A whole host of CBeebies stars were at the launch of the CBeebies Land Hotel at Alton Towers Resort. I was given the opportunity to have a quick chat with actor Ben Faulks who is ‘Mr Bloom’ on CBeebies. Ben has 3 children of his own, and despite his northern twang, he grew up in Cornwall.
Ben developed the characters and concept for Mr Bloom’s Nursery. He then approached the BBC with his ideas in 2009 and it was developed into its current format. He’s also appeared in Hollyoaks and had a role in a Midsummer Night’s Dream last year.
So.. Lets talk!
How do you like the new CBeebies Land Hotel? My 5 year old is bouncing off the walls with excitement!
It has blown my 38 year old mind, so dread to think what it has done to a 5 year old. It is so vivid and full of colour and the rooms are so well done. I’ve looked in all the different rooms and it is jaw dropping all the way from the reception to the 3rd floor!
Have you taken your children into the Mr Bloom’s Allotment attraction in CBeebies Land?
Yes! We came in 2014 for the opening of CBeebies Land and they were part of it. Three years on it is great to see how CBeebies Land has evolved. With the addition of the Go Jetters and Furchester Hotel this year, and there is now stuff happening all day in the CBeebies Land Hotel.
Do you enjoy theme park rides?
I really do, I’m a sucker for anything that goes fast or spins round!
What did you want to do when you grew up?
At first a spaceman but sadly I haven’t achieved that yet! If Richard Branson carries on doing what he’s doing there might still be hope. To be honest I feel really lucky working in performance, from the age of 9 I did amateur dramatics. I did anything I could from then on to perform and I’m very lucky to still be doing it now!
It’s well documented you came up with the concept of Mr Bloom, what inspired you to go down a horticultural route?
I left drama college as an actor and writer and was doing this when I moved to Manchester. I did various types of theatre and performance and then wrote a show about a gardener with baby vegetables. I toured it for a few years and then pitched it to CBeebies. To be honest, it wasn’t so much about the horticulture – but the character and idea of the baby vegetables.
What’s been the most random / strangest thing that’s happened when doing a meet and greet?
There’s a whole host of things. One funny one was a child that was convinced I was a robot – I don’t think we changed his mind! It is nice to meet the audience, you’re in their living rooms in the daytime and only 10in tall. Then to turn up in real life and be 5ft 10 it can sometimes wrong foot them so there are some off the wall interactions!
I told my son I was meeting Mr Bloom and he asked if it was the real one and he asked if it was someone dressed up or the real one. I think they sometimes struggle to understand you’re real people!
Yes – Exactly!
Does Mr Bloom have a first name?
He doesn’t have a first name, it will remain shrouded in mystery as he is a stickler for formality!
What’s the weirdest gift you’ve got from a fan?
I have had some lovely knitted turnips! I have never seen anything like it before – we might hang them in the car like fluffy dice!
Do you often get stopped and asked for gardening advice?
Not really, I do sometimes get asked at events and I have to confess as an actor I don’t know much about gardening. My knowledge is rudimentary at best and mowing the lawn is still the summit of my horticultural career!
What’s next for you, will we be seeing more of Mr Bloom?
Mr Bloom is still around doing stuff, he has recently popped up in other shows. He did a theatre tour this year with the veggies which was fun and he is still out and about doing stuff with the channel.
Massive thanks to Ben for his time!
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