Arun was a little nervous as we walked into the studio. There were four people sitting in a darkened room with banks of TV monitors and switches in front of them. On the big screens in front of us we could see what was quite clearly the CBeebies studio and Nisha, one of the CBeebies presenters was speaking some lines in front of a very early Christmas tree.
Arun, however, didn’t care about Christmas. He was fascinated by all the knobs, switches and screens. He wandered up unsteadily to one of the production crew as she sat at her desk.
“I want to sit down,” he said. She smiled at him sweetly and offered up a chair for him.
He took it. “I want to do some work,” he said, smiling and disarmingly reaching for the keyboard the innocent woman had in front of her. I intercepted just in time and managed to prevent my very sweet but somewhat clumsy six year old destroying what was probably many thousands of pounds of state of the art studio equipment owned by the license fee payers.
And it just got better from there. Next Clare and I were given a great trip down memory lane with a tour of the Blue Peter studio. And then the finale, we had tickets to go and watch the recording of the CBeebies Christmas pantomime.
On the way back from Salford, I felt I had to contextualise the experience for my kids.
“Meri, you do know that you’re very lucky?” I was talking to my four year old daughter. She looked at me a little puzzled.
“You do know that I never got to do things like this when I was little?”
“Were you very poor when you were little, Daddy?” Meri asked.
“We were quite poor Meri,” I answered. “But it’s not just about money. It’s about opportunity.”
She looked at me a little blankly. How could I explain to her that her visits to London galleries, west end shows for children and her visit to watch the English National Ballet were not things that many children got to experience?
“Were you very rich when you were little Mummy?” she asked, completely missing my point.