Children’s television legend Derek Griffiths inspires a new generation of youngsters with his storytelling
PUBLISHED: 16:19 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:34 03 January 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
Youngsters enjoyed a morning of storytelling magic when children’s television legend Derek Griffiths popped into the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library to read them the tale of The Princess and The Frog.
The former Play School and Play Away presenter is currently playing Chortwood the butler in Norwich Theatre Royal’s pantomime Sleeping Beauty, and today he took some time out to pay a trip to the library. The star delighted his young audience as he read aloud the story before meeting and greeting a long line of both children and adults who were keen to say hello.
Mr Griffiths said: “They were great. I just love a kid’s audience. A kid’s audience is so honest, whereas an adult audience will slowly fall asleep or give a polite applause, kids will look enraptured. I was so pleased. They were just a joy.”
And he said he equally enjoyed meeting the adults who remembered him from his days as a children’s television presenter from the 1960s to the 1980s.
“I was 22 or 23 when I first started in television so I grew up with them really. It was a self-perpetuating circumstance. So when they say to me now, ‘I grew up with you,’ I also grew up with them because I learnt as I went along.”
He added he was having a great time appearing in Sleeping Beauty and revealed the warmth of Norwich audiences was the reason he actually decided to do the show.
“I was going to have this Christmas off but when Norwich came up and they dangled the carrot I thought it’s always a class panto and it’s always a joy to work with these audiences.”
Adam McGee, children’s community librarian at Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, said about 50 people had attended the event with Mr Griffiths. He said: “I think the adults were as excited as the children to see him, as he has had such a varied career over many decades. It was just wonderful. We had a lovely storytime.”
Katey Coysh, who was with her young son Lincoln, said: “I was a little bit starstruck! It was lovely to see Derek was around in Norwich so we had to come down to see him. Lincoln is learning all his rhymes and stories and he sat still for the whole story and was listening in to all that was going on. It was brilliant and the connection with the panto is lovely.”
Sleeping Beauty runs until January 14. Visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk