OK, I’m feeling quite chuffed with myself as I’ve just done my first documentary for television.
A few weeks ago I was involved in a project called Aspire to Achieve, which is aimed at Year 10 students encouraging them to think that despite the increasing costs of a university place, it is worth pursuing as, in my opinion, there is no price you can put on education. I never went to Uni but I can see the benefits of it and I would love to have spent 3 years getting a degree but the opportunity was never on offer. I did a talk to over a hundred 15 year-old high achievers and it was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever had to do. Thankfully my words went down well and there was a positive response from the students. The event was covered by the local BBC news channel and I was quite proud that I am involved in the project and what I can offer. A producer from the BBC’s Inside Out programme was watching the short news item and decided that there was a bigger story there and asked me to do even more. I was worried. Was it right for a man like me, who never went to Uni, has had a bit of success and has managed to carve at a small amount of celebrity (stop laughing at the back) to front such a programme? They obviously thought it was. So, like most things I do, I threw myself into it with as much gusto as I could. I was doing pieces to camera, voice overs, interviews and vox-pops (you see I’ve become very televisual) and loved every minute of it. It gave me an insight into how TV production worked and I was amazed at the amount of work that goes into even a 10 minute documentary. It was a terrific experience and I watch TV programmes slightly differently… now I’m in the know. I also learned how important an editor is to make you look good and lose all those embarrassing gaffs, which I just hope won’t be appearing on ‘It’ll Be Alright on the Night’.
For anyone interested the Inside Out item it can be seen on BBC Iplayer
One of the off-shoots of this programme was that I was invited to promote it on the BBC’s Breakfast, the morning news programme with Bill Turnbull and Louise Minchin. It all went well. I’d like to say I looked great on camera but, it was early morning, so I did my best and thankfully I didn’t stumble over my words. Once my piece was finished I went to the Green Room where people wait for their appearance and bumped into Billy Elliot himself, Jamie Bell, who was there promoting his starring role in the new Steven Spielberg animated movie, Tin Tin. He looked a bit drawn and tired and I was a little bit disappointed that he wasn’t interested in having much of a conversation with me. This of course could be down to the fact that I was buzzing after my live appearance, whereas he might have been fed up with having to do another round of interviews when he’d much rather be at home and in bed.
I also bumped into Susan Boyle, who was there to pre-record an item for transmission later in the week and I thought, well I’d love to get a photo with her… after all, a lad can dream a dream can’t he? A BBC production person, who had worked with her before, was adamant that she didn’t like having her photograph taken and probably wouldn’t cooperate. She could not have been nicer and when I put my arm around her she was as tight as anything. Whatever she was strapped into I need to know… it may come in handy if I end up doing any other TV appearances. In fact, she’s appearing near my home town in the play about her life story – yes you’ve guessed it – I Dreamed A Dream, I’ll nip along to see it and ask her then. After the photo I said in my best Scottish accent “Thanks a lot Hen.” To which she gave an enormous snort of laughter that turned everyone’s head. I guess she must have liked me after all.
Also on the programme was Jack Osbourne, a man I’ve never really taken to, not being a fan of Ozzy or Sharon or their TV programme. When he was younger he, like his father, had a drug problem but has managed to overcome it and has been seen fronting programmes on Extreme Sports amongst other daredevil items. He has his own TV production company in the USA (not that I’m after some more work you understand) and he is inspiring his dad Ozzy to fight his own drug issues. We got talking and again, a nicer man would be difficult to find. So, that will teach me to have any preconceived ideas about anyone because so often you’re wrong in your assumptions and you are doing that person a huge disservice.
Now then… move over Jeremy Paxman… I need a new presenting job.