Ever since I was a little girl, I adored science fiction shows and series based on comic book heroes such as “Smallville”, loving nothing more than to sit down and watch anything with aliens or life from another planet. Naturally this meant that I was quickly addicted to Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Growing to love the main characters; David Tennant and John Barrowman, I started to watch anything they featured in and grew to have a bit of an obsession with them.
I, as every other person, have dreamed of meeting my heroes knowing in my mind that I will never be able to, except in conventions. Driving towards the BBC studios, I felt a pang of excitement; this was where my future lied. The atmosphere as I entered the building was electric, the staff running around, rushing to there next job. It helped give me an extra adrenaline boost and I could hardly sit still as I waited to delve deeper.
The tour guide was eccentric (whom I later realised was part of the crew) but enthralled us with tales of the BBC studios and the courtyard fountain which had to be turned off as it caused a drop in productivity due to staff constantly needing the toilet.
Walking past the gift shop on our way around, I saw a darlek, which our guide quickly demonstrated, could talk. Running up to the Darlek, I quickly made my classmates take a picture.
Walking through the ever winding halls of the BBC Studios, I was excited as I walked past the changing rooms of the “stars”. I asked if any Sci fi actors had stayed in them, however I was slightly disappointed when I was told that due to both Doctor Who and Torchwood being filmed in Cardiff, I wouldn’t be seeing them.
As we were guided back through the BBC courtyard, I noticed the tardis sitting in the corner. I was giddy as I drew closer to it, but when the tour guide said that we could go and stand next to it, I could hardly stand still. This was the closest I would get to meeting the cast of Doctor Who and Torchwood- or so I thought.
Looking behind me at an image of Matt Smith going through the time vortex, I only half heard the tour guide saying that “strange things came out of the tardis”. Turning round, everything seemed to slow down; John Barrowman had stepped out of the tardis and was standing in front of me, calling my name!
I was frozen to the spot, John had to physically come and grab me to guide me towards him. I couldn’t speak, I mean this was my hero, the man I had only dreamt of meeting and he wanted to talk to me. Forcing myself to focus, I heard that he was here to make my dreams come true (and trust me, just him being there would have been enough) and I would be appearing on “Tonight’s the Night”. I was being given a masterclass in weather reporting by Tom Shafenekker; the weather man of the year.[L1] Explaining that the reason I was receiving this prize was that, despite the obstacles thrown at me, I had not given up on my dreams of being a broadcaster.
Behind the scenes, John was such a fantastic man, holding my hand all the way as I was shaking and had gone white. Forcing myself to talk to him, I was amazed at how down to earth he was; asking me questions about my lip reading, how I had managed to damage my hand (I had a very fashionable bandage on) and laughing when I explained that I had put my hand through my lamp shade whilst playing the Wii game Dancing on Broadway.
As we walked through the doors into the weather studio, you could hear the mumbling of the staff before you saw them. Guiding me to a television screen, John explained that Thomas was currently in the middle of the weather and I would meet him afterwards. Whilst watching I heard Tom say my name, as if this wasn’t amazing enough, I was then told that I would be doing a weather report LIVE on BBC 24 after just a few hours training.
I couldn’t breathe, my tongue was stuck in my mouth and I think my heart had momentarily stopped working. I briefly remember the feel of Johns hand on mine and the slight pressure as he guided me through to the weather studio where I came face to face with Tom.
Tom eased me into the masterclass by letting me get comfortable with the graphics on the screen. Looking at the report I would be given, I did not know any of there meanings, all I knew was that it was the United Kingdom. I thought of running away a few times in the first half an hour, but the knowledge that I would never have this chance again stopped me.
As the minutes passed, I began to grow more comfortable with the images on the screen, even thinking of a slogan to finish the show with. I admit that, I felt, my deafness affected some of my pronunciations but Thomas helped me stay calm, giving me time to practice what I was going to say.
As 4.27 edged closer, I began to forget my words and not know what to say. After some last minute advice from Thomas to breathe, I started to feel confident enough that I might actually be able to do the broadcast. However, whilst doing the last run through, I forgot all my words and how to breathe.
Slightly panicking, I realised that the screens around me had changed and were now showing BBC 24 and that I was standing on the screen behind them. No matter what happened, at this point I had to go through with it, as to not let everyone down.
As soon as I was live, the time flew by and, to be honest I have no idea what I said. The adrenaline was pumping so fast that I did not realise that I had finished filming. As everyone clapped I felt a sense of achievement and self affirmation, I knew that then I may actually be able to make it as a broadcaster.
Leaving the studio, the BBC guided me down to a dressing room, where I had been told my class mates were waiting for me. Before entering the room, Thomas explained that there was one more surprise waiting for me. Entering the room, I scanned the room and saw my brother and mum staring at me. I rushed over for a hug and struggled to hold back the tears.
This was by far the best day in my life, so many things happened to me both physically and mentally.
Physically, I met two fantastic celebrities in their fields. John Barrowman; quite easily the best all round entertainer there is and Thomas Shaffenekker; both the youngest weatherman and the weatherman of the year. These two inspirations have given me the confidence to keep moving forward with my dreams and to not give up on them, no matter what the cost.
Mentally, I went through so many different emotions that I was exhausted when I got home. By helping me rise through the challenge and present the weather, John and Thomas gave me so much more confidence in myself whilst letting me see the less glamorous side to being on the screen.
Also by knowing I was nominated because of working so hard and not letting obstacles stop me, I felt a sense of pride. The people who know me best acknowledged that, whilst it’s not impossible for me to do what everyone else does, I do have to focus that little bit harder. This will make all the difference in years to come.