The Truth About Alton Towers’ CBeebies Land Hotel and the real BBC pay scandal

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From the moment the family spots Postman Pat’s scarlett van trundling around the complex, your little ones will be mesmerised by the omnipresent makebelieve made possible by this appropriation of a public service broadcaster’s children’s TV channel.

And unless you’ve been holed up in Makka Pakka’s Cave for the past week, you’ll be well-versed in the BBC salaries revelations which confirmed Aunty is as sexist as they come where parity of pay is concerned, with flame-haired shouty disc jockey Chris Evans hoovering up £2.2m of public cash per year and never, ever booked blue-eyed-boy of the beautiful game Gary Lineker helping himself to £1.8m.

Meanwhile, women who light up our screens just as effervescently as the fat cat fellas at the Bountiful Boys’ Club are mocked by an executive, its Dickensian misogyny now smoked out, which thinks its leading lady, Claudia Winkleman, is only worth a stated £450-500K. Hardly a pauper’s plight but in context, it’s a chasm of criminal proportions.

I digress slightly only to steer this prose neatly onto the real scandal at the BBC which heaps unfettered ignominy upon the Corporation: Justin Fletcher - Mr Tumble to the uninitiated - is #NotOnTheList. Of course, I jest - not nearly as adroitly as does Mr T - at risk of scorn given the disgraceful unfairness we’ve witnessed in recent days, but here is a man who, unlike some of the anonymous ‘celebs’ practically stealing a living, is a national institution.

I cannot be the only hard-working but admittedly slightly cack-handed dad in Britain eternally grateful that CBeebies anchorman - described by The Manchester Evening News as ‘the Justin Bieber of children’s TV’ - came into our lives via the small screen.

And so it was fitting that telly’s king of clowns was the one entrusted with the scissors to cut the ribbon to Alton Towers’ latest multi-million-pound venture, and I can honestly say I will be eternally grateful to the Merlin Entertainments Group for inviting me to share in a moment that was probably the best day of my son’s life.

Yes, it was just the opening of another accommodation complex at a theme park, spun out of all proportion by planting celebrities - we clocked Alesha Dixon, Claire Sweeney, Michelle Heaton, Helen Flanagan, Kimberley Walsh and Suzanne Shaw (all spotted by my wife, I hasten to add) - but even the most battle-hardened of Yorkshire cynics would appreciate the joyous effect this place has on our wee bairns, as Keith Fit would say.

Everything about CBeebies Land Hotel has your child’s experience front and centre; from the cuddly concierge welcome to the wonderfully psychedelic themed decor. The hotel rooms even come with a tactile play wall and sensory space, complete with disco ball-esque lighting. Marvellous. Even the loos put junior’s needs first. Little things matter, and I love that the toilet seat was dual-sized lending maximum comfort to tiny bums.

However, and I only hope that what I am about to say is taken in the spirit it is intended, and is used to improve CBeebies Land Hotel for millions of prospective customers to come: the food served from the hotel’s Windmill Restaurant is, frankly, awful. So bad, in fact, that it is in danger of being the one thing that the grown ups remember from their entire trip, especially given a premium room will set you back £1,400 for five nights.

Let’s face it, from the moment the munchkins wake - which, when in such amazingly exciting surroundings is 5am - you as parents are flat-out doing exactly what you should do when you’re fortunate enough to get quality time with your everything: pandering to their every whim, and whilst infinitely rewarding, it’s equally exhausting.

But at least there’s a cold one behind the bar and a nice dinner to look forward to, right? Wrong.

The food served at CBeebies Land Hotel is the one part of the the package that has been disgracefully neglected and it is such a shame because this place is a must-visit attraction sitting pretty in the UK’s top ten for children, in my view.

With all of the imagination, time and effort that has gone into making Alton Towers’ CBeebies Land Hotel such a wonderfully fun world into which the children can escape and express themselves, the least the catering crew can do is match their colleagues’ excellence.

CBeebies Land Hotel In Numbers

Number of rooms: 76

Floors: 4

Price from: £197 per night (family of 4)

Premium room: £272 per night (family of four)

Suites: £347 per night

James Mitchinson, Editor

james.mitchinson@jpress.co.uk