Jamie Rickers

Jamie Rickers is the presenter of ITV’s number 1 weekend show Toonattik, the long-running firm favourite with kids all across the UK. His TV career started out from humble beginnings with the classic tale of “tea-room to TV”, before he got his break in 2000 when he joined GMTV and produced and presented the popular weekend kids show Up On The Roof. In March 2003 he became presenter on CiTV’s factual entertainment programme, The Yuk Show, before hitting the big time with Toonattik, in the much-coveted Saturday morning kids TV slot. Besides Toonattik, Jamie also presents Prove It for CiTV and 52 shows for Ultimate Guinness World Records – which are still showing on Sky and internationally.

As well as making kids television, Jamie has also made the news – In March 2008 he made headlines when he appeared ‘naked’ on screen during an episode of Toonattik while explaining the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Then in January 2010 he made the national press again (and the “And finally…” on News at Ten) when he was held under anti-terror laws whilst filming a segment of the show on the South Bank in a flat jacket and brandishing a blue sparkly hairdryer!

Boo! Hello Jamie. Wow, this is so hard to think of question which hopefully no one has ever asked before…

Argggggggg. Scared me. Ok, here goes. Great questions by the way.

When you aren’t being filmed and producing TV shows what does your work involve? Besides being completely charming and flirtatious?

Well, besides TRYING to be completely charming and flirtatious I’m a bit of a workaholic. We will be given a script and it’s up to us to make that script come to life. Sitting with the producers suggesting ways that we would like something to happen and going through a creative process is a must with this type of programming. When we are finally in the studio floor there is a lot more than just talking involved. We have 8 different kids a week, all scripted, all big personalities, all like to throw in their own little bits. Managing them in a studio environment, keeping them safe, sticking to time constraints, making sure that their lines are delivered naturally, ensuring that the timings (especially when its a comedy link) are spot on so that the cameras can cut around it is essential. That’s the main bulk of what happens when cameras are not rolling.

What was it like being questioned by police under anti-terrorism powers – for carrying glittery hairdryers? Did this actually happen or just a newspaper spoof?

It was all quite casual really. We were stopped by a female officer who enquired as to what we were doing. When I pointed out the cameras and the sound operator she was fine. Then another Police man turned up, think he was trying to impress the female if im honest, completely took over and started re questioning us. Told him EXACTLY the same things and introduced him to the exec producer, camera and sound guys. As he was doing the name checks a random guy ran across the road and said “Jamie, Anna, can I have your autograph for my kids please, they love TOONATTIK’. Made the policeman look a bit embarrassed, but he posed for a photo as well. Good lad. And that was it. Once they had verified our names, they let us carry on. I wouldn’t sign his pad until he had written Blue Spangly Hair dryer as that was the only thing he hadn’t mentioned on his form.

After working so long in GMTV Kids department what’s next if the redundancy actually happens? More panto’s?

Already signed up for panto this year in New Brighton in the Wirral. I also have a show called PROVE IT on CiTV so that will still be on air. I am involved in all areas of TV, from producing to directing as well as the corporate sector so I’m still very busy. TOONATTIK is just one of the shows im involved with. I have a show called Ultimate Guinness World Records which is on in about 18 different countries at the mo. I’m HUGE in Bangkok. Ha ha.

“What spoils it is Anna Williamson and Jamie Rickers behaving like children of four” is a review online about toonattik. What are your thoughts? Besides decking them…

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It’s subjective. What they have to remember is that we cater and sell to a demographic of 4 – 9 year olds. We don’t ACT like 4 year olds (I understand the sentiment behind the comment, I just like being facitious), but we do make the earlier links a lot younger. The venacular, style of presenting, speed, tone, and pace is all very different before 8.30am. A lot of money was spent researching the psychology of how children of a certain age function at certain times of the morning. That’s why we’re the number 1 kid’s show in the country and have been year on year for the last 3 years. We sell to the masses. We can’t please everyone ALL of the time, but as long as the majority of people like it, then we’re doing our jobs right. I’d like to say that if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. There are 25 other kids’ channels to watch. However, we’ve made that choice for them as TOONATTIK finishes in a couple of months.

So what is going to happen with Toonattik after May is the show just doing to disappear? And does that include Action Station which is shown weekdays?

Its all very much up in the air. Cartoons will continue on ITV1 for a while as that was always part of the deal when Disney sold to ITV plc. ACTION STATIONS and fluffy club are on the channel so they might exist for a bit longer. Who knows?

Is it the entire GMTV Kids / CITV which are being made redundant?

A GMTV kid is the department that has been effected by financial cuts. Granada Manchester (CiTV) is still operating.

What made you change from medal winning gymnastics and judo to a TV Presenter?

I’ve wanted to become a children’s TV presenter since I was 5 years old. To be truthful, it’s Entertainment that I want to get into. Kids were always the original goal. Judo is a sport I still practice and really enjoy. Gymnastics was something my parents got me doing when I was 4 to try and wear me out as I was hyper active. I say ‘was’, I still am…

Jamie Rickers has got to be one of the funniest people on the telly, not to mention a little bit gorgeous … I do hope that the ITV bosses who are about to deprive me of my Saturday morning fix have a great master plan for  him, and if they haven’t then there needs to be one! So, if you agree and think TV will be a gloomier place without Jamie, and then join the Facebook campaign HERE!

It’s fair to say that the weekends will most definitely not be the same without the upbeat hi-jinks from one of the UK’s (and my) most loved TV presenters, Jamie Rickers!

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