Chris was born in Romford. He began his entertainment career as a presenter on Radio Orwell in Ipswich hosting a Saturday morning children’s show. He also performed in cabaret and at Butlins. He joined the BBC in 1993, as a presenter on CBBC – he was the last new CBBC presenter to appear in The Boom Cupboard alongside Zoë Ball and Josie d’Arby. His final appearance was in 1997. He presented observation quiz Look Sharp! (BBC One, 1995 – 1996).
Chris wrote a lot of material for Children’s BBC. He created several memorable characters, including The Anorak (1994 – 1996). He was responsible for the mini soap opera, Wood Lane TV (1995 – 1996). Chris presented on The Friday Zone (January 1997 – March 1997) which was broadcast on Friday afternoons on BBC One. His co-presenters for the slot were Debra Stephenson, Peter Simon, Dominic Wood, Steve Rock and Emma Lee. They released a single called Glasses to raise money for Comic Relief. He hosted Fully Booked (1998 – 1999), alongside Tim Vincent and Gail Porter. He appeared on many other TV shows, including: Playdays – Playground Stop (1995 – 1997); Short Change (1998); Exclusive; Soap Fever.
Chris was a popular CBeebies presenter (2002 – 2009) and was one of the original line-up alongside Pui Fan Lee, Sidney Sloane and Sue Monroe. From March 2007 until his departure in 2009 he linked the channel’s programmes alongside Lee, from 9am until 3pm. He appeared on Discover and Do and the Bedtime Hour, from 6pm. He also appeared on BBC Two’s early morning CBeebies slot. He wrote and starred in Show Me Show Me, which he co-presented with Pui Fan Lee. The first 50 half-hour episodes were broadcast on the CBeebies channel every weekday from Monday 6th July 2009. Since 2010, Chris and Pui have toured the UK with The Chris and Pui Show, loosely based on their TV work.
Chris and Pui have regularly appeared in other CBeebies shows, including: Justin’s House and the annual Christmas shows.
Chris also did some work for ITV: he presented Jungle Run (CITV, 2001 – 2002) and provided the voiceover for Catchphrase (ITV, 2000 – 2001).
In 2012 Chris wrote Jack and the Beanstalk and played Dame Trott. He wrote the original Children’s BBC Big Bash pantomimes in the mid-1990s and most of the subsequent pantos for CBeebies including Cinderella, Strictly Cinderella, Jack and Jill and Jack and the Beanstalk. As an actor, Chris has appeared in The Demon Headmaster, Mr Wymi (1998), ChuckleVision (1998 – 1999), Step Inside (he played Mr Mopple the storyteller) and Dream Street (1999 – 2002).
More recently Chris played King Alonso in The Tempest (CBeebies, 2018). He has also appeared in all CBeebies Christmas Specials. In 2013, Chris and Pui devised Old Jack’s Boat, a drama and storytelling show starring Bernard Cribbins; other names associated with the show include Janine Duvitski and Helen Lederer (2013 – present). As well as filming and writing for CBeebies, Chris writes, directs and appears in theatre pantomimes.
He was the host of the 50th anniversary of the first transmission of Play School at its original home at Riverside Studios in 2014, with hundreds of former presenters and production members in attendance. He returned to CBBC for Hacker’s Birthday Bash: 30 Years of CBBC (2015).
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Chris in March 2018.
Was It Easy Making the Transition from CBBC to CBeebies?
“It was a fabulous opportunity. CBeebies wanted entertainers rather than just presenters. On CBeebies, I got to sing, perform comedy and be generally ridiculous.”
Memories of the CBBC ’30th’ Event? And Why Are You Missing from the Group Photo?
“I am there somewhere, unless I popped to the loo! The reunion was a scream – so great to catch up with so many great people (and puppets). Thanks to that amazing big break back in 1993, I’m still working in children’s TV. We are not touring this year – hoping to again, but there are so many obstacles!! May have to re-think that one. Pui and I are filming for CBeebies soon, but alas the show hasn’t got a name yet!”
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Chris which we found on social media sites or have made available from our own archive. The clips are presented here for additional reference. Inclusion of a video does not constitute an endorsement of the hosting site/channel/user. If you find any broken links below or are aware of an additional clip(s) which you believe may be a useful addition to this profile, please get in touch with us via our Contact page.
PICTURED: Chris Jarvis. SUPPLIED BY: Online. COPYRIGHT: The Children's Media Conference 2019.