25 years of the Broom Cupboard on CBBC


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Hello, my name is Iain Stirling and I'm a TV presenter... A sentence that still fills me with a sense of wonder to this day!

I'm more commonly known as 'that Scottish lad with the dog puppet' in the CBBC office (or the CBBC Broom Cupboard, depending on the year displayed upon your birth certificate).

The dog takes the form of a funny canine named Hacker (a former yellow coat from Wigan) or occasionally Dodge (a London geezer, whose origins are known only as 'down the bins'). What a strange life I lead.

This week it's the 25th anniversary of the Broom Cupboard - or 25 years of live children's presentation at the BBC. To celebrate, the BBC Archive is releasing rare out-takes and clips of all our old favourites, from past presenters to Gordon the Gopher and Edd the Duck.

As I look back at the archive, the idea of joining the long list of former presenters is an extremely daunting one.

Imagine following the career path of Phillip Schofield and achieving the unachievable and actually securing Holly Willoughby's phone number!

In all seriousness though, the thought of joining the likes of Zoe Ball, Fearne Cotton and Chris Jarvis, to name but a few, is awesome to say the least. Makes me feel like any minute the BBC is going to figure out the horrible mistake it's made and send me packing. I'm not worthy!

Being completely honest, the idea of being a 'telly presenter' was always one that excited me, but was never a real passion. Bar an excessive teenage crush on the lovely Fearne Cotton, my experience of TV presenting was never more than fleeting. Yet I find myself sat before you chatting at length about it - how can this be?

As a student (I studied law at the University of Edinburgh, thanks for asking) I indulged in my passion for stand up comedy and won the occasional award.

This led to an audition, in a room above a pub, in front of a group of CBBC people who just wanted to go home to their families.

It was a pleasure to do, and after a couple of days (I was, after all, a skint student with a rubbish phone that never got a signal) I got a call asking me to take part in a studio screen test.

I did it; it went quite badly but they gave me the job. This life changing moment will never be forgotten.

Thanks to everyone at CBBC for choosing me out of the many talented comics on offer and also my parents for forking out the money to allow me to fly to London to talk to some television people above a pub.

See Dad, it all worked out in the end....who needs law? (well as a society we do, I meant as a career option, obviously).

And here we are now. Do I get nervous before I go live on air? Not really. It's my job and I have an extremely talented team behind me, ensuring I come across much more professionally than I perhaps should.

Worst bits? Like every job there are a few. I don't get as many holidays as I would like, and the idea of people recognising me in the street can, at times, be peculiar. But these can be described, at most, as minor.

So yeah, thanks for reading, my name's Iain Stirling and I'm a TV presenter... Nah it still feels weird.

Iain Stirling presents the links on the CBBC Channel every weekday from 7.30am-8am and 4pm-6.35pm. It is also broadcast live on the CBBC website.

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