Phil Gallagher, also known as CBeebies’ Mister Maker is Canterbury Christ Church Alumni and joined the Creative and Professional Writing third year Screenwriting class to discuss his work, which involves much more than making things.
Gallagher joined Christ Church in 1995 studying Film Radio and Television and leaving three years later in 1998, and he has been working in children’s television since that very year. During his time at university Gallagher was a part of Christ Church Radio, and post graduation: he was employed by BBC Radio Kent (based on-campus), he tried his hand at roles with Playhouse Disney and as a studio runner.
Phil Gallagher is most famous for his role as Mister Maker, the title character in a BAFTA nominated CBeebies programme about arts and crafts, but as well as that Gallagher also writes for television and stage, acts and presents. Gallagher mainly writes for kids (Grandpa in my Pocket, Olly the Little White Van) and he admits “I wrote myself into scripts and got myself on screen”.
Mister Maker has had huge success, having just finished its sixth series. The show has had such huge popularity that Gallagher “was very fotunate to travel the world last year”. The show has travelled to places such as Brazil and Hong Kong and Gallagher admits “It’s amazing how its grown”.
Having grown up in Kent Gallagher hasn’t strayed far from his roots, with Mister Maker being filmed in Maidstone Studios and his return to Canterbury in the form of Panto. Gallagher has previously appeared alongside Eastender’s Samantha Womack in Marlowe Theatre’s Jack and the Beanstalk.
When I caught up with Phil I asked him about his time at Canterbury Christ Church…
Did you enjoy your time at Christ Church?
“I really loved it, I look back at it fondly as the best time of my life. I met some wonderful people and made friends for life and was lucky enough to gain great experience at BBC Radio Kent through contacts at the university and the College radio station. That gave me a wonderful foot in the door of the media industry.”
Has the campus changed since you were last here?
“Every time I come back it has grown!”
What is your favourite Christ Church memory?
“One FRTV lecture I’ll never forget – and I still remember today – is when we all had to congregate in the lecture hall in groups to show the short films we’d made to the rest of the year. The first group went up and hadn’t connected their camera to the tripod securely. Sure enough, the camera fell on cue, smashing into a thousand tiny pieces in front of everyone – including the lecturers and technicians. One lecturer taught us a lesson I will never forget…When you’re tightening anything – a tap, a bottle top or maybe a camera tripod, REMEMBER – Lefty loose-y, Righty tighty! It’s a great lesson, I’ve never forgotten it and whenever I’m turning a tricky tap, I think of that lecture!”
A final note…
“I’m really grateful for my time in Canterbury and will remember it fondly forever.”