For anyone who grew up watching shows like PlayDays and Get Your Own Back, Dave Benson Phillips is a TV hero.
As host and judge at the Leapfrog Short Film Festival last week, DBP’s bubbly personality brought a touch of showbiz fizz to the event.
‘If you liked me, my name is Dave Benson Phillips. If you didn’t, my name is Lenny Henry,’ he quipped.
Babes about Town cozied up with Phillips for a chat about film, TV and being a proud papa (to the very cute Benjamin).
How did you get involved with the Leapfrog Film Festival?
I was approached by Laura (Hinchelwood), Leapfrog PR, via email and then we had lunch and she told me about the competition idea. I was up for it immediately especially as I’m a big fan of Leapfrog. Having recently become a dad, I find they do great educational stuff for kids.
What did you think of the short film competition?
It’s a sweet idea to make a short film that captures your life in a minute. I think it’s a really good premise to get kids involved in media and I hope it keeps running for many years. Maybe when my toddler grows up he can enter!
Was it easy to pick a winner?
They were all amazing. I definitely liked the one about the London Duck Tours. But my favourite was the one that won, the Mini adventure. I thought it was really cool that it was all filmed by the lad himself. Also I’m a big petrol head. One of the first cars I wound up restoring was a Mini.
You’re still very active in children’s television.
Indeed, although I spend a lot more time behind the camera, writing and producing. I also direct live shows and we produce orchestral shows.
What do you think of kids’ TV today?
There’s a lot of hi-tech jiggery pokery. Frankly it’s amazing what they can do with the technology. I freak out at stuff like Waybuloo. My son is totally enamoured with In the Night Garden. But I do miss the old days and thankfully there’s still a place for things on strings.
How has becoming a dad changed you?
You know, I get it now. I finally realise how tough it is being a parent. In my job, I get the kids, hype them up and then hand them back to their owners. But now, it’s full on. As my dad said, babies don’t come with a standby mode!
Do you plan to have more?
It took us long enough to have the first one! We’d been trying since our early 30s and I’m now 46. We had a lot of problems and we reached the stage where we never thought it would happen. So we consider ourselves very lucky. Benjamin was wanted for a very long time. I’m loving being a parent and we’re possibly looking into adoption for the next time.
How does Benjamin handle being a showbiz kid?
Well his first appearance on stage was at 3 weeks old as I played guitar to a crowd of 2000 people. He spent the first year of his life touring with us. Sometimes I think we’re asking too much – I mean, he had his first Chinese meal at age 1!
Still we’re lucky as I know other touring parents who have horror stories, the non-stop vomiting on the tour bus kind. So far Benjamin’s the perfect touring baby. He’s sat in on orchestral concerts and it’s an amazing feeling during live recordings to look over and see my son watching. He’s changed my life.
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