We can remember spending many happy hours at home as a kid, glued to the television, eagerly following the antics of the nation’s favourite CBBC stars. Their faces become etched in your memory and can raise a smile even after all these years. But have you ever wondered what all those childhood stars are up to now?
Did they fulfil their acting potential and pursue a successful TV career? Perhaps they transitioned to the silver screen and starred in big Hollywood blockbusters. Or maybe they just went crazy on fame and premature celebrity! If you want to find out, you’re in the right place, as we chart the fortunes of your favourite childhood stars!
Duke from Tracy Beaker
The show Tracy Beaker was a television sensation when it was realised in the U.K, and it went on to have a number of successful seasons on the small screen. Based on the hit book for young people, the T.V adaptation was equally as successful as the original novel by Jaqueline Wilson. If you watched the show, then you will undoubtedly be familiar with Duke, one of the lead characters. Duke truly captured the heart of the nation, showing great resilience through some tough situations, and laughing off every upset with easy grace. He was played by Clive Rowe, who has gone on to enjoy even greater career success in recent years. For example, he has had an active career on stage, in the west end and elsewhere, and for this, he was awarded an MBE for services to theatre. You might know him better as the voice of Cusiner in Disney’s wildly popular live-action adaptation of the classic tale of Beauty and the Best. In this film, he shared the screen with such esteemed names as Sir Ian McClellan and Emma Watson.
Death from Horrible Histories
Horrible histories was a hit TV programme for many reasons. It was creative, silly and it did what teachers had been valiantly (but unsuccessfully) trying to do for generations; make history fun. The show featured so many memorable characters and scenes, as it portrayed the more ghastly parts of history, from Ancient Rome to the Modern Day. One of the real standout characters was Death, played by the extremely entertaining Simon Farnaby. Farnaby somehow managed to make the character of the grim reaper affable, as he regaled us with stories of some truly comedic deaths from throughout the ages, in the regular ‘stupid deaths’ segment of the show.
But since co-creating this majestic children’s programme, what has Farnaby gone on to do you might ask. Well, he has launched an impressive creative career in writing as well as acting. For example, he has written or co-written many successful shows for the BBC such as Detectorists. Modern audiences might recognise him best in the recent return of Paddington Bear, where he had a quirky supporting role. On a larger scale, he has featured in the on-going Star Wars saga, where he played an X wing pilot in the spin-off film ‘Rogue One’. Nevertheless, to a generation of young people, he will be forever remembered as ‘the guy from horrible histories’!
Miss Hoolie from Ballamory
Ballamory has a special place in many people’s memory. This long-running children’s show was a CBBC staple, as it introduced an entire generation of kids to wholesome ideas of diversity, fairness and community. We can all picture the row of colourful houses in this wonderful little town. One of the key characters in this show was, of course, Miss Hoolie, played by the talented Julie Wilson Nimmo. She had the important task of introducing every story to us and guiding us around the small town.
Wilson has gone on to expand her acting repertoire in recent years. For instance, in 2016 she starred in the comedy-horror West Skerra Light, which was written and directed by her husband Greg Hemphell. That dark drama is certainly a big change from the bright and cheery surroundings of Ballamoray! She has also appeared in the critically appraised comedy show ‘Scot Squad’ which has aired on the BBC. She now has two kids of her own, and we can only hope that she is as good with them as she is with her students at the creche in Ballamoray!