A 30 year career that spans children’s television, theatre, live events and an award winning small species zoo Nick built himself and runs…
Nick Spellman has been working with animals since before he left school. At 16 years old he combined his two interests – performing and the natural world – and began presenting animal experiences for birthday parties.
At 17, eager to develop his skills, Nick became a children’s entertainer for Holiday Club Pontins. During this time he took part in various Bluecoat Cabarets and honed his children’s magical act.
At 18 Nick was invited to join an established touring illusion show and took part in his first professional pantomime – Aladdin – at the Liverpool Empire alongside Mr T as well as appearing at the London Palladium in the tribute to the recently deceased Bernie Winters.
In 1991 Nick was approached to appear in a Summer Season with Keith Harris and Orville as their resident magician/illusionist. This was a real turning point for Nick’s career as he regards the 3 seasons with Keith as his apprenticeship. Keith trained Nick in stage craft and how to work to a family audience as well as helping him develop an act.
By the time Nick had turned 22 he had participated in several professional pantomimes and summer seasons working alongside Keith and other established acts.
Nick returned back to the South-East and combined his love of animals with variety theatre background and relaunched his presentations for birthday parties and other such events.
At 25 years old Nick was invited to participate in a recording for Playhouse Disney. From this initial walk-on interview Nick was offered a contract to write and present his own feature ‘PAWS’, an animal programme for pre-schoolers. Nick recorded 40 episodes over the next two years, which were aired from 1998 to 2002.
In 2003 the demand for his presentations at events had increased to such an extent that he was being offered contracts for regular weekly slots at tourist attractions including ‘Visit Conkers’ in the Midlands.
TV personality Emma Forbes personally requested that Nick host the planned birthday party for one of her children that was to be held at Hamleys Toy Store in London. From this event Hamleys offered Nick the contract for all their private client events that were to take place on a Sunday prior to the store opening. Nick was Hamleys children’s entertainer for the next 10 years.
In 1998 National Geographic Kids Magazine were looking to promote their brand and hired Nick to front a presentation at the flagship store that had just opened on Regent Street. Such was the success that for the next 2 years Nick hosted his presentation once a month for the store and continued the contract when the store relocated to new premises opposite Harrods in Knightsbridge.
In 2000 Nick was asked to host the morning show for the brand new sleepover that The Natural History Museum had devised called Dinosnores. A contract Nick still holds to this day.
As well as featuring at various exhibitions at Earls Court, Alexandra Palace and Excel on behalf of National Geographic, The Pet Show and The Outdoor Show, Nick was also featured in many family showcases on behalf of the organisers, most notably ‘Lollibops’, UK’s biggest festival for children.
In 2016 Nick and his colleague approached the Borough of Broxbourne with an ambitious plan to build and run their very own small species zoo. With very little DIY skills Nick built all the enclosures over the course of a year and were rewarded with a zoo licence and permission to open officially in August 2017.
Today Nick divides his time between running and maintaining the zoo and hosting his off site events that helps to fund the zoo, Cedars Nature Centre.
Over his comprehensive career Nick has won independent recognition from “Timeout London for Children Guide”, “GOOP” and “Angels and Urchins” as one of the best activities or events to do with your children. In 2018 Nick was awarded the “LUX Lifestyle Magazines” ‘UK’s best animal handler’ award. In 2020 Cedars Nature Centre was awarded the Borough’s community award.