Winds Of Change
9th August 2017
Contrary to reports, this blog isn’t about wind.
No, it’s about work, it’s about life, it’s about how I haven’t updated this for 11 months and I think my agent is going to have a coronary over it.
You never really know when’s a good time for a retrospective in the presenting world, but sometimes, when something big is about to happen, it makes sense to reflect a bit.
So here’s me, doing that, in a blog.
The last twelve months have been as mental as I’ve come to expect over the years. I’ve interviewed a few heroes of mine: Michael Keaton, Michael Fassbender, Michael Caine… all the Michaels (those were the only Michaels), Samuel L Jackson, Ridley Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mo Farah, the list of people I was inexplicably allowed to talk to embarrasses me a bit, as I’m sure it did them.
I finally managed to take a holiday after 8 years! Heading out for a few days in Porto, a couple weeks running around Bali, a gig in Barcelona, some crazy nights at the Edinburgh Fringe that we’ll never speak of again…. it was a year full of doing stuff, stuff I’ve wanted to do for a while.
But instead of focusing on all that, I wanted to dedicate this blog to the biggest part of my year, if not my entire career to date, the Premier League.
Now I won’t beat around the bush, I’m a Preston North End fan. To me, the Football League is the beating heart of the beautiful game, the grass roots of family clubs and small town heroics. In fairness, I’ve been conditioned to think like this over decades of under achievement, as we’ve never actually made it into the big time (so many failed playoff campaigns, it keeps me awake at night).
Anyway, this year I had to readdress my whole viewpoint on the sport, when I bagged myself a gig on ‘Kick Off’, Premier League Kick Off. I’d done what Preston never managed to do, got promoted…
Kick Off is a show made by the Premier League for the global market, so if you’re tuning in to the 12.30 game on a Saturday or Sunday, let’s say in Australia, India, Africa or America for instance, there’s a good chance you’ll be watching our show. 730 million home worldwide.
This was completely different to what I was used to, out of my comfort zone, out of my niche, out of my wheelhouse, totally daunting. But you know, why not?
From going to film premieres, sitting in studios and edit suites, I was suddenly reporting live from every major EPL game going, rubbing shoulders with pundits and players I’d watched on Match of the Day all my life. The Neville brothers, Andy Cole, Dennis Wise, Ian Wright, we were all there doing roughly the same job, and I didn’t even have any England caps! On that point, my phone book was soon looking not dissimilar to a late 90s England manager…let’s go with Glenn Hoddle.
Over the course of that season I took my place by the dugout next to some of the most expensive players in the world, the most flamboyant managers within the most illustrious stadiums. For a football fan, even a lower-league prejudice one, it was a dream come true. It became my most comfortable place, it became my niche, my wheelhouse.
I even finished above Alan Shearer in the PL Fantasy League. Scenes. I could’ve done that show forever.
Then the unthinkable happened, I was offered another gig… a completely different one.
In this business you find yourself juggling jobs a lot, but this was a red pill or blue pill moment, left or right, reality or the rabbit hole.
Stuff like that can ultimately help you realise just how much you love something, the show I was on, the people I worked with, what it had done for me in just that one year.
But it can also remind you of what can happen when you take a risk, roll the dice, hold your nose and jump in…so I followed my gut and did what people say you’re supposed to do with something you love. I let it go (cue Forrest Gump feather sequence and cynical groans).
So here I am again, about to embark on something completely different to what I’m used to, out of my comfort zone, out of my niche, out of my wheelhouse, totally daunting.
So you know, why not?
See you in a year x