This week, we interviewed charismatic CBeebies presenter and children’s entertainer Alex Winters, who lives in Salford, Manchester with his wife, three children, and pet goldfish.
In short, yes! It really is a great place to be with a fantastic crew. Not everyone gets to ‘work’ in such a colourful, fun enviroment. I’m very lucky. We do have some very long days of filming but even when I’m feeling tired or I’m lacking a bit of energy, I quickly look around me and remind myself of what it is I do. I love it!
What do your children think of you being on TV; do they enjoy watching you?
Ummm, sort of! My youngest is almost two years old and has now realised that her dad is on her beloved cbeebies. Being two means that perhaps she thinks it’s normal. She does get excited when she can see me on there but if I am also next to her it confuses her a bit. My eldest two, 7 and 5 are moving on to CBBC so I’m not so ‘cool’ anymore, I’m good ol’ embarrassing dad. That’s how it should be, he he he!
What’s your favourite programme on CBeebies and why?
I don’t have just the one, that would be too difficult to decide. I love Andy’s Wild Adventures, that Mr Pickles is great 😉 Gigglebiz genuinely makes me laugh hard, it’s Keith Fit that gets me. Hilarious. Then there’s Zingzillas. It’s amazing the calibre of musician on that programme. I try to explain to my children who each guest is and how great it is that they are on Zingzillas. I mean who can ignore the brilliance of The Darkness making an appearance, lycra cat suits and leather! Class.
You’re an ambassador for Caudwell Children, tell us a bit about this important charity.
We get contacted by a lot of children’s charities as I’m sure you can imagine. When I first started cbeebies, my boss at the time advised me to read up on each charity, get a feel for them and really find out what they do and how they help so that I could make an informed decision on which charity(ies) I could help. As much as I’d love to help them all it’s just not possible. Well, Caudwell Children impressed me from the start. I was invited to their Butterfly Ball where I got to meet 5 or 6 children who had received help from Caudwell Children in varying ways. There were three things that made me really love this charity, the passion of its workers, the fact that they help children across the disability and illness spectrum so not focusing on just one disability and finally, EVERY single penny raised or donated to them ACTUALLY goes to the child as John Caudwell who started the Charity pays for and covers every single working cost ensuring every penny goes to where it is needed. They are simply a wonderful group and I have been fortunate enough to run the London Marathon on their behalf and be involved in local campaigns and events.
If you weren’t a children’s entertainer, what would you be?
If I wasn’t a children’s entertainer and I was younger, had good knees, better skills and a great singing voice 😉 I’d like to be a professional footballer or frontman in the best band in the world. Ever.
Originally from Cardiff, you were recently involved in a TV series where you attempted to learn the Welsh language. How challenging was this, and how important do you think it is to pass on these skills and other Celtic traditions to your children?
Oh, that was such a great experience for me, Cariad@iaith was the name of the programme. Growing up in Cardiff in the 80’s I didn’t really have too much of an opportunity to really get stuck into learning the Welsh language and it is something I have always wanted to do, so this experience was so good for me. It was extremely challenging for me as I am not a natural linguist so I really had to work hard to keep up with everyone else. I have a fairly good short term memory so I relied on that hoping that with effort and tenacity I could keep it in my long term memory. That remains difficult to this day. It was surprisingly a very emotional experience for me. I did not expect that. I genuinely felt it was something close to my heart that added to my feelings of what it meant to be Welsh. I now live in Manchester and I try to keep certain traditions alive with my family. My wife is English as is my youngest child, born in Bolton! However, I have my two mancunian Welshies in my two eldest. They were both born in Wales. They are nearly 8 and 6 and they have been in manchester for nearly 3 years so i’m fighting to keep them Welsh!!! On St David’s Day, March the 1st, they take home baked Welsh Cakes in to school along with the national costume. They also teach their classmates some Welsh phrases. So I am trying!! I think it is important for us all to know our roots, our ancestry and our social traditions. It is a huge part of who we are as individuals.
What’s your favourite family recipe?
Well, if you are asking about my Winters’ family recipe then it would have to be my late nan’s apple pie. NOTHING can touch it. However, my mum, my sisters, me, we have all tried it but NONE of us can make it taste like my nan used to make it. It pains me to admit this. With regards to my own little family, my wife has this truly amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe that is just fantastic!! The kids and I can’t get enough of them!!! They’ve got oats in them which DEFINITELY means they’re healthy so I eat even more 😉
I have a huge love of eating chocolate and cheese. Not together. Although, thinking about it, why not?!!
You’re the compere on the main stage at this year’s LolliBop. What’s so good about this festival, and what are you looking forward to most?
This will be my fourth year as compere on the main stage and it gets better each year! I just love it. It’s a festival for children, what’s not to love about that?!?! There is such a variety of entertainment, beatboxers to Justin Fletcher to West End musical theatre and it is all aimed at making sure little ones have a great time. It’s bright, musical, funny and messy!!! The atmosphere is just perfect, everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves. This year I’m looking forward to seeing Mister Maker and Sam & Mark on stage. it will be lots of fun I can assure you. See you there?
What’s your idea of the perfect weekend with the family?
I have simple tastes and ideas. If it’s sunny we love to picnic at the beach or the park and if it’s a rainy day, stay in and make dens into a home cinema with lots of treats 🙂 Perfect.
What’s the one children’s product you couldn’t have lived with out?
For my own children? Sickness wrist bands!!!! Hahahaha, they all get travel sick and so those bands have really saved us from lots of stinky, sick filled car journeys!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Happy, smiley, willing and excitable. And not great at maths.