Maddie Moate Shares More About Her Work

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Curiosity & Christmas

TV presenter, ‘edu-tuber’ and author and St Albans panto star, Maddie Moate is a dab hand at feeding curious minds. Absolutely Hertfordshire finds out more about her work

Curiosity is Maddie Moate’s speciality. With awards and plaudits under her belt for – among others – CBeebies’ Maddie’s Do You Know and CBBC’s Show Me The Honey, she is also known to children via her own YouTube channel. This has racked up more than 50 million views and has a very large subscriber base. Kids love her programmes and, for parents, they hit that sweetspot of being entertaining, but also brilliantly educational. 

Being an ‘edu-tuber’ was not something Maddie set out to be. She fell into it thanks to a harmonious alignment of her skills and interests with a shift in the way we digest media. “At school I absolutely enjoyed science, but I also enjoyed drama clubs and theatre and dance. So, at university I ended up doing the media and theatre side of things. It was only after university that I realised how much I missed science,” she says. 

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Knowing that an acting career wasn’t for her, she thought about all the areas of her degree that had grabbed her. She’d loved web design and suddenly there was this emerging thing called YouTube. It started small when she was picked up by a company to front short technology videos for a female audience. “Other companies were marketing tech at women atrociously, and they were trying to change that – as in, it’s not all about having a small pink phone,” she says. Her tone was light, comic but informative, and suddenly it clicked. “I felt like I was back in my natural habitat because I was talking about tech.”

She was picked up by other media companies (including the BBC), so things snowballed. Ten years on, working across multiple channels including her own, she’s a familiar and trusted face, delivering fun and factual content on wildlife, science, technology and the rest. 

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And now Christmas, for A very Curious Christmas, is Maddie’s take on something that just about every child is keen on. The good news is there’s more than a stocking filler’s worth of edutainment here. From what Brussels sprouts do to digestive tracts to how snowflakes are formed to why, indeed, we have Christmas at all – it’s all here. It’s an approach that her YouTube audience will recognise. Snappy delivery, fascinating information and even carefully chosen cracker jokes to add fun asides to more weighty stuff. 

Maddie came at Christmas from an open-minded perspective. She didn’t want this to feel limited – so there’s plenty of seasonal science and nature content and a far broader set of traditions are explained. “I was really fortunate to be able to find kids who celebrate Chinese New Year, Hanukkah and Diwali and I asked them to explain to me what their traditions were and what their festival was. It felt great to have the voices of some young people in the book – a golden opportunity to show me learning through the voice of others.”

Illustrations: Paul Boston

For children, this is surely part of the appeal of Maddie’s work – learning together. She comes at subjects not as if she’s imparting knowledge but finding out with you. “I come at topics with genuine curiosity and an eagerness to learn,” she says. “Because my background really is in storytelling, it’s about entertaining people and finding the hook – especially finding that hook that is going to resonate with younger people and children.” 

Christmas is obviously a winner for this age group – but great also to have a defined theme. “I love teaching and educating around a theme. What I’ve discovered through my YouTube work is that you can teach a whole spectrum of different subjects if you find a theme that’s going to engage children.” She’s done this with many other topics before (from Egypt to spies), but with this season of the year there’s so much going on – the science of crackers, the crafts of Yuletide, the reason we eat turkey. There are quizzes to challenge and 12 fun and seasonal activities to enliven the winter holiday – all are linked to short YouTube videos that will be arriving just before Christmas. 

Shortlisting was, says Maddie, a fine balance, but it was also fun to delve into a subject that already feel like familiar territory. “Kids like to know about themselves and they like to know about things they know about,” she says. With this book children have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas not just for the presents, but for their new-found wisdom about the holiday season. 

A Very Curious Christmas is published by Puffin (£12.99). Maddie Moate is appearing as Tinkerbell in The All New Adventures of Peter Pan at the Alban Arena from 8-31 December

Three of the best local pantomimes

It’s in front of you

The All New Adventures of Peter Pan – A Pantomime Sequel

Alban Arena

8-31 December

box out peter pan

Coronation Street legend Chris Gascoyne will star as Captain Hook, alongside this month’s interviewee Maddie Moate as Tinkerbell, and St Albans’ favourite Ian Kirkby as Mrs Smee, in The All New Adventures of Peter Pan.

Get ready to fly back to Neverland once again. Join Elizabeth Darling, Wendy’s daughter, as she embarks on a thrilling journey with Peter, Tinkerbell, and the Lost Children of Neverland.

This promises to be the Alban Arena’s most spectacular pantomime yet with stunning sets, dazzling costumes, and a star-studded cast, a must-see show for the whole family. Don’t miss your chance to experience the wonder and excitement of Neverland once more in Paul Hendy’s pantomime sequel.


Beauty & The Beast

Eric Morecambe Centre

9-30 December

When the Prince is cursed to live as a Beast in his magical castle his only hope is to find true love before the last petal falls. Will the beautiful Belle be the chance he has been waiting for? Will French Franc be able to save the day from the evil Grimalkin and will Dame Dolly Doughnut finally find her new husband?

This family pantomime features spectacular scenery, glittering costumes, amazing special effects, plenty of audience participation and Harpenden’s pawfect panto pooch – so book your tickets now and be our guest for Harpenden’s finest festive treat.



Watford Palace Theatre

30 November-31 December

box out cinderella

Starring Watford’s favourite Dame, Terence Frisch, Cinderella wants to party ‘like it’s 1999’ but her stepmother has other ideas…

Watford. New Year’s Eve, 1999. Cinderella loves music. Every night she dances alone in her room (cellar) and gets lost in the music – that is, until her dodgy CD Walkman gives out.

Meanwhile, over at the Palace, the King vows to throw the ‘Party of the Century’ in a bid to find the Prince of Pinner a wife. And with Cinderella’s stepmother hell-bent on her daughters (Britney & Christina) marrying up, she sees this as their golden opportunity.

The Palace has been the home of panto since 1908, and Christmas just isn’t the same without it. Support your local theatre and be part of our yearly heart-warming Christmas pantomime, but don’t delay – the clock is ticking, so book your tickets before they run out.


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