Fun and games in the attik

CARTOON fans across Comet country will no doubt be familiar with the two hours of madcap fun on Saturday and Sunday mornings which is ITV children s programme Toonattik. But did you know that one of the show s presenters, Anna Williamson, and the producer

CARTOON fans across Comet country will no doubt be familiar with the two hours of madcap fun on Saturday and Sunday mornings which is ITV children's programme Toonattik. But did you know that one of the show's presenters, Anna Williamson, and the producer Lester Jones are from our area? Here HANNAH GRAY talks to them about life in the attik.

INTERVIEWING celebrities, jumping around on pogo sticks and getting the odd pie in the face - it is all in a day's work for Anna Williamson.

Anna, 25, is co-presenter of Toonattik and is not afraid of embarrassing herself on national TV.

"I'm always falling over. There's always something embarrassing happening," she admits.

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"One time I was jumping on a pogo stick and fell into a cameraman."

Along with Jamie Rickers, Anna has been the face of Toonattik for three years.

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Although she lives in London now, she grew up in Ardeley where her parents Mary and Peter still live.

She spent much of her youth in Stevenage and comes back to visit her family and friends most weekends.

Her younger brother James, 22, was recently the star of The Wizard of Oz at the Gordon Craig Theatre.

Anna's career in TV started when she was 17.

While she was studying for her A-levels she joined girl band Blush but quickly moved into presenting, ending up at Toonattik.

The show, which airs on ITV1 and the CITV Channel from 7.30am every Saturday and Sunday morning, sees Anna and Jamie hanging out in an attic and getting up to all kinds of adventures.

The main theme of Toonattik is boys versus girls, and Anna and Jamie play various games to win points.

The loser gets a pie in the face from their opponent, which has been put together by various children invited into the attic to help out.

Despite the fierce competition that runs through the show, Anna insists it's all good fun.

"It is serious in a friendly way. It's light-hearted as well. We like to promote healthy competition and not rivalry," she said.

Anna admits that her favourite part of the show is when she manages to give Jamie a pie in the face, so it follows that her least favourite is when the situation is reversed.

"I hate getting pied, but it's fun, fair's fair," she said.

As well as the crazy games and competitions, the show airs cartoons including SpongeBob SquarePants, Power Rangers, Totally Spies, Robotboy, Lilo and Stitch and Avatar, and features celebrity interviews.

Previous guests have included actress and singer Hilary Duff and Stormbreaker star Alex Pettyfer, who himself was born in Stevenage.

However, Anna's favourite guest was X Factor star Chico.

"He just totally got into the spirit of the show," she said.

"He tried to get a pie in Jamie's face. He was brilliant, I love Chico."

Anna works on the show with writer and producer Lester Jones, 31, who grew up in Stevenage and went to Barnwell School.

Although the pair didn't know each other back in Stevenage, they first met eight years ago when they worked on a different show.

Lester's parents Howard and Sonia still live in Bragbury End and Lester started his career in TV when a film he made as a student was used by the BBC to make a documentary.

A degree in contemporary media practices followed at the University of Westminster and he has since worked internationally as a producer and writer.

Although Lester's role at Toonattik is more behind the scenes, he also gets a buzz from the high energy show.

"It's really good fun. It's a really good time, everyone's really friendly. It's good to work with Anna again," he said.

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