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Ed Sheeran to read CBeebies bedtime story about stuttering

Sheeran himself had a stutter as a child

By Patrick Clarke

Ed Sheeran during his appearance on CBeebies' Bedtime Stories
Ed Sheeran (Photo: BBC)

Ed Sheeran will become the latest celebrity to take part in CBeebies’ Bedtime Stories, with the musician to read a book about a young boy with a stutter.

Sheeran, who had a stutter himself as a child, will read ‘I Talk Like a River’ by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith. The book concerns a father who helps his son overcome a stutter by comparing the flow of his words to the flow of a river.

Sheeran said he was “delighted” to be appearing on the show. “I hope the story helps inspire and support other children who stutter,” he said.

“Growing up, I had a stutter like the boy in I Talk Like a River, so I’m delighted to be reading this story for CBeebies Bedtime Stories, especially as I’m a new dad myself.”

He follows in the footsteps of Dave Grohl, who read a story called ‘Octopus’s Garden’ – based off the Beatles song of the same name – earlier this month.

Other musicians to have read on the show include Dolly Parton, Mark Ronson, Elton John, George Ezra and Josh Homme. Actors including Regé-Jean Page, Jodie Whittaker and Tom Hardy have also taken part.

In a clip shared ahead of the broadcast on November 5, Sheeran speaks to camera about his difficulties as a child. “When I was little I had a stutter which means when I spoke sometimes the words got a bit stuck on the way out,” he says.

“It made me feel different because, you know, I’d be in school and the teacher would ask a question that I would know the answer to and I’d put my hand in the air and then when it came to my turn to answer I couldn’t get the words out.

“I used to worry that I’d never be able to speak without stuttering. But now I sing and I talk to people all the time. Sometimes to lots of people.”

At a fundraiser for the American Institute Of Stuttering in 2015, Sheeran discussed how learning to rap like Eminem helped him as a child.

“My Uncle Jim told my dad that Eminem was the next Bob Dylan – it’s pretty similar, it’s all just storytelling – so my dad bought me ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ when I was nine years old, not knowing what was on it,” NME reported him saying.

“I learned every word of it, back to front, by the time I was 10. He raps very fast and melodically and percussively, and it helped me get rid of the stutter.”

Sheeran’s gig at Wembley Stadium next June, meanwhile, will offer a live British Sign Language (BSL) translation. The venue announced earlier this week that all shows from Sheeran’s onwards will feature a BSL interpreter, a service that was previously only available on select days or if booked prior.