On Friday afternoon, as I was winding down for the weekend, I recieved a call from the press team at work who were looking for someone to appear on BBC Breakfast on Saturday morning to talk about the recent extreme rainfall and flooding and possible ways to reduce flooding in the future. On Friday their reporting had been very reactive, and the day after, they wanted someone to talk a bit more about possible solutions. As a result of my work on sustainable drainage I was asked to take part in the program. I rang the program producer, Victoria, and she asked various questions about the extreme rainfall and our work on sustainable drainage and before I knew it, my hotel in Salford and taxi to the Media Centre was booked.
At 6.30 on Saturday morning I was collected from the hotel and driven to the BBC. From here, a runner called Phoebe provided me with tea and took me to a waiting room where Ian McMillan was riffling through the newspapers in preparation for the newspaper review. Then, just 20 minutes before I was due on, I was taken to make-up, during which time the producer came to chat me through what would happen briefly, and then in no time at all I was in the studio on the sofa! The first appearence at 0710 was ok, but it went so quickly that I didn’t quite get chance to talk about the work that BGS was involved with, but it was a good ‘practice’ with only a mere 1 million viewers expected! Their first question was “Why has this flooding occurred and how can we resolve it?”; this is a big question to answer in 40 seconds! Then they asked “Are our drainage systems incapable of coping with this much water?” I think after this they jumped to talking to Malcolm from the Insurance Industry who was on a live link from London.
In no time, I was back in the holding room (The Green Room) eating croissants and chatting to Ian again. I was surprisingly calm in the intervening two hours before the next appearance, I have no idea how I managed that. But the time flew by. Twenty minutes before I was due on, we went back to make-up and then to the studio.
This time I knew what to expect, they asked me the same question as previously and so I got to the point much faster about how we can resolve such flooding (by using sustainable drainage to deal with surface water where it falls as rain). They asked again about whether our drainage systems couldn’t cope and then they jumped to Malcolm. The presenter indicated to me that she’d jump back to me and when she did, she asked me a question which allowed me to talk about our work that focuses on putting surface water into the ground, and about the drainage map of the UK that we’ve developed (http://www.bgs.ac.uk/suds/research.html). This second appearance went pretty well I think, I managed to say everything that I wanted in the period of time allocated (this was good, because apparently about 7 million people were watching…!). They even talked about my car, which was caught in a hailstorm last week! I’m glad they showed the pictures of the car, because I’d had to race around on Friday washing it, and finding a way to photograph it so that you could clearly see the dents!
The whole experience was really interesting, but also really quite exhausting! I wasn’t shakey-nervous at any time (thankfully), but it was quite terrifying and almost surreal.
Thanks to my sister for taking photos of her TV!