Mister Maker and the Shapes tour the UK with arty adventures, singing and dancing
- David Pollock
- 22 June 2017
CBeebies arts and crafts hero Phil Gallagher encourages creativity through his energetic children's show
Like Tony Hart for a generation raised on smartphones, Mister Maker is a TV show – broadcast on the BBC's CBeebies channel – about making things. Not the complex and painstaking Blue Peter projects of old, but exercises in craft skills which are truly breakneck. Its host, Mister Maker, has a local radio presenter's exuberance and a range of cartoonish expressions which fit the vividly coloured, hyperreal style of the show.
'It sounds like a cliché, but being Mister Maker is my dream job,' says Phil Gallagher, the former Disney and GMTV kids presenter who took on the role in 2007. 'I wanted to be a children's television presenter from an early age, and to be one on a show that encourages fun and creativity is a dream come true.'
Over the years, Gallagher has inhabited the part, now writing for both the television and stage versions. 'I've always loved making things and being creative, and now as a 40-year-old big kid I'm no different,' he says. 'My house is covered in glitter, sticky tape and googly eyes, but I don't mind, because arts and craft has become my life.'
The role has made him a star worldwide; when the Mister Maker stage show first toured the UK between 2015 and 2016 it was seen by 80,000 people, and the following year it made 18 sold-out appearances at the Sydney Opera House.
And if he is this generation's Tony Hart, then guest-stars the Shapes are his Morph; dancing, life-sized shapes which teach basic lessons about form and colour. 'We have a great theatre show for you – a big, bright, bold and happy party celebrating creativity and fun,' Gallagher says. 'It has art at its heart but also includes a lot of the things that make live theatre exciting. There'll be plenty of singing, dancing and audience interaction.'
King's Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 15 Jul