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The end of an era

CHILDREN’S PRESENTER: Sid Sloane

IF YOU have children aged 12 or below, or have ever seen the children’s channel CBeebies then you will know Sid Sloane. He has been a staple on the channel since its beginning 12 years ago.

In fact, he is the only original remaining cast member, but next year he will be leaving the BBC. Hold onto those tears, because there is good news. The actor will branch out on his own with his new theatre act called Sid’s Show.

With over a decade of children’s entertainment under his belt, Sloane is looking forward to pastures new and admits that it is the right time to leave CBeebies.

“It’s just time for me to move on,” said the 36-year-old. “I wanted to leave last year but I thought I would wait and see because I don’t like to force things. Now it seems like the natural thing for me to do and I haven’t got a clue what to do next. But that’s how I tend to live, and I’m happy with that, it’s in God’s hands.”

It has been a long and eventful journey for the presenter, who wanted to be a firefighter in his 20s, but instead became a computer broker, before he made the leap into acting. Having always considered himself a serious performer, Sloane was initially unsure whether he wanted to take the job, but the deciding factor came in the form of his three-year-old son.

“I never considered being a presenter at all. I trained to be an actor and I thought I would make millions being in films and then move onto theatre. When I got the job for CBeebies, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the job.

The BBC execs were looking for new faces for a new channel for children; my son was three-and-a-half at the time, so I thought it was fantastic. And I knew one of the best ways to get into films was to be seen by as many people as possible and that was to be on television.”

Without presenting skills Sloane originally felt a little out of his depth to overcome his lack of technical abilities. Every time he was in front of the camera the father-of-one imagined he was talking to his son.

“When I first started at CBeebies I didn’t have any presenting skills so I relied on my personality and every time I looked at the camera I would imagine it was my son and that really helped. Now he is going to be 15, he’s always telling me what I should and shouldn’t do on the show; he told me five years ago I had to stop doing CBeebies, because he grew out of it.”


PANTO PANDEMONIUM: Laila Morse and Sid Sloane

Apart from making him a more attentive father, being on TV has shown the children’s presenter that he has to be very responsible.

“As I became aware of its reach, I felt like I had to be more responsible. It became one of the most successful channels to be launched in the history of UK television. After three years, I got stopped all the time and I think the sense of responsibility dawned on me then. As a CBeebies presenter you have to be squeaky clean, God forbids I did anything that some other personalities have been caught doing, my career would be over. But I’m a pretty clean living guy, I don’t have any secrets to worry about, I’m just me.”

Although entertaining children is a big part of his job, Sloane craves the honest interaction that comes from kids and what better way to get it than in a Christmas pantomime. Currently starring in Jack and the Beanstalk at Fairfields Hall, alongside Laila Morse also known as Mo Harris from Eastenders, the actor is relishing his new theatrical challenge.

“I love doing panto. It’s one of the best forms of theatre that you can get, and you’re talking to someone who considers himself to be a serious actor. The thing about panto is that it’s just so much fun and you can let go and everybody who comes along wants to be there. It’s a family event and I’m a family man, I love my family very much so it’s right up my street, it’s high energy and you can make a fool of yourself, which is fun.”

Sid Sloane and Jack and the Beanstalk will be at Fairfields Hall theatre, Park Lane, Croydon, until January 6. For more information visit: www.fairfield.co.uk.

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