The Magical Playroom with CBeebies' Cerrie Burnell (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

The Magical Playroom with CBeebies' Cerrie Burnell

credit: Geraint Lewis

Charming story from children’s TV presenter

To the uninitiated, Cerrie Burnell is the woman from CBeebies whose disabled arm caused a stir in 2009. She is also possibly the perfect children’s presenter. It’s difficult to think of anyone currently on TV more capable of creating wonder and enchantment through nothing more than personality and a love of what they are doing.

In keeping with her BBC roots this is less a show and more a Jackanory-style exercise in storytelling, with a simplistic set of a child’s bedroom, stuffed toys and a single prop to indicate each different character (a scarf for the mother, a pair of sunglasses for the gran).

The story itself, written by Burnell, is an autobiographical tale of a young girl who wants to play and be a ballet dancer like her mother, but without wearing the prosthetic arm that her family and doctor want. One night in hospital, she finds a key to the magical playroom.

To begin with, this is about addressing head-on the issues of physical disability. A child’s voice asks the most obvious questions: Why is your arm like that? How do you get dressed? By the time the toys come to life however and tell their parables, it has become much more universal in its themes and is about having the courage to stand up for who you are.

Whilst lacking the pomp that characterises so many children’s shows, this is a golden opportunity for children to spend an enchanting and heartfelt hour with a real TV star.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 18 Aug (not 14), 11am, £9.50.

Magical Playroom with CBeebies' Cerrie Burnell

  • 4 stars
  • Written by: Cerrie Burnell

A children's show written by and starring CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell, telling the story of a little girl who yearns to be a ballet dancer but is discouraged from doing so because of her disability.