Friday 20 Dec 2013
As a new series of the rib-tickling Gigglebiz starts on CBeebies, Justin Fletcher reveals all about the show which sees the multi-talented star at his comic best as he breathes life into a collection of around 20 madcap comedy characters.
How was series one of Gigglebiz received?
"The feedback was amazing. When I was doing the live festivals last year the kids were starting to shout out the character catchphrases to me and that's when you realise the impact the show has had. They shout 'and that's your weather' for Gail Force and 'now over to this' for Arthur Sleep and that's great. I was also nominated for a best performance for Gigglebiz in the Bafta Awards so that's fantastic too."
Which character gets the most comments?
"The Lost Pirate always gets a lot of comments because kids love pirates and they love Milkshake Jake because of all the slosh, but the adults seem to have a soft spot for Farmer Dung."
Tell us about the new characters?
"In the new series, my favourite character to play is Keith Fit a PE teacher with a shell suit and a huge mullet. He plays it really seriously, everyone else is really silly but Keith takes every sport he does terribly seriously. He's rubbish at it but he's been doing every sport for 20 years so 'he knows what he's talking about'."
"There's also Opera Oliver, who is a waiter in an Italian restaurant and the joke is that the food he serves is lousy and the customers never get to eat. But everything is sung. They're real productions, we got in real singers and the orchestration is fantastic. There's only five sketches as they were so long but it was a real success. It's completely different to anything CBeebies has ever done before and I'll be really interested to see how they go down.
"We also have two other new characters, Rod and Annette. I play Rod and Anita Dobson plays Annette and they're an older couple sitting by the waterside fishing. Annette sits talking to camera, knitting, saying, 'I have to come out here every Sunday and he never catches anything'. And then something like a huge octopus will grab me into the water. And I have this huge tussle with a fish and get myself back out of the water and as soon as I sit back down again then she says, 'come on, it's time to go' and she never sees it! That's great fun to do."
What's the best joke you've heard from the children?
"We had some great jokes from the children this year but my favourite was: 'What wobbles and flies in the air? A jellicopter'!"
Who or what makes you laugh?
"Personally I love the old silents – Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton are probably my favourite slapstick comedians."
You created many of the Gigglebiz characters yourself. Is it rewarding to see them on screen?
"It's been great fun to play these characters. I've had some of them in my system for 16 years or so and I can completely visualise their mannerisms, their voices, the look
of the character. It's just been great to have the opportunity and the platform to get them all out there."