This week we interviewed actor Ben Faulks, best known as Mr Bloom on CBeebies. Ben lives in Yorkshire, with his wife and three children aged 3, 5, 7 years old. He has three pet goldfish and when he’s not working, you’ll find Ben out and about, biking, running and flying kites. Ben is staring in the Sleeping Beauty Panto at The New Victoria Theatre in Woking this Christmas. For tickets click here to book.
You are best known for your role as Mr Bloom in CBeebies award winning programs Mr Bloom’s Nursery, Get Set Grow and Here and There. You created the character and concept originally as a walkabout show. How did you get into this and how did you go about progressing it onto our televisions?
After leaving Drama School I moved to MCR in 2001 to begin work as an actor and writer. Outside of taking on all manner of commercial acting work I was keenly focused on developing my own writing. At first I wrote predominantly for stage before expanding into outdoor theatre. At this point I wrote a show about a gardener and his baby vegetables and toured it heavily for a few years around the UK, into Europe & beyond. It was then that my wife & I had our first child and subsequently encountered, CBeebies. Always looking to diversify into different areas of writing, I noticed there was room for a show about horticulture and the outdoors in general. Using my baby vegetable show as the premise I pitched to the BBC, and luckily they were interested. The idea was taken into development and after a few years appeared on the channel as, Mr Blooms Nursery.
In Mr Bloom’s Here and There program you travel here and there to discover why little Children love where they live. Where is the best place you have been?
Hand on heart, it’s impossible to pick one out of so many. Reason being that each one is so distinctive and holds such importance for that community in particular. When visiting these places it’s fantastic to see how enthusiastic the children (and adults) are about their locality and what makes it so special to them. It brings back that ‘larger than life’ magic you have when you’re young and that sometimes, relatively simple places or activities can have a huge impact.
You have recently joined the cast of Hollyoaks as Mark Brown, how does this role compare to the children’s lovable Mr Bloom?
It’s been great to hop across to Liverpool to join the Hollyoaks cast. They’re lovely bunch, both cast and crew, and filming was a lot of fun. As an actor you’re always looking for opportunities that’ll stretch you and allow a certain amount of exploration. Getting this role and the chance to do a bit of ‘grown up tele’ has been just that. That said, playing Mr Bloom remains a lot of fun too. All in all, it’s a really nice balance.
Did you always want to have a career in acting?
Absolutely. I’ve no idea what I’d be doing if it weren’t this. Looking back at old notebooks and diaries I find the same thing, time and time again, ‘When I grow up I want to be acting and making shows’. When I was young I spent all my time doing amateur dramatics and now I spend all my time doing dramatics, so thank goodness is all I can say.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Kicking Andy Day up the bottom in CBeebies Peter Pan, last year.
Will you be encouraging any of your children to get into acting?
Nope! They’re going to be accountants, solicitors, they’ll get a “proper job”. However, if I don’t get my way, then we’ll have to wait and see. But seriously, it’s the one thing I love to muse about, ‘what are they going to choose to do with their lives?’ It’s a fascinating prospect and I can’t wait to see what they choose.
Share with us your favourite family recipe.
Homemade pizza on a Friday. Everyone concocts their own and chooses their toppings in advance. After school, we get it all prepped and laid out on the table. Chefs arrive and then all hands on deck, decorating your own, in what ever way you want. After a quick blast in the oven, we’re dining.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
Our two bike seats. We went to Holland on a theatre tour and came back with these brilliant front and back seats to the bike. The front one even had a windscreen. A trivial detail perhaps, but I’ve got great memories of taking the eldest two out on my bike, my wife on hers and off we’d go along the cycle path, down to the park. Speaker hanging off the pannier rack playing reggae, BBQ in the backpack, good times…
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
We’re about to film the new CBeebies Christmas show, then I’m off to Woking to perform in the panto, Sleeping Beauty as the Prince with Katie Price, Anita Dobson & Carla Nella.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?