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The One Show, and meeting Sir David


As most of you will know, this has been quite an amazing week for me, because a film I shot with Ben Garrod at Bristol Museum earlier this year was being shown on BBC1's The One Show - and not only that, but also I was invited down to the studio to appear live on the sofa with Sir David Attenborough !

I know a lot of my readers are outside the UK, so it's worth saying that The One Show is a very big show over here: it goes out live from Broadcasting House in London at 7pm on BBC1 every weekday, and is watched by about 5.2million people (or about the whole population of Scotland !) The One Show had made all my travel arrangements for me, so this is how my day went !

11am: Edinburgh airport: Even though I was missing school, I had to get up the same time as I do on a school day (6:00 am) on Monday and I left the house the same time as I always do -  8:00 am. A couple hours later, I was past security, and I had a light snack before and I was boarding the plane.

I don't know what professional TV presenters have for lunch, but I bet it's not cheese and ham sandwiches made by their dad and wrapped in cling-film.

1pm: Arrive in London: The Flybe plane (other brands of airline are available) landed at about 1pm, which meant I had a few hours free, so dad and I went to do some sight seeing.

2pm-4pm sightseeing and shopping: We took a train called the DLR into central London, which  was packed with people. There were a few places which I wanted to see, then after walking around for a hour or two, we were getting hungry.

4pm: early dinner ! This was the best time to eat, since we were meant to be at the BBC at 5pm, and we wouldn't really get another chance until we were on the plane back. There was an amazing Italian restaurant close to Broadcasting House for dinner where I looked at my notes and signed a copy of my book for Sir David. It was a great meal even though they billed us £4 for two bread rolls !

5pm: Broadcasting House - This is a massive BBC office built in a U-shape with a big courtyard, and eight floors. The One Studio is on the ground floor, and behind the presenters are huge glass windows which look out onto the courtyard, so if you stand there between 7pm and 7.30pm there is a good chance you'll be on air.

I went into the One Show reception and  I was given my own visitor's pass. "Please return this pass to reception". Yup, that was never going to happen, so it's in my souvenir tin.

5.10pm: Green room A nice man called Chris took me and Dad down to the Green Room, which is where guests wait for the programme.

It is a big room with a TV, a fridge filled with beer, although none were the one that I drink (joke) and there were sofas, snacks, a massive TV and a wall full of pictures of the presenters with the guests. The first person to pop in was Matt Baker, who was just back from a jog, and who was really nice. Then one of the sound guys came in to fit a mic on me, then Alex Jones, the other presenter came in to chat. She is very sweet and funny.

5.50pm: Final chat. Karen, who I think was the assistant producer, was the person Dad and I had dealt with about coming on, and she came down and was very friendly and professional. She had a very rough running order, and told me that the clip I had filmed with Ben Garrod in Bristol would be shown at about 12 minutes into the programme. While it was being shown, I would be brought onto the sofa next to Sir David, then after the clip finished, I would be interviewed by Alex and Matt, and Sir David and I would have to identify some bones.

6pm: Rehearsal: After that, Karen took me upstairs to the studio.It was very strange seeing it for real for the first time. There were four static cameras, and the two which pointed at the presenters had autocues. The final, fifth camera was on a big arm, so it could move into all different angles.

In the rehearsals, the presenters were thinking of through what they were going to say. It was very informal, so I still didn't know exactly what they were going to ask. Sir David wasn't there, because he has been broadcasting for so long he doesn't need practice.

Jack Ashby from the Grant Museum had brought along three ones which I and Sir David would have to identify. I was allowed to hold the bones but not to ask questions, and I wasn't given any clues about them. The only thing I knew for certain is that they were from species which I didn't have in my collection !

6.50pm: Back to the green room: Just before it began, I met Sir David for the first time. He is a wonderful, very clever, and very knowledgeable man.

I have always wanted to meet Sir David because he has always been an inspiration not just to me, but also to other people who inspire me like Ben Garrod and Chris Packham. I was a bit overwhelmed when I met Sir David. I had a copy of my book to give him and I asked him to sign one of his books for me.

He took some time to read through my book as well, which was a great feeling.

6.57pm: Ready to go ! I went with Sir David up in the lift to the studio, and he went on the sofa while I waited in the wings with the audience.

It was great just listening to him talk, as well as seeing how the crew moved around cameras and screens while each clip was being shown. But I was nervous.

7.12pm: To the sofa ! Matt and Alex announced my clip, then as soon as it started, I was taken to the sofa and chatted with Sir David. Weirdly, I hadn't seen any of the finished clip before. It wasn't until I was home the next day that I watched it all the way through. The bones were brought in as well onto a table, and my own leopard skull was put on the table.

7.16pm: Back to the studio ! The clip ended, the audience all applauded (and Sir David did as well), and Matt introduced me. This was it !

You can see the whole bit here, and I'll talk through it below.

It was actually pretty fun, and I stopped being nervous as soon as I started speaking:

They started by asking me how I started collecting, and this was an answer I knew well, because I gave a longer version of it when I gave my talk in Bath,  and then how I cleaned my bones which got a big laugh.

7.18pm: Bone puzzle ! The "Bone Idol" bit began, and we were asked to identify the first bone. I knew roughly what sort of size of animal it was, and that it was a left humerus, that it was from an adult, probably an elderly adult, and that it was from a solid, heavy animal rather than an athletic animal. I narrowed it down to hippo or rhino and Sir David agreed with me - then I chose the wrong one ! So close.

I knew the second bone was the auditory bulla, but I didn't want to say it on air wrong, so I just said ear bone. Sir David spotted it was from a whale. I'm guessing it might have been a juvenile.

The third was more difficult, it was fossilised, which felt like stone, and it was clearly a vertebrae, but it didn't seem to be mammal or fish, so I guessed dinosaur lumbar vertebrae, but I couldn't really have much chance of getting the species right. Sir David identified it was from a sauropod, but didn't get much further than me.

What I didn't realise until later is that they pulled another piece at this point to give me longer to talk with Sir David!

7.21pm: My Leopard skull After that they asked my what my favourite skull was. I said it was the leopard skull that I brought with me, and talked about the pathology.

7.23pm: A round of applause from the audience, Matt thanks me, then the next clip began, and I went back over to the audience.

7.28pm: The programme ended ! I was brought back in to do publicity pictures with Sir David, Matt and Alex. It was an amazing feeling. I thought it had gone incredibly well.

7.36pm Out ! After that dad and I said goodbye to everyone, then ran downstairs to pack up our bag and leave because we had a plane to catch. We left at the same time as Matt, but he was stopped by fans who wanted a picture outside.

We ran down to Oxford Circus tube station while I phoned my mum to tell her how it went. We went to Bank on a busy train, then caught the DLR to the airport. On the train I went through my Twitter messages. There were many, many kind ones.  These are just a selection, there were over 30 pages of them when I printed them out later:

And there was a very kind one from Naomi, one of the CBBC Wild presenters (I was filmed for them over the summer):

9.20pm Fly back to Edinburgh. I phoned Ben Garrod from the airport, then answered a few other messages, had a drink then we went to catch my flight.

I was annoyed because I had argued with dad all day that I should get a window seat, then when I got on to the plane because I was in the one row which didn't actually have a window !.

11.40pm Got home ! I was exhausted, but I sat with Mum for a while talking about the day, then went to bed just after a midnight. I had a lie in until 7am, then I was off to school as normal !

This was a great experience and one that I will not forget. I was really happy that I got to meet Sir David and meet the presenters. A big, big thank you to Sir David, Matt, Alex, Ben, Bonnie Griffin at Bristol Museum, Karen, and everyone else who made it such a special day for me.

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Sophie BirderBagshaw said...

You were great!! And I agree with the others, you definitely need your own show. Your book has already got many youngsters into bone collecting and I bet this visit also showed many how intelligent you are, as well as showed you that people are recognising how much you love your hobby. A very very well done Jake!
Sophie :P

Mel said...

Well done! You were totally awesome, loved it! :)

Brian Hunter said...

Well done Jake and meet one of the greats and hold your own well done!!!

Lena (ossamenta) said...

You were brilliant!

Tim Cook said...

Another amazing milestone! Well done, Jake.
Tim Cook
Jake's Publisher

Mori said...

This is incredibly interesting. I didn't know anything about these really important anthropological finds. I can't believe they could even tell what one of them ate last. Amazing.

Jake said...

Thanks Sophie !

Jake said...

Thanks Mel !

Jake said...

It was a great honour to meet him.

Jake said...

Thanks !

Jake said...

Thanks Tim !

Jake said...

Pretty weird and unusual, eh ?

sedruff said...

Fascinating. I knew a bit about this before, but now I understand it way better. Nice, Jake!

Jake said...

Thanks !

min-seo jeon said...

Wow, it's really cool!!!

kiatrans said...


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