I can't have been the only parent who sighed in dismay last year upon the discovery that the BBC had decided not to repeat 2014's two immensely popular CBeebies proms for children aged eight and under. Those two proms had meant that, for the first time, there really had been a prom for absolutely every age group, and their egalitarian pricing had put a further feather in the BBC's outreach cap. Adult tickets had been priced at £12 wherever you sat, whilst under-18s went half price, and this was a vital aspect of the Proms' accessibility when you consider that the average family was likely to need tickets for two adults and two children.

Tiny Clanger with the BBC Concert Orchestra © BBC | Guy Levy
Tiny Clanger with the BBC Concert Orchestra
© BBC | Guy Levy

So, fast forward to 2016, and the return of the CBeebies proms produced much relieved little-person whooping in the Gardner household, albeit tempered by a degree of parental sadness over the less family-friendly pricing. Tickets were now simply Band H, ranging between £7.50 and £20.00, and the fruits of this decision were apparent on the day, the promming Arena a teeming crush of parents and toddlers, whilst seats sat empty elsewhere.

Still, this was a great show. After the excitement of the CBeebies Overture (never underestimate the adrenalin potential of the Octonauts theme), clues from Mr Tumble's Spotty Bag took us on a geographical and historical musical journey from Beethoven to Márquez, highlights including a bagpiper in traditional costume popping up in the arena for Peter Maxwell Davies' An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise, and indeed simply the sight of a crowd of enraptured, stomping toddlers circling Andy Day of Andy's Wild Adventures as he took to the Arena himself for The Woolly Mammoth Song. My own children particularly appreciated Day's comedy hijacking of Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights, him claiming its dark brass poundings for dinosaurs, much to the chagrin of Steven Kynman's William Shakespeare.

Chris Jarvis and bagpiper Robert Jordan © BBC | Guy Levy
Chris Jarvis and bagpiper Robert Jordan
© BBC | Guy Levy

The works themselves were well chosen, high on both interest and volume (the latter being imperative with such a noisy audience), with Conga del fuego nuovo being the only notable weak spot, the fluctuating beat and tempo making life tricky for the CBeebies presenters as they valiantly endeavoured to dance along. In fact, the conga concept itself caused problems of its own; in the Arena, the presenter-led snaking dance foundered in the overall crush, whilst in the seats nobody quite knew whether or not the presenters shimmying in the aisles expected to be followed.

Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks) © BBC | Guy Levy
Mr Bloom (Ben Faulks)
© BBC | Guy Levy

Never mind, particularly as the performances themselves were a triumph, Jessica Cottis and the BBC Concert Orchestra tripping chameleon-like through a programme of musical costume-changes that would have had Mr Benn on his knees. Their pièce de résistance was the jump from the Tree Fu Tom's frothy Big World Red Magic spell (non-parents, just don't ask...) to a showstoppingly controlled and majestic Also sprach Zarathustra. Cottis dived in with equal aplomb to the interaction-with-the-presenters aspect of her job description, displaying a naturalness and confidence worlds away from the usual duck-out-of-water awkwardness we've come to brace ourselves for from conductors at such events.

So, all in all, bravo, and please BBC, bring CBeebies back next year. Ideally, though, with properly family-friendly prices.