CBBC's Naomi Wilkinson On Marrying Mum And Dad

29/08/2014 12:20 | Updated 20 May 2015

CBBC presenter Naomi Wilkinson on Marrying Mum and Dad:

CBBC presenter Naomi Wilkinson is best known for presiding over nuptials on the popular kids' show, Marrying Mum and Dad.

The show, currently in its third series, sees young children plan a wedding for their mum and dad – who have no idea about the plans (think Don't Tell The Bride but with less tantrums).

Here, Naomi chats to us about the joy of children's TV – and Batman best men...

For people who haven't seen Marrying Mum and Dad, sum it up.

In a nutshell, it's kids planning their parents' wedding – the theme, the entertainment, the venue and the outfits. Timing wise they have two to three weeks. The parents know they are getting married – it would be quite a shock if not! – but the kids plan everything.

One of the toughest things for the parents and the children is keeping things secret. Parents are used to being in control and in charge, and children are used to sharing everything with their parents.

For some of the bigger themes, there's planning and prep, which kids do and then can't share their experience with their family. It's pretty tough on them. We had a mum recently who asked so many questions she managed to get the venue out of her child – we had to put a stop to that!

The third and current series is on now until Friday, September 5. We've done 29 weddings in total, and this series we've had our first wedding abroad which was wonderful. We took the mum and dad to Paris, and while they were at the top of the Eiffel Tower, we got all their friends and family to gather under it as a surprise.

We've also had an underwater wedding – where the couple had two hours of training on their wedding morning! How has the show adapted over the three series?

With all shows, each series lets your refine things. It's stayed pretty similar to series one, but we have tweaked timings and how much emphasis we put on things like the theme. It is a TV show, and it makes for good telly, but we are dealing with real weddings.

It's so much fun and then suddenly it hits you. There's always a moment with each one when you think 'this is a real wedding'. It's a privilege to be involved. What gets me is the grandparents, some say 'we've waited 20 years for this'. All the weddings stay with me – I cry at every one!

Does the show reflect Britain in 2014?

Absolutely, and we are proud that we do feature blended families and civil partnerships, and hope to welcome same sex marriages.

We had a civil partnership with a spy wedding for two dads – that was huge fun. It's great that I haven't witnessed any negativity around things like that on the show. Everyone seems very pleased the show is reflecting reality and is supportive of all families.

They say never work with animals or children – what's the worst thing that's happened when filming?

On a whole, we've escaped quite well - I say tapping my head hard to touch wood! We've certainly had our fair share of bad weather, but with weddings in Britain you have to expect that. We also have to hide things, which can be tricky. We had a church wedding with a circus reception recently and we had to hide the whole tent behind the church! We've never had an 'I don't!' – thank goodness!

Do some kids have to be reined in with their plans?

Never! The more bonkers the better, but we do always give them options for different things and ideas. We had one boy who planned a haunted house wedding. I remember saying, 'do you want anything nice or all horror?' The answer was all horror, of course! It's great to see imaginations and creativity running wild.

There's always a moment where I pinch myself and think 'this is work and it's so much fun' - like when a best man was dressed as Batman and when he handed over the rings, the registrar said "thanks, Batman!"

How did you get into kids' TV?

I've worked in children's TV for 15 years. I actually started out as a redcoat at Butlins – all happy memories I promise! - then I worked at Milkshake before moving to CBBC, where I've been since 2010.

How has children's TV changed over the years you have been in it?

The production values are now huge, but I've certainly seen expectations grow but budgets shrink. The kids' TV market is now saturated with channels and shows, and of course you only ever have the same audience size, so you need to attract and maintain an audience.

What are your memories of kids' TV growing up?

I was a broom cupboard girl – and of course Blue Peter. And I now have a badge!

Do children recognise you out and about?

They do – and I love it! It's happened a lot since I started on CBBC. I love it when they come and say hi and talk about the shows. We work so hard to make the programmes fun - and I just adore to hear children say they enjoy them.

Marrying Mum and Dad airs weekdays at 9am on CBBC.

Naomi will also co-present Wild, All Over The Place, and Wild and Weird all on CBBC later this year. For news and updates follow Naomi on twitter @Naomi_Wilkinson.


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