I fulfilled a life-long dream in 2009 when I qualified as a pilot. Since then, I’ve grabbed any opportunity either to fly or talk about flying! Naturally, I wanted to combine my broadcasting with aviation-themed factual work. The first film I made was called The Plane That Saved Britain, an hour-long documentary for Channel 4 that told the story of the De Havilland Mosquito. Filming this project, mostly at museums and other relevant locations, didn’t really feel like work at all! I was in my element.
The Mosquito film did very well, and this led to my first series, Flying to the Ends of the Earth, a three-part series for Channel 4 that focused on aviation as the common link between communities living at the ends of the Earth. This put international travel back on the agenda, and I got to fly with many different pilots in many different aeroplanes, exploring every continent on Earth. It was great!
This led to series two in 2016, and then in 2017, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work on a series of films about an area of aviation very close to my heart: General Aviation in the UK. Since discovering GA as a pastime I’ve fallen in love with the community that surrounds it. Flying Across Britainwas a celebration of that, and it was fundamentally important to me that our passion be portrayed in a good light. Having read many of your reviews and comments, I’m happy to conclude that it did!
Sport is where my broadcasting career began. Having been involved with the British Paralympic development team, I’ve built up an excellent knowledge of multiple sports. In the build-up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Channel 4 offered me the opportunity to host their coverage as part of the live presenting line-up. I’m proud to say that we won all the leading industry awards, including RTS, Broadcast and BAFTA.
But that was just the beginning for me. I’ve presented live every day of every Paralympic Games since, both winter and summer, and in Rio, we reached a UK audience of 28 million. Since the games were first broadcast from London, I’ve helped to change the country’s perception of how we view and treat difference. It’s been important to me to have the ability not only to entertain, but to challenge the norms and change people’s opinions.
Coming from a family that’s been associated with the British military for many generations, and having served myself, I naturally have a huge interest in military history. The five years I spent in the Royal Marines gave me the soldier’s perspective required to understand historic military situations and offer insight into military doctrine.
I’d like to do more broadcasting work on this subject, having so far presented a one-hour documentary on injured First World War veterans returning from the front. WW1’s Forgotten Heroeswas a very personal and moving film, drawing on many comparisons between veterans’ experiences of newly acquired, life-changing injuries and my own. I’ve also contributed to large format military history pieces, including the anniversary of D-Day in 2013, and the Richard III reburial in 2015.
Being seen as a recognisable individual within certain industries gives corporate clients the authority and reach they need to promote products, campaigns or values. I’ve helped many companies achieve their goals through either event hosting, as an ambassador, or by broadcasting corporate films. The most notable client I have the privilege to work with is Embraer. The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, recently bought by Boeing, revealed their brand new jet airliner in 2013, with its maiden flight taking place in 2016. Since its launch, I have been helping to promote this fantastic aeroplane by creating either live broadcast content or promotional ‘travelog’-style films. It’s been a lot of fun and once again has seen me travel around the globe. The project continues this year with travels to Kazakhstan and other locations.