ALTHOUGH for many aspiring entertainers becoming a children’s television presenter might fulfil a lifelong ambition, CBeebies star Sid Sloane, pictured, was a man with even bigger dreams.
“I wanted to go to Hollywood, get paid about £6m a film and then have the time and money to play the parts I wanted on the stage,”
laughs the former salesman who is adored by millions of toddlers and their parents for his role in the hit children’s TV show Let’s Play.
“I haven’t quite managed that but I do get to be on stage and screen so you could say I’m living the dream.”
As well as his children’s channel CBeebies commitments, Sloane is about to bring his one-man Sid’s Show to Salisbury Arts Centre on Tuesday, April 15 as part of a nation-wide tour.
Combining puppetry, magic, music and fun, the central theme of Sid’s Show will ring true for any family with children under five – the hunt for socks and shoes.
“I need the audience to help me find my socks and shoes and that takes us on a wonderful journey,” said Sloane.
“We go under the sea, into the jungle and to outer space and meet all sorts of brilliant characters along the way.”
Sid’s Show has been successfully touring for months and Sloane believes making it interactive is the best way to stop toddlers from fidgeting.
“I work with professionals and take their advice,” he said. “A lot has to happen very quickly to keep their attention so we’ll add songs, games and chances for them to join in so they really feel part of the show.”
For many tiny tots Sid’s Show is their first outing to the theatre.
“That means a lot to me – it’s a real honour,” he said.
“But I feel I am responsible for them enjoying the experience.
“It’s wonderful to meet the children and their parents afterwards and hear what they thought of the show.”
Unlike many of the freshfaced drama school graduates who present kids’ TV shows, Sloane – who is 35 - says that he was “relatively late” to join the industry.
Looking for a change of direction after years in sales, Sloane enrolled at a Brighton drama school.
His first audition for a children’s programme – the book-based show Storymakers – was unsuccessful but the producers asked him back to talk about a new channel for young viewers and he became a CBeebies presenter.
He did the job for 11 years and now presents Let’s Play, a show that promotes imaginative play that is popular with pre-schoolers and their parents.
Sloane also teams up with his good friend and fellow CBeebies host Andy Day for a live show and will be appearing at Edinburgh Fringe as well as developing the sequel to Sid’s Show.
It might not be the heady heights of Hollywood but Sloane says he couldn’t be happier.
“Children are a wonderful audience,” he said. “I love that they want to watch me and I love entertaining them.”
- Sid’s Show is at Salisbury Arts Centre on Tuesday April 15 at 11am and 2pm. For tickets visit salisburyartscentre.co.uk or call 01722 321744.