One-off phenomenon or major breakthrough?

What a week that was!

I had intended to ‘report’ on how my Five News reading was going as the week progressed but so strong and extra-ordinary were the reactions that I did not have the time – and the weekend was full too as my ‘appearances’ continued to be news and attract comment (see below). Far from being a stunt, as some might have branded it at the start, it turned out even better than we had hoped, as a serious trigger for public discussion and debate.

Three things stand out from the week for me: First, reading the news was very challenging at the start (getting the tone, speed and feel of the bulletins right) but eventually, was something I really enjoyed. Being in a newsroom was fascinating and I was very impressed by the tenacity, integrity and accuracy of the Five News team.

Second, public reaction has been overwhelmingly positive – over 45,000 people viewed my Tuesday broadcast on YouTube with barely one negative reaction – and I hope that all broadcasters will now see that there is nothing to fear in putting people with disfigurements in everyday, on-screen roles – as long as they have the skills and expertise to do the job.

Third, I hope my performance will convince anyone with a facial disfigurement, especially a young person, who might have thought such roles were out of reach (because there were no such role models on TV) that they can aspire to play them – do the training and make the application!

Looking ahead and answering the title question, I am unsure whether I will be asked to read the news again but I am certain others will be – fine by me!

Major breakthrough? Yes, potentially – what I have to ensure is that the momentum of the week is carried forward – that we find the money and resources to make the most of the opportunities that come…

2 thoughts on “One-off phenomenon or major breakthrough?

  1. I watched your news reading on youtube, you were fantastic James. I believe in equality for all, it doesn’t matter what you look like. Lets hope others will be inspired to follow in your footsteps.

  2. James – just watched one of the news bulletins that you did which I had taped. I thought you were brilliant. Having worked in TV I can imagine that it was a lot harder than it looked and you looked very natural. Fab.

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