This week, we interviewed inspirational CBeebies presenter, author, playwright and mother Cerrie Burnell on working life and motherhood. 

CBeebies presenter, author, playwright and mother – Cerrie Burnell  

You’re best known for being a CBeebies presenter, is working on the set of CBeebies as fun as it looks?

The CBeebies house is an incredibly lovey place to work. We all appreciate how lucky we are to be part of such a cherished establishment and want to make it the best we can. It’s a long day, but together we make sure that morale is high and that we’re able to find the sense of play and have fun.

Your initial apprearence on CBeebies sparked controversy with regards to your disability, how did this make you feel and do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into TV that has a disability?

I’ve done countless interviews about the fact that I welcomed the debate that arose from those comments and relished the opportunity to discuss disability openly. My advice to anyone going into the media industry is that you need a very strong heart and a lot of resilience. The thing that will get you the farthest isn’t talent (alone) its ambition.

You are the author of delightful new show ‘The Magic Playroom’ tell us a bit about this magical story and what inspired you to get writing.

I’ve always written and dreamed up stories but working for CBeebies gave me the opportunity to create a piece of work directly for families.

You’re also the author of children’s book ‘Snowflakes‘ published last year. What was the inspiration behind this story, and what do you feel makes for a great children’s book?

Snowflakes was an amazing experience from start to finish. Working with the charity Coram was partly my inspiration for the story and I wanted it to have that fairy tale element of it being about a little girl and a grandma. It was also important to me that the child in my first picture book was a child of duel heritage (like my own daughter). For me a good children’s book has to have an element of originality and magic both within the story and the language.

You have also spent time as a teaching assistant at a special needs school. What made you want to do this and is this something you might do again in the future?

I worked in a variety of different schools in-between acting work. It was wonderful but not something I would return to in the same capacity simply because of time. Going into schools as an author is a lovely way to work in schools and something I really enjoy.

What’s your favourite programme on CBeebies and why?

I love Abney and Teal because of its gentleness and delightful imagination.

What do your children think of you being on TV; do they enjoy watching you?

My daughter used to watch a lot of CBeebies – but the reality is that no child wants their mum to go to work, so whilst she loved the channel, she didn’t always like watching me when she wasn’t with me.

What’s your favourite family recipe?

My family don’t really have a family recipe. My dad has always done most of the cooking and so I’m not an avid cook – in fact I’m not domestic at all really. But I do love baking with my little girl – we both love cake and its fun and fairly easy.

What’s the one children’s product you couldn’t have lived without?

The thing I couldn’t live without is a tangle teaser hair brush.  

How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?

How would I some myself up…A girl with a mermaid’s heart.

*** Picture commissioned and exclusive to the London Evening Sta