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BBC Radio Interview - Paul's Latest Blog

Founder Paul Nicol embarks on his own personal blog, taking you on his journey from diagnosis of a sight losing disease through to the present day as he makes the Home of Gift Experiences for Disabled People a success in the midst of tough economic times.

Hello there blog readers,

You may have caught through our Twitter and Facebook feeds that I was out and about last week, in particular, on Friday, I was being interviewed for a Radio 4 program!

Radio 4 you say?

Yes, I was presently surprised to be contacted by Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago. It was rather out of the blue, but was the result of my hounding the "In Touch" program last year.

The conversation went a little like this: BBC "We'd like to do a piece for the In Touch program on you and iCAN Experiences". Me "Brilliant, what did you have in mind?". BBC "We'd like to interview you whilst we're doing one of your experiences. Could this work?". Ne "Urr, yes, I think it could, leave it with me.".

The Experience....

I had the challenge of finding an experience that would work best for the Radio and most importantly operating at this early point in the season. We went through a number of different options, Bungee Jumping, Microlight Flying, Wind Tunnel Skydiving, so many to choose from despite the season not having really started! We finally agreed on the River Thames Speedboat Experience!

The Day of the interview...

I approached the River Thames Speedboat Experience operator and explained the situation and that BBC Radio 4 wanted to do a piece. The operator was so very kind and accommodating and gave us some dates to work with. Not only that, they gave us exclusive use of one of the speedboats for an entire hour!

My Journey into London was relatively trouble free, all except for the ticket office at Bicester North train station. I turned up only to find a large queue with the obligatory person at the front of the queue booking a rather time consuming and complicated trip. After waiting for 10 minutes without really moving, I found my boarding assistance guy and jumped on the train without a ticket! (To confirm, I did buy a ticket when I got to London)

Just as the train was approaching Marylebone station, my mobile rang, it Was Tony Shearman from the BBC "We've got a problem". Me "Go on". Tony "There been an incident on the line at Wembley and our trains going nowhere!". Great, just what we needed. Whilst Tony frantically looked for a Taxi along with a hundred or so other people, I got on the phone to the Speedboat operator to explain that we might be late, hoping that we may be able to shift the time of the boat. Unfortunately, due to operational reasons, they were unable to move the time of the boat, we'd just have to do what we could with the 1 hour time slot that we had!

We Made it....

As it happened, we had built in a reasonable amount of slack into our original meeting time. We were due to meet at 12:00 to board the boat at 13:00. By the time Tony Shearman and the team met up with me, it was about 12:45. We had a 5 minute walk down to the boarding gate, so made it with 10 minutes to spare!

We met with Tom the Tour Guide and Ian the boat's skipper and got ourselves kitted up into water proofs and life jackets, then Martin the sound guy from the BBC wired us up with microphones and we were off to board the boat. Tom and Ian did a superb job of guiding us aboard the speedboat and after a little game of musical chairs, we found the ideal spot for the recording.

That's a wrap!

We set off down the river, Tom did his tour guide bit and then Ian showed us the speed of the fantastic 400 Horse Power RIB speedboat! We did a number of passes and takes to ensure that we had all the footage required to make a decent article and then retired to the nearest pub to warm up and listen to what we had recorded!

The finished article

At the moment, we have a date of Tuesday 19th February at 20:40 for the article to be aired on national and international BBC Radio 4! I can't wait to hear the finished item, it will be as much a surprise to me as it will be to you! We will be sure to keep you posted and to remind you of the date and time as and when the article goes live on air!

Final Thought....

My final thought has to be a huge THANK YOU to the River Thames Speedboat operator and also BBC Radio 4. This kind of coverage is absolutely amazing and so very important to help make the Home of Gift Experiences for Disabled People a success.

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