Blooming ‘eck! Green-fingered CBeebies TV star Mr Bloom, idolised by millions of children around the world, can trace his roots back to Sheffield, writes Graham Walker.
And the seed of an idea was planted while creator Ben Faulks was studying locally.
In an exclusive chat with The Star - hear it in full below - Ben revealed he spent leisure time in Sheffield and played in bands at venues, including the Leadmill, while on a dance and drama course at Bretton Hall College, near Barnsley.
And the 35-year-old revealed that’s where he found Mr Bloom’s voice.
“That’s where the accent derives from, a soft northern Yorkshire accent,” said Ben, who will entertain thousands of families when he stars in CBeebies Live! The Big Band at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on Easter Saturday.
“It certainly was what I took away with me before I moved over to Manchester. So, yes, you could say in a way the character derives from there.”
Ben, originally from Truro in Cornwall, added: “I love South Yorkshire. I had three years studying at Bretton – then last year I did the panto at the Lyceum in Sheffield, so I got to spend the festive season there. I’ve got a lot of love for Sheffield and it will be great to come back.
“I haven’t been to the Motorpoint Arena for years, since I saw Massive Attack on their Mezzanine tour in 1998.
“I used to be in acoustic cabaret bands and I’ve played at the Leadmill and other venues.”
He added: “It’s going to be a spectacular show – loads of energy, music, dance and exciting audio visual effects. It’s about putting on a gig with as many instruments as we can, with lots of singing, dancing and audience interaction.
“It’s the best job in the world. TV is great. But with live shows you get audience feedback. It’s encouraging and heart warming.
“In a similar way to pantomime, there will be something for the kids and the parents.”
Justin Fletcher, his alter ego Mr Tumble, Mister Maker, ZingZillas and many more will feature in both performances of CBeebies Live! n The Big Band in Sheffield, on Saturday, at 1.30pm and 4.30pm. Tickets £18.50 to £33.35. Family tickets £58.10 to £97.70. Buy in person, call 0114 256 5656 or visit www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk. Also see The Star’s entertainments and listings site at www.wow247.co.uk.
* Mr Bloom stars in Three Little Pigs, in collaboration with Northern Ballet, filmed at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax, on CBeebies TV, Friday, April 25, 2014, 5pm.