Compost Corner design a snail

Design a festive snail competition for CITV’s Compost Corner


This Christmas, CITV will be showing a Compost Corner festive special, and the star of the show could be you child’s very own creation!

Programme makers are looking for youngsters aged between 5 and 12 years to get creative and design a brand new snail character to star in the animated children’s programme – Compost Corner’s festive special.


Compost Corner Snails


Using their templates below they are looking for children to design a snail then give him or her a wonderful personality, including name, favourite food and what they want for Christmas amongst other things!


My Snail design compost corner

My Snail Fact File

In addition to the two forms above (My Snail Design and My Snail Fact File) , you will also need to complete a consent form.

The winning snail design will be turned into a model which animators will bring to life to star in their festive special with other members of the Compost Corner gang.

Afterwards, the winner will get to keep their snail and see them in action on TV and on the website in their special festive episode this Christmas.

All three forms (My Snail Design, My Snail Fact File and Consent Form) should be printed and completed by hand then returned by post to CITV, PO BOX 5458, Manchester, M61 0LG. All entries must be received by Friday 11th October 2013.

Check out the competition terms and conditions here. For more information visit

Good Luck and let us know how you get one!


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: CITV











New animation exhibition – MOSI

Count Duckula’s Igor restored for MOSI exhibition


I can’t wait for this – it looks great!

Remember Count Duckula? A of statue Igor, the Count Duckula butler, is being restored at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in time for a new exhibition on animation, which opens on 22nd June 2013 (until 3rd November).


Igor - Count Duckula


The statue of Igor stood alongside a statue of Count Duckula, in the entrance hall of the Cosgrove Hall animation studios in Chorlton, where the characters were created by Brian Cosgrove and his team of animators.

The Igor statue was rescued by staff at ITV when Cosgrove Hall closed in October 2009. It is now being restored by MOSI ahead of its appearance in the exhibition.

Poor old Igor, who was destined for the skip, had sustained some fairly significant injuries. Thankfully he’s had his severed arm reattached and is currently having his holes filled in and a new paint job!


Creating the illusion – Animation in the North West


The statue of Igor, will be at the entrance of the exhibition Creating the Illusion: Animation in the North West. The exhibition explores the history of animation in the North West. From the first steps with Magic Lantern projectors in the Edwardian era to 2D, stop motion and CGI techniques used today – Manchester and the North West have been at the forefront of animation.


Highlights include:

  • Zanetti and Agnew lantern projector and slides
  • Puppets and imagery from Cosgrove Hall Films, such as Chorlton and the Wheelies, Danger Mouse and Wind in the Willows,
  • Archives from the animator Paul Berry, who later went on to work on Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and Henry Selick’s James and the Giant Peach.


Creating the Illusion: Animation in the North West, runs from Saturday  22nd June – Sunday 3rd  November 2013.


See you there!


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: MOSI








I love Horrible Histories

Apparently, the BBC gets thank you letters from teachers!


Thanking them for making their job, when it comes to teaching history, so much easier. How do you make history fun and relevant to modern day children? Well you dress people up, write songs, form unlikely boy bands, send random historical figures onto Master Chef and unlikely inventors onto Dragons Den.

I just love it – it really appeals to my sense of humour, and this month it’s back on our screens – hurrah!

But my absolute favourite has to be The English Kings & Queens Song. Last year with the Royal Wedding looming and in preparation for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I set myself the task of learning all the Kings and Queens of England off by heart.


Diamond Jubilee Union jack


I bought a big illustrated book and spent the next few months ploughing through it. I got confused with my Henry’s, in a muddle with my Edwards, and gave up around James I.

Imagine my delight when I happened across Horrible Histories – a short catchy ditty later and I’m now fully tooled up and considering a career change as a tour guide at Hampton Court!

Here we go – let’s see if I can remember them all:


William I, William II, Henry I, Stephen, Henry II, Richard I, John - OY

Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI (then three more Henry’s join our song), Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III (he’s bad), Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth I (Tudors RIP)

James I, Charles I, Charles II (liked a party), James II, William & Mary, Anne (so began the Hanover Gang)

George I, George II, George III (was quite absurd), George IV, William IV, (hail to Queen ) Victoria.

“I ruled for 64 years don’t you know!”

Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, Elizabeth II


Give it another four years and our own Queen will be able to claim the longevity bragging rights!

But don’t take my word for it – check out The Kings & Queens Song for yourself, and then see if you can memorise it in time for the Jubilee celebrations!



Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor – and history teacher for the day)


Photographs: Free digital photos.

Video: Many thanks to the BBC for allowing the use of this clip.

This is not a sponsored blog post






Big Kid – children’s TV

Did you get a Blue Peter Badge when you were little? No me neither – despite entering lots of painting competitions.


Close up of the Blue Peter ship on the doors in the BBC studio.



Ever been in the Blue Peter studio? Again, me neither – until the other day that is.

Just to show that I’m still a big kid at heart, I signed up for a BBC studio tour, which included the holiest of venue – the Blue Peter studio.



I saw the sofa and the doors with the big blue ship, through which celebrities and surprise guests appear – and I saw the bench where they make things with sticky back plastic and from under which they produce a finished item with “Here’s one I made earlier!”


Sofa in the Blue Peter Studio.Close up of the camera boom with the resenters faces on the back drop. Blue Peter Studios BBC.


I also went to find the Blue Peter garden, which has been painstakingly numbered, moved and rebuilt piece by piece at the front of MediaCity UK. There’s even Petra’s statue and the cement slab with Percy Thrower, Lesley Judd, Simon Groom and Peter Duncan’s hand and foot prints.

Face on view of Petra statue in the Blue Peter garden.A wet Blue Peter garden at MediaCity UK.









Petra statue side on with Media city sign in the back ground.


It seems that our love children’s programmes never leaves us.

But now we’ve got another reason to watch children’s TV – with rug rats of our own (in my case, inherited), which brings me to today’s blog from our very own guest blogger, Lesley Judd look-a-like, and super (God)mummy Sarah Mac.

Over to you Sarah …….

My name’s Sarah, I’m 34, and I have a favourite Octonaut.

Phew – I’m glad that’s out of the way. They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery.

The Octonaut thing probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal to the mums out there but the fact of the matter is: I don’t actually have any kids, which sort of makes it feel a little bit wrong. I’ve just been sucked into it the wonderful world of kids’ TV by spending time with my friends’ children, and now I’m there I fear there’s no going back.


Head 7 shoulders of a blond haired toddler laughing holding Iggle Piggle.

If admitting you have a problem is Step No.1 on the road to help, I think that Step No.2 must be knowing that: You Are Not Alone. I was relieved to see a Facebook post recently in which a mum asked the burning question: “How many episodes of Peppa Pig a day is too many?”  My immediate thought was ‘too many for me or for the kids?’  Imagine, then, my relief when the question attracted no fewer than 22 replies, mostly parents insisting that there was no such thing as too much Peppa (a bit like there being no such thing as ‘leftover wine’), and comparing notes on their favourite episodes.

I found myself in the undignified position of wondering whose house I could subtly invite myself to in order to engineer an opportunity to see some of the fab-sounding episodes that I have not yet seen…

While I still love the programmes I watched when I was little (I recently provided an 80s kids’ TV round for a quiz night and got side-tracked for hours watching clips on YouTube), it has to be said, the new stuff has merit.

Whilst playing trains with my friend’s 4-year old son recently, our playtime got shunted into a siding when, completely out of the blue, he announced: “Symbiosis!”  I exchanged a baffled glance with his dad, who asked if he knew what it meant. (I was pretty bloody impressed just by the fact that he could say it, and if I’m honest I’m not sure I would have been able to give a definition that would stand up to close scrutiny…) However, my little friend proceeded to describe symbiosis to us reasonably well, with reference to a crab and a sea urchin. Well bugger me. Thank you, Captain Barnacles!


Little girl with blue CBeebies balloon clutching crayons.

Having said that, it’s not all good. I was recently introduced to purgatory: being pinned down by a sleeping baby whilst the musical accompaniment to the menu page of Shaun the Sheep’s ‘Saturday Night Shaun’ DVD looped continuously and the remote control was just out of reach. After 40 minutes or so the tune became forever ingrained on my subconscious, and I keep catching myself humming the theme tune while waiting for the Metro or strolling down Market Street.

Now all I need to do is master Shaun’s little dance routine before I’m ready for a Hotty night on the town; only other ‘Shaun’ fans will know where I learned to bust my moves…!


Sarah Mac x


If you want to find out what you’re going to be watching – then take a look at this video produced for CBBC’s and CBeebies 10th Birthday. I’m especially excited by ‘Tree Fu Tom’!



Photographs: Alison Staples

Many thanks to the BBC for allowing use of this video clip.

If you would like to book a tour of the BBC Studios click here.

This is not a sponsored blog post.


Other blogs by Sarah


KidsView – on life




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