From Rastamouse to Crackerjack, the CBeebies weekend at Media City offered something for three generations of the family, and provided lots of laughs and entertainment. We combined a visit to the CBeebies Peter Pan event with a look around the Here’s One We Made Earlier exhibition…and even managed to watch a sports report being presented live on the BBC.
Having not visited the area around The Lowry since Media City was built, and being a bit of a media geek, I was keen to find an excuse to take a look around and see what was happening. The CBeebies weekend was the perfect excuse, especially as we tied it in with the final few days of the Here’s One We Made Earlier exhibition at The Lowry.
What was the CBeebies weekend?
BBC Learning hosted two days of free, fun activities in the spaces outside The Lowry to coincide with the recording of CBeebies’ Christmas pantomime. The filming of the pantomime was a ticketed event (we didn’t go to this) but everything else was free.
A live stage hosted by Dr Ranj, featured some CBeebies stars including Rastamouse, Gem, Cook and Line from Swashbuckle, Sid Sloane and Rebecca Keatley (Let's Play), Cerrie Burnell and Mister Maker. My two year old watches the Nickelodeon channels more than CBeebies, but after seeing Rastamouse on stage, he now has a new favourite!
There were also lots of fun pirate and sea-themed family activities in the spaces outside The Lowry, including a Jolly Roger pirate ship and tents housing lots of interactive activities such as water based experiments, a treasure hunt, Mister Maker making Peter Pan hats, a Swashbuckle shop and a Digi Zone, as well as storytelling and singing.
For my two year old, the tents were too busy for him to enjoy himself and the queue to go aboard the pirate ship was too long, but he really enjoyed the live entertainment on the stage, singing and dancing along.
After this, we visited the Here’s One We Made Earlier exhibition.
What is Here’s One We Made Earlier?
This exhibition at The Lowry explores the story of over 90 years of BBC Children's broadcasting, from 1922, when the BBC launched Children's Hour, right up to the present multi-media moment.
Fun, engaging, interactive, and full of famous presenters past and present, Here's one we made earlier reflects shifting perceptions of children in society, from toddlers who were asked to 'sit comfortably' in front of the family wireless, to today's children who take centre stage on air and online.
Personally, I loved seeing the original puppets and models of things like Gordon the Gopher and Morph. My parents reminisced about programmes such as Andy Pandy and Crackerjack, whilst Sam loved running around looking at the colourful models and wall displays.
The Lowry is a great place for families, with a microwave and seating area provided for you to eat and baby changing facilities. There are lots of family activities built into their programme of events, and we will definitely be back soon.
Finally, we went for a walk around Media City, passing the buildings where Coronation Street, Blue Peter and BBC Sport are filmed. You can walk into one of the BBC buildings to sit at a mock-up of the BBC Breakfast table, and we watched a sport bulletin being presented live (make sure you turn the flash off your camera if you’re taking a picture there!)
We finished the day with a look at the new Blue Peter garden.
You can also book onto an official BBC studio tour, take a walk along the canal, go shopping at The Lowry Outlet Mall or visit the Imperial War Museum. We will definitely be going back soon.