New giggles with CBeebies’ Justin Fletcher in comedy sketch-show Gigglebiz

I think that children love to watch the different characters because they make them laugh. Whether Ann Teak is knocking a priceless vase off a table or Keith Fitt is passing on his sporting tips, every sketch is full of funny moments and that seems to keep children entertained!"Justin Fletcher
Date: 02.10.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.13
Category: CBeebies
Justin Fletcher returns with a host of well-loved and brand-new characters, music and dancing in a new series of the comedy sketch-show Gigglebiz.

Jam-packed full of giggles, the third series (26x15 minutes) includes many of the hilarious and eccentric regulars from the previous series returning alongside a number of brand new, quirky characters, all played by Justin.

New characters include prehistoric cave-dwellers Ug & Ig, gardener Will Barrow, storyteller Storybook Stan, infuriating minstrel Will Singalot and enthusiastic wildlife-park guide Sue Keeper.

Justin also plays the flamboyant Strictly-style ballroom-dancer Enrico Paso Doblé, who tries to make it to the end of the routine in spite of constant distractions - a telephone call, hunger, or the tails of his coat getting caught in a door.

Another new character, tap dancer Dan Step, is thrown off his dancing stride as he encounters prop malfunctions throughout his routines. There’s even more dancing mayhem in a new strand, Silly Time, when the Gigglebiz characters do silly dances.

Justin, who also stars in CBeebies favourites Something Special and Justin’s House, finds his inspiration for new characters from the people he meets.

He says: “I’m always on the look out for new characters. Some of them I created 17 years ago as a young drama student and others are very new. It’s great to have the opportunity to bring my characters to life. Ideas can come from anywhere. I’ve always noticed people’s mannerisms and voices and then used them to develop new characters.”

“I think that children love to watch the different characters because they make them laugh. Whether Ann Teak is knocking a priceless vase off a table or Keith Fitt is passing on his sporting tips, every sketch is full of funny moments and that seems to keep children entertained!”

Favourite characters returning in series three include pantomime dame Nana Knickerbocker, explorer Rapids Johnson and news announcer Arthur Sleep. Also returning is Captain Adorable, who is now having adventures in space on his very own spacecraft.

“I think it would be great to be Captain Adorable for a day,” says Justin. “He’s so sure he has super-human powers and clearly he doesn’t. That slapstick comedy is the best.”

So does Justin have a favourite character to play? “That’s a hard one,” he says. “All the characters are great fun to play so I couldn’t narrow it down to one. My mum loves Keith Fitt the best!”

Many of the characters demand a lot of preparation. Justin says: “It’s the make-up that takes the longest time. I have to get up very early in the morning to get ready for filming! It takes my make-up team at least two hours to turn me into Professor Muddles!”

The Gigglekids return, as children tell their favourite jokes to camera, and in a new strand, Justin joins children on screen for the best ‘knock knock’ jokes.

A brand-new mobile game featuring Captain Adorable in space, and brand-new desktop games with a host of Gigglebiz characters are set to launch. There will be even more giggles on the CBeebies website with exclusive clips and funny facts about some of the new characters. The CBeebies Grownups website will feature an interview with Justin about his comedy heroes and influences, interviews with a selection of the new characters and out-takes from the series.

Gigglebiz is produced by Dominic Macdonald and Simon A Brown. The Executive Producer is Vanessa Amberleigh.

Notes to Editors

For more information about CBeebies programmes, visit bbc.co.uk/cbeebies and  bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups

New characters appearing in series three are:

  • Ug & Ig are prehistoric cave dwellers. Ug (played by Justin) has masses of unruly hair in contrast to the neat and tidy Ig. Ig is the child and Ug the grownup. Whatever Ig makes, Ug always thinks he can make something bigger and better out of rock, but Ig is much more accomplished at everything. In the end Ug always has to do it Ig’s way!
  • Will Barrow is a gardener who is constantly having problems with various small animals in his colourful animated garden. He is always trying to complete simple garden tasks like digging or watering his flower beds, but his animal friends get up to all sorts of mischief and stop Will from doing his gardening. These cute but troublesome animals include a robin, a mole, a fox, a worm, a woodpecker, a butterfly and a slug!
  • In a new musical strand, Justin plays the infuriating minstrel Will Singalot. Robin Hood is constantly trying to impress the fair Maid Marion, but Will Singalot always pops up and ruins everything for Robin with his singing! In one sketch Robin is trying to woo Maid Marion with dinner, but Will ruins it all by singing about Robin’s stinky feet!
  • Sue Keeper is an enthusiastic wildlife park guide who displays a startling lack of knowledge about animals.
  • Storybook Stan is a lovable old storyteller who settles down in his big leather chair to tell the audience at home a bedtime story. But with plenty of distractions and things going wrong, Storybook Stan always runs out of time, and so never gets to finish (or often even start) the story.
  • Flamboyant ballroom dancer Enrico Paso Doblé is faced with distractions throughout the routine, but somehow Enrico and his partner make it to the end of the dance.
  • Bowler hat-wearing tap dancer Dan Step tries to continue his dance as props are thrown from the wings. His dancing partner carries on regardless, despite all the problems caused by Dan’s mishaps!

CBeebies is dedicated to delighting and surprising its pre-school audience, and it remains the UK's most-watched and most-loved channel for the under-sixes. Just under half of the target audience tune in every week (parents and carers with children aged 0-3 and four-to-six-year-olds in digital homes) and our reach is over double that of our nearest competitor.

Our most popular shows include In The Night Garden, Something Special, Octonauts, Justin’s House, Mr Bloom’s Nursery and Tree Fu Tom, together with new shows Swashbuckle and Old Jack’s Boat.

The CBeebies website is hugely popular with our young audience and their parents and helps extend the ‘learning through play’ philosophy. This summer, we also launched our first app – Cbeebies Playtime.

CBeebies was Freesat’s Channel of the Year 2012 and was previously crowned BAFTA’s Children’s Channel of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

KW/HH2