Children's television presenter Chris Jarvis was inspired to tread the panto boards by his grandmother who was a dancer.

She performed in pantomime at the London Palladium but it was the rest of his family that kept him grounded.

"I also had a grandmother in Salisbury, who was a farmer, and kept me balanced. My mother was a teacher so she was sort of performing all day. She had a voice like Joyce Grenfell and made people laugh,'' he said. "I wanted that.''

It may only be March, but it is panto time again for the CBeebies presenter as he is already writing the script for Sleeping Beauty, set to be produced for Christmas 2019.

Chris will be both starring in and directing the classic fairytale at Swindon's Wyvern Theatre.

He is no stranger to directing having 20 pantos under belt and his first appearance was when he was just seven.

"I know I am very lucky,'' said Chris "My hobby is my job. I spend the year writing and pulling things together. I have already started for Swindon. I love the challenge and the enthusiasm for a pantomime audience.''

He says that the real competition these days for live theatre is competing with mobile phone access to entertainment. He says that a simple click of a download on mobiles means he has to up his game in panto, to use effects and spectacle as well as the traditional storytelling.

"There is a lot of negativity and all doom and gloom around, so we will bring a feel good panto to Swindon,'' he said.

It has always been children's television and shows that have attracted Chris. He says he enjoys the honesty of children.

He was one of the founder members of CBeebies in 2002 alongside Pui Fan Lee presenting Discover and Do from 9am to 3pm and then the Bedtime Hour from 6pm. He also wrote and starred in Show Me Show Me. "It was a magazine show for kids,'' he said.

Chris has also strayed into acting, but never strayed from the world of children's TV, as he starred in programmes such as The Demon Headmaster and Chucklevision.

He also presented In The Broom Cupboard with Zoe Ball. "We all knew Zoe was going to be stratospheric. We did our first year in TV together and very quickly she skyrocketted. What you see on television is what she is. It is always an honest performance.''

The actor has trod the boards in Shakespeare for under fives tackling Mid Summer Night's Dream and The Tempest.

Chris also hosts family concerts, and is regularly called upon for narration. He has worked most recently with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and even recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

"That was a little bit intimidating,'' he said.

Chris is looking forward to Sleeping Beauty in Swindon and coming back to the Wyvern where he has brought his own shows in the past.

"It is an intimate theatre but a good size and comfortable. There isn't a bad seat and the staff are really welcoming,'' said Chris.

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