Sunday, 31 July 2011

Interview with Helena Dowling

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago we told you all about the Help Dora Help campaign, the campaign is allowing pre-school and nurseries to apply for a grant up to £20,000 for educational and learning purposes. Well we got invited to ask Helena Dowling who is the host of Wake Up World over on Nick Jr, some questions.

What’s the best bit about your job?

The best part is knowing that I'm making great quality children's television! It’s been so interesting meeting the educational experts and learning about the research and planning that goes into making pre-school programming. At Nickelodeon our shows are thoroughly researched and designed to be informative, educational, inspirational and of course fun for preschoolers. Children's programming is a real love of mine, so it’s great to know I'm a part of that.

I also love going into the studio and recording Wake up World with the team. They’re all such great people and are extremely experienced in pre-school programming so it's lovely to work alongside them. Recently we created a Dora dance which was brilliant as I got work creatively and draw on my dance and singing experience.

Do you get nervous when your being filmed?

Not any more! At first I did get a little nervous as I was working with a new team but they quickly made me feel at ease. As I have been performing for years and had appeared on a TV show for two years, I’m used to performing to camera. I think a little nerves are actually a really good thing and help you to perform.

Any tips for anybody who wants to get into presenting?

I would say learn about the television industry inside-out, work out the sort of shows you’d like to do and then make a show reel that is relevant to that. Approach presenting agencies and TV stations directly. Also you could consider doing a presenting course that will show you how to use autocue and get used to having in ear piece. I did one at Presenters Inc which was fantastic.

What’s your favourite Nick Jr. show?

I’m a big fan of SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. I also love Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, it’s so sweet how they are miniature!

What has been your biggest adventure?

For Nick Jr. it would be visiting a nursery to get the children to take part in the Help Dora Help campaign. It was a wonderful day meeting all the children and the nursery staff and we had a lot of fun colouring in Dora's backpack for the competition. We also read some stories and sang songs. They really enjoyed it and so did I! The children were so sweet and when they met Dora it was lovely to see their little faces light up. When it was time for Dora to leave I had to tell them that she was going to go and make another show for them so there were no tears!

Do you know any other languages like Dora?

I can speak basic French and I am learning Italian.

Did you always want to be a presenter?
Yes I did and I'm so happy to be doing it now. I also wanted to be an actress and dancer which I also do. So I have been very fortunate with my career, as well as working really hard to get where I am. I particularly wanted to be a children's presenter after appearing on Saturday Morning Showdown in 2006, I just thought “wow”. It seemed a really fun job and having lots of young people in my family and having taught dance to children for years it was often said to me that I would be perfect for it. I love working with young people and children and I'm passionate about children’s television so it's a dream come true really.