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Two big BBC appearances


As you'll know from my last three posts, I had a pretty busy week with doing media things last week. It began with being included on the BBC Wildlife Magazine power list, and I was featured in all sorts of newspapers because of that, then my book was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Award, which brought more publicity as well.

During the week I got two calls, one from BBC Radio Scotland in Glasgow, and one from the BBC Breakfast programme in Manchester. I was happy to agree to both, and this is week's post about what it was like to be behind the scenes there !

BBC Radio Scotland

I had been on BBC Radio Scotland twice before, first when I was eight, and again last year when my book came out, so I knew what to expect. You can do these interviews over the phone, or from a local BBC studio, but I prefer to be in the actual studio where the presenter is. Radio is odd because you don't really have a chance to meet the presenter before, and they like you to just turn up a few minutes before you appear. Dad and I arrived about an hour before the show to relax and have a coffee before. There's a waiting area with an amazing view, that looked out on to the Armadillo and the SECC on the river Clyde.

A few minutes before the show, we were both brought into the studio, and put on headphones. This was it ! I was pretty nervous just sitting there.

Here's the whole interview. This was the first time dad and I had both been on air at the same time. It was one of the more interesting interviews I have done, and there were some really good questions:

After the interview I was photographed by the BBC, then I phoned mum, then we went to get lunch in Glasgow.

The interview only lasted 12 minutes. It seems long, but goes quickly when you are on air, but here's also a lot of preparation that goes in that people don't see.

BBC Breakfast

That evening dad got a call from one of the BBC Breakfast team. Would I like to go on air on Sunday morning ? It took a lot of planning, but between Mum and Dad' work we managed to find a window of time when I could just about go to Manchester and back again. The journey began at Dunblane train station at 4.30pm on Saturday. I had two cases, one full of bones, one full of clothes.

Dad and I got dinner at Edinburgh station, then got our reserved seats for the trip to Manchester:

The journey was pretty boring, so I read a bit and went through my notes for the interview. The BBC had phoned dad just after we set off, so I knew at least dad would be on air with me. The only exciting bit of the journey was about half way into the journey when an old man was very rude to a member of staff, and refused to get off the train when he police came on.

It was late when we arrived at the hotel, which was right next to the BBC studio, and we had a great room on the 16th floor. I got a snack, went though my notes and answered some emails. 

After we settled in to the hotel, dad and I went for a walk around MediaCity to have a look at where we were going to be the next morning. MediaCity is a place in Manchester that is just studios.

This next picture is in the lift going back to our room. We were both very tired, but I did not go to bed until I ironed my clothes and got my bones ready for the next day.

This was the view from end of the corridor on our floor ! The BBC is the building on the right with the blue lights at the top.

The next morning at 5am it looked a lot less glamorous:

I showered, dressed, and checked my bones again. Then when I looked out the window at the tower block opposite, I saw something that took me by surprise !

This is my skulls and books all ready to go:

The building at Quay House is home to a whole load of BBC programmes and stations, including Top Gear and BBC Sport.

In the reception was a mock-up of the BBC Breakfast sofa where I would be sitting shortly.

An assistant came down to bring us up to the studio. It was a bit different from The One Show (which I was on in December) because there was no live audience, and the green room was just an area at the edge of the newsroom.

I met Jenny Discombe at the green room. She worked at Manchester Museum and had brought some skulls I was going to be tested on. She was really nice. The producers made a big effort so I couldn't see the skulls I was going to be tested on.

This was the door to the studio I was going in to. It had loads of signs telling you to turn off your phones and report to the floor manager. The oddest thing was that there were no camera operators. Apart from one, they were all robots !

At 6.50am we were mic'd up by the sound man, brought through to the studio, and I set up the skulls on the table. The skulls had to be arranged carefully, because under the glass top of the table were computer screens which can be seen by the presenters, John and Sian. When it came back to the studio, the presenters read from the autocue  in a tight shot, then it went wide to show us there. We were on !

After introducing me, they showed a clip from when I was filmed for CBBC Wild, AND THE BIT WHICH SHOWS ME MISIDENTIFYING A BONE !!!! I hate that bit. But the rest was great.

We then had two hours before the next slot I was on. Dad and I went for breakfast back at the hotel, which was excellent.  Feeling more refreshed, me and dad went back to the green room and chatted and watched the programme live on the TV. There was a plug for me, and it showed the skull that I was going to be tested on in the second bit ! Ah well.

I read through my notes again, but knew it was going to be roughly the same again. A few minutes before, we were back in the studio to set up again:

On a Sunday, the second part of BBC Breakfast is on the BBC News channel. It was almost the same as before, but dad and I tried to say different things in answer to the questions.

If you look carefully, you'll also see at the end that dad is about to stand up because he didn't realise he was still on camera ! I hate working with amateurs :-)

After finishing up and saying thanks to everyone, I called in to the studio next door to get my photo taken with a dalek !

It was 5pm before I got back that night, very tired and very sleepy - but a brilliant way to end a brilliant week !

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Melanie said...

Awesome post! Looks like it was fun! :)

Jake said...

It was tiring, but brilliant fun !

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