duck pond
you will make a great dad when you do have children
"Tell your daughter i like Captain Adorable too and Arthur Sleep and Rapids Johnson are my other favourites"
Justin, those are also my eldest's favourites too
Are there signs that we can do one handed? (temp mesure?)
I just wanted to say that my daughter 2 and half loves you and me too (AND my husband, and probably my little newborn will soon!!)!! When you do short clip of captain adorable. There is a little stripy grey and white cat on the tree. Where does the cat come from? I have the exact same cat that I bought for myself years ago in Germany which my daughter adopted as hers and cannot go to sleep without. I tried to get hold of an extra one in case she loses hers, but the company stopped making them.
Sending you lots of luck and gigles and love from all of us bluecats family.
hi justin, would just like to add how much my ds (19mo) loves you well mr tumble actually, especially when he sneezes or falls over <cue hysterical laughing> he has cerebal palsy, so finds it a bit had to sign, but he tries.
I think you have to enjoy what you do really and hopefully that enjoyment rubs off on the children - I always think I've got one of the best jobs in the world. That's why I love doing live shows because you can work off the energy given off by the children.
Is it sad that I'm more excited about Justin being here than I was about our esteemed politician guests?
My children have grown up with you and my 6 year old wants to know if you have any new shows in the pipeline?
Hi Bluecats - you've got me there but I could try to find out...
i work as a special needs teacher, we watch your dvd's evey day, the staff as well as the children love love to pactice signing whilst watching. Thank you so very mutch for you excelent work x
i have two questions,
are you ticklish?!
what is your favouite sandwich filling?!
Thanks Justin for replying: good for you for finding satisfaction in what you do! wow I just wish i could always find the energy to match my two boys!
Can you come and visit Jersey? DD would probably explode with delight if she met you. Everything in her life is referenced to Mr Tumble at the moment -
Me - Let's go to the library
Her - Mr Tumble went library. Shhhhh.....
Me - let's have a bath
Her - Grampa Tumble bath! All wet!
And so on. Last night I asked her what she was going to dream about and she said 'Mr Tumble'. I would be offended but I can't really blame her, Mr Tumble is a great character and I like it that she signs lots of stuff as well as says it, it makes her easier to understand.
So pleased you could come on and talk to us. One thing has been bugging me for years - were you the "voice" in Alphabet Town and any other V-tech toys? I could have sworn it was you....
Do tell your six year old that we're about to film a new series of Something Special and I can let all you MNers know first - we're just going to go into production with a second series of Gigglebiz and we'll take all your feedback about the characters etc to the table!
Hello Justin you wonderful man you! One more question from me. I have been told you do a voice on the Bob the Builder toy phone, is that correct? If so what sound!?
<sits with Bob the Builder phone in front of her waiting to press some numbers>
is there any chance?.... any chance at all I could get you to send a BIG wave and (if you are feeling really generous) a kiss to my friend Indychick...as she is on holiday today, and absolutley gutted she has had to miss your webchat...
We think you are ACE btw, Higgledy house was PURE genius!
My eldest just let out a whoop of joy at that news! Woo hoo!
To put you out of your misery, yes I provide the voice for several children's toys!
Justin - Is it your voice on the Vtech Globe thingy, Im sure it is
Ha, EllieG. I was going to ask Mr Tumble to come visit the Northeast and offer him a babysitting gig, but my kids would very firmly order him to get back into the telly where he belongs!!!
Hello and a big wave to Indychick
fran! Helloooooo! (You know me from the other place)
And yes, Indychick would like to be acknowledged by you Justin!
Yes I'm ticklish and my favourite sandwich filling is avocado and bacon.
Justin, you've just made Indychick's day
I KNEW it was your voice coming from my daughter's VTech radio! That discussion almost cause a major marital issue in my house!
Justin, could I please ask another question if you don't mind! Is there anything you would change about children's TV if you could? I am really interested in knowing!
o no!! I thought this started at 11:30 <sulk>
Yes there are lots of signs you can do one-handed. If you go onto the Makaton website you can find out further information
Justin, I know I am flouting the one question rule but I'd like to know your opinion on fruit shoots- they are a source of much controversy on MN. Do you think they are all right for children?
This is a masterclass in how to conduct a webchat!
Thanks again for coming, my smallest son will not believe that I "spoke to you!
Hi Justin. Sorry if this has been asked already, I wanted to get in before you disappeared!!
I was wondering if you took inspiration from people you know in 'real life' for any of the gigglebiz characters?
My son (2) said "hello TASTIN" (he hasn't quite mastered 'Justin' yet )
Have I missed him? I hope not.
This has been a great web-chat - thanks. I can't remember the last time I sat down for a whole hour and drunk a cup of coffee during the day
Thank you Justin, you are fab. Any chance of an excerpt from the Goodbye song?
Thanks for your time Justin, hope you will come back.
hi Justin, will there be a 'send in your mentions' thing for the Hexagon Panto like the Horsham Capitol did last year? Thanks for being a star x
Hi LAuren and Emily and Littleloz
Yes we're filming new episodes of Something Special at the moment and you should be able to watch it every weekday for at least the next year!
Thanks Justin, its been great
Can I just say that reading some of the stories on this thread of the effect that Something Special has on children, particularly those with SN, brought a big lump to my throat.
Has a child's reaction to you ever made you cry?
you will come back again won't you Justin?! This has been great
Has anyone asked what his favourite biscuit is?
Thanks Justin, I think MN will be buzzing for the rest of the day!!
Thank you everybody for all your comments and feedback. I'm going to leave you now but I"ll try to answer any questions I've missed which Mumsnet will put up for me.
Goodbye, Goodbye it's time to run!
MoM, it was acustard cream
Ps My favourite biscuits are fig rolls!
I'm really going now....
Thank you. That was a great chat.
bye justin, aw what a lovely chap!
mr tumbles fave are custard creams
Wow! Justin answered my question
Thank you Justin! Emily is very confused as to why Im talking to the computer but wait till I tell DH! Made my day
off to series link the TV x x x
Thank-you Justin, a great & informative webchat. Is up there with Gabrielle Palmer for me on how to do a webchat
Thank you Justin
DS2 will be onhere and amazed to read a proper reply tonight, you will have made his week.
Oh no, I just missed it by minutes. Thanks Justin, you were really lovely.
Justin has now left so I'm going to post the answers to some of the questions we didn't get round to.
The signing we us is Makaton and we chose it because it's specially-designed for children with learning difficulties.
Yes childlren often sign when they meet me. It's remarkable and I'm always astounded by the levels of children's signing - quite often they're better than I am!
Tell you something that would surprise you? Well I own four bumper cars - that often surprises people!
Mamaglee - At school I wanted to be a film director but somehow I've found myself in front of camera instead.
Hi IvanighSpare - Sadly there isn't a CBeebies Christmas party - or if there is I"ve never been invited!
Olifin - Yes I voice some audiobooks. I've done Wriggle and Roar by Jacqueline Wilson.
Megatron - It came as a huge shock to discover how popular Something Special became so quickly and, absolutely, it's the most rewarding show I do - no doubt!
ooh, oooh, wasn't really expecting an answer to my question....
but I'm glad I - kinda - got one!
Damn it, I missed him! ):
I thouht it was at half 12! Oh no!
Justin seems really nice, not that I was expectin anything different.
5inthebed I thought it was at 1! <<sob>>
I was at the tip just now and thought I'd got home in time for it.
At least I now know it is Justins voice in our vtec phonics board toy. We call it the 'Justin board'.
Just finished reading - what a star Justin is!
just read this too, what a nice man
What a truly great webcast!
anyone else willing to admit they are now a tiny bit in love with him? (well, OK, maybe a bit more than a tiny bit!)
Me amiable [grin
I did ask DH for eprmission to go off and find him but it was denied. Dammit. Apparenlty I ahve ironing and washing to do.
Thank you for answering my question and hope you didn't take it as a criticism!
Lovely webchat, you are fab Justin And thanks for answering my question
Wouldn't have put him at 39
oh gosh and wow. the best web chatter ever! thank you justin
What a fantastic webchat!
Brilliantly quick responses, and answered almost everyones questions. Well done Justin!
My daughter is turning three years old this August. She loves you and Mr Tumble very much. It will mean the world to if you could make it to her birthday party and entertain for an hour or so. I don't mind paying however much it may cost, as long as she is happy that is all that matters.
Please do reply back and let me know whether you will be able to make it or not. It is on the 10th Aug however I don't mind changing it for a later or earlier date, whatever suits you best.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Lots of Love
Afia, you might get loads of Mr Tumbles ringing you now, offering to do it for £50.
My daughter is turning 3 years old this august. She loves you and Mr Tumble very much. It will mean the world to her if you could attend the party and entertain for an hour or so. I do not mind paying however much it may cost, I just want to make my daughter's day. It is on 10/08/10, however, I can change the party date to an earlier or later date, whatever suits you best.
PLease do reply
Sorry, thought my first message wasn't posted. Hence why I posted it again.
hello justin my little boy chris loves your shows hes 2 in march and i was just wondering if theyre would be any way of getting a signed photo for his birthday im stuck at what to get him because hes got most dvds of yours and like i say hes a huge fan and watches your dvds over and over and over anyhow are you doing any shows in birmingham this year because he'd love that if u were nehow nice talking to you
carrie-anne raybould from bartley green birmingham
hello justin my 2yr old son chris loves your programme and asks could he have a autograph please hes a huge fan and has special made mr tumble sun blinds for his 2nd birthday thank you and godbless
Message deleted by Mumsnet.
my downs saon aBSOLUTELY LOVES ALL UR PROGRAMMES WEN U DOING A SHOW OVER IN NORFOLK WE COULDN'T GET TICKETS FOR IPSWICH AND HE WAS DEVESTATED 1 DREAM WE HAVE FOR HIM IS TO MEET MR TUMBLE AS HE HAS HEART AND LUNG DISEASES THAT ARE INCURABLE WOULD LOVE TO GIVE HIM ALL HIS WISHES WHILE WE CAN LOVE ALL THE SHOWS KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK X
hi justin my sons adore you and i was just wondering would u ever come to middlesbrough to promote something or to do a show because your shows are always far out xxxxx
i was also wondering if you could send me ur autograph plz thank you xx
hello justin, hows you? abbie mitchell is my name somethink speical is my favourite show
this thread is 2 years old. Get a grip ladies.
Is there any chance to invite Justin to the mumsnet chat again????
Why are ghost threads appearing again?
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