‘A brilliant role model’: CBeebies hires its first presenter with Down’s syndrome | Television

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The BBC’s preschool television station CBeebies named George Webster as its first presenter with Down’s Syndrome. The 20-year-old will join the channel as a guest presenter of CBeebies House, hosting segments and links between programs at MediaCityUK from Salford.

Actor, dancer and ambassador for the disability charity Mencap, Webster was announced as a presenter on Monday. In a video posted to social media, he said: “I feel so proud and so excited to start,” adding that he can’t wait to cook and dance in his new role.

Webster, from Leeds, has previously appeared in an educational video for the BBC’s Bitesize feature on misconceptions about the genetic disease.

Many expressed their joy online at his announcement, especially parents of children with disabilities. Actress Sally Phillips, who has a son with Down’s syndrome, wrote: “Oh CBeebies I couldn’t love you more. It means so much to us and George is not amazing !!”

Elsewhere, Mencap has described Webster as “a brilliant role model.”

CBeebies, aimed at children under the age of seven, has been praised for its diverse content in recent years. In June 2020, following the death of George Floyd, Métis presenter Ben Cajee informed young viewers about his own experiences with racism. A two-minute film series called My Black History Heroes, starring such figures as Barack Obama and Mary Seacole, is currently airing on the channel.

Reactions to Webster’s appointment contrast with the reception some 12 years ago from then-Cbeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell, born with her missing right arm, and whose appearance on the channel in 2009 resulted in a deluge of complaints.

Burnell tweeted the news of Webster’s appointment, with the words ‘absolute joy’, as well as a retweet another message who postulated that maybe “the world turned” in the intervening years.



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