Well 2014 has been a special year, and I haven't until now taken time to realise its significance. It's ten years since I started my first TV shopping channel job (well, you know what I mean lol). The channel was Price Crash TV in Manchester, which ran from 2004-07. I was there from day one and being there at all was all a matter of chance and coincidence really some months before the channel transformed from Yes661 to Yes Price Crash. I remember being pretty hooked on shopping TV from the appearance of QVC on our screens in the early 1990's. The characters, the language, the engagement and the sheer fun that the presenters seemed to be having was all quite intoxicating. It gave me new ambitions - and crazily, they somehow came true! I can remember being so nervous in the run-up to the live launch. I was in an 'academy' of around twelve different presenters all looking to be the ones that topped the table and achieved regular screen time. From the twelve, I think only three or four of us made it to launch and were sharing the screen with some talented, established and formidable names in TV shopping at the time. It was like being a new kid on the block, and you had to hit the ground running (and shout at the screen quite a bit from what I remember). I had some radio experience, but a combination of entertaining, informing, demonstrating, holding things and "selling" all on live telly with people talking in your ear in one was a steep learning curve. I say "selling" in quotes as I've never been a salesman at all in my mind. I couldn't stand in front of you and sell double-glazing or juicers, I'd be terrified and would come home very poor I think.
Chatting away is what I'm doing - we've been having a chat for ten years now and I just so happen to be showing you products at the same time. I love being there for folk through their lives as a constant, it's why I wanted shopping TV over anything else. I actually understand too well the real value of live and accessible telly that isn't delivering the news, preaching or being controversial in any way. It's the only live telly that isn't constantly going for a break, moving on, running out of time or rushing along. The presenter is allowed to really have a personality and get to know you. A lot of people in the industry still besmirch shopping TV as the lowest common denominator, naturally you'll expect me to disagree. Well, its all subjective I guess and your opinion is based on your experience, but I can honestly say that ten years later I couldn't be happier than in a live studio, just going with the flow.
You're as good as the experience around you too and I was lucky enough to start in this business with some truly amazing professionals who hailed from companies such as Granada TV. On that ten year journey, there have been high's and low's - I've been extremely lucky along the way and I can honestly say that I would not change a thing. I'm blessed to have had the chance to move around a wee bit too. From dog ramps to diamonds, slimming pants to sandpits, dishwashers to dragon figures - it's been great fun. This year I was thrilled to join Pavers Shoes TV in York, having the privilege of meeting and interviewing the founder of the company - Catherine Paver. An experienced, tenacious character in her eighties who should be an inspiration to tomorrow's entrepreneurs. Great to work for a UK family company with nearly 50 years on the clock in a very competitive market.
What have I learnt in ten years - it's not a job, it's a joy and I thank every viewer for just being there. I hope I make you smile, I hope I never make you mad and you might just have had a bargain or two along the way to show for it. I thank every member of every team I have worked with, it's the amazing talent behind the camera that makes what you see at home look so easy (and sometimes it really isn't and those guys and girls all deserve to be paid in gold). I feel like I have an enormous family of colleagues and viewers making so many memories.
I'm in touch with my viewers from all the channels I'm with, and they share their lives with me and that always means the world to me. I quite often spend an hour or two in a hotel room just catching up with the very people that keep me on the screen. I may be slow sometimes, but I always reply in the end ha ha. I'd like to think we all speak the same language and live the same lives.
I still have ambitions - I still wouldn't turn down a game show or the odd travelogue feature show, but I'll never be happier doing what I do, just chatting away about life, Jacob and any other nonsense that pops into my head. Thanks for listening, do you think you could manage another 10 years as I feel we've only really just got started and I never forget how lucky this little man is? :)
One day I'll write that book you know and tell you the whole story .......