Prom 11: CBeebies [1/2]

“Following on from the sell-out success of last year’s Doctor Who Prom and 2011’s Horrible Histories Prom, this year parents are invited to join their children for the first ever CBeebies Prom. Take a journey through London with some of your favourite CBeebies characters and explore the sounds of the orchestra, as well as the everyday sounds around us. This morning’s adventure combines live music from the BBC Philharmonic and video action on screens around the hall. The next generation of classical music fans starts here.” [BBC Proms website]

Katy Ashworth (from ‘I Can Cook’)
Bernard Cribbins (from ‘Old Jack’s Boat’)
Andy Day (from ‘Andy’s Wild Adventures’)
Salty the Dog (from ‘Old Jack’s Boat’)
Ben Faulks (Mr Bloom)
Gemma Hunt (from ‘Swashbuckle’)
Chris Jarvis (from ‘Show Me, Show Me’)
Steven Kynman (Robert the Robot)
Cat Sandion (CBeebies)

BBC Philharmonic
Stephen Bell

Reviewed by: The Bisset Family: Alan & Anna and children Ellen (4) & Louis (7)

Reviewed: 26 July, 2014
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London

Stephen Bell conducts the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at the first ever CBeebies Prom. Photograph: BBC/Chris ChristodoulouThe first of two CBeebies Proms landed at the Royal Albert Hall like The Beatles at Shea Stadium. Never have you heard such screams of delight from pre-schoolers and parents alike at the sight of such favourites as Andy, Katy and Chris (from Show Me, Show Me, a modern-day Play School) who appeared under the Hall’s hallowed mushrooms bathed in neon glory, singing their TV theme tunes, arms outstretched to a worshipping, juice-swilling, rice-cake-eating crowd.

Channel God Mr Tumble began the show but was sadly only a video presence. But his cheery opening paved the way for a flourish of narrative ideas and melodies which blended perfectly these CBeebies personalities with the grand and delightful ethos of the Proms. Launched appropriately by the ‘Hornpipe’ from Fantasia on British Sea Songs (by you know who) the Prom was structured largely on the story of Robert the Robot going missing from the RAH in order to pick up a bag of sounds that the young audience could make into music on his return.

But whilst Robert was lost (we caught up with him on as-live video feeds around London), Prommers were treated to music by Holst and Prokofiev, and not forgetting Paul Honey, whose ‘Salty Dog’ tune delivered a national treasure to the stage, in the form of Bernard Cribbins (and thus a salty tear to the eyes of anyone over the age of forty).

Bernard Cribbins as Jack and Salty Dog (Old Jack’s Boat) at the first ever CBeebies Prom. Photograph: BBC/Chris Christodoulou At just short of an hour, the Prom was an ideal length for families with young children, who were beginning to yawn and pull their parents’ arms towards the exits as the end approached. Louis was won over, reminiscing later: “I only liked Captain Jack… oh, and Katy… oh, and Robert the Robot… oh, and the Albert Hall.”

As a first stab at the art, this CBeebies Prom served up a scrumptious treat of celebrity wow factor woven with new musical experiences for an appreciative gaggle of young learners, and as such could well become a staple of Henry Wood’s and the BBC’s always-evolving Proms creation.

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