Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
New CBeebies' star Nisha Anil has been a very busy girl over the last few months. Visiting 13 different towns in four different countries, Nisha has taken her three cuddly pandas – Mish, Moosh and Mogo – out and about across the UK to meet the nation's children and celebrate the diversity of their lives.
"We've been extremely busy," laughs Nisha. "I've been to loads of different places deep into the countryside and into the middle of cities. I couldn't even count how many miles we've done – lots and lots and lots!
"All the places have been so memorable. Travelling to Inverness past the mountains was lovely and across the sea to busy Belfast in Ireland. The beach in North Wales was fun but I think my favourite so far was going to Poole in Dorset and walking along the promenade. I think a weekend trip is called for when I've finished filming!"
The Same Smile team have gone to enormous effort to celebrate children's lives in the UK; why does Nisha think it's so important that children have a voice?
"Long gone are the days when children should be 'seen and not heard'," says Nisha. "Children are our future and we show how the people surrounding them have the ability to inspire and encourage them. We want to celebrate the diversity of children's lives and embrace the fact that every child matters."
It can be notoriously challenging to work with children; how has Nisha found working with her hundreds of mini co-stars?
"It's been very funny at times, especially when the children become more confident and relaxed," says Nisha. "Obviously every child is different and some can be shy to start with but once the themed activity is underway there's no stopping them – especially when the sock puppets come out! And of course the cuddly pandas are great for making the children feel comfortable and for them to interact with."
With a background in theatre, mime and puppetry, multi-talented Nisha was able to draw on all her skills when presenting Same Smile but her experience as a drama workshop leader really stood her in good stead.
She says: "This may be my first experience of presenting for TV but not my first time performing professionally or facilitating Drama and Art workshops for children.
"One of the things I love about Same Smile is that it incorporates creative play for children and draws upon all my performance experience at the same time!"
Finally, what's been the most rewarding aspect of filming Same Smile?
"The giggling," laughs Nisha. "The most rewarding thing has to be that the children have enjoyed themselves and seeing them smile and giggle makes it all worthwhile!"
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