So, a very strange thing happened to me today…
Many of you probably saw diabetes hit the news today, and the reports I saw telling the story this morning irked me in the usual way in that there was NO differentiation between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. I also saw some reports link diabetes to consumption of fats, when most of us have an inkling that this is in fact merely the scapegoat for carbohydrates. Yawn, the same old misconceptions! Frustrating.
So fast forward to mid-morning and I’m plodding along at work and I get a call from a Hull number. I left Hull a while ago now, but it was an old friend who has moved from the radio station I used to work on to the region’s BBC equivalent, BBC Radio Humberside. He wanted me to talk on the subject, LIVE, on the radio. Sorry what?
Now I’ve long been on my high horse about the misconceptions of our fair disease, and my aim one day in the very distant future, once I’ve earned my stripes in the TV world, is to present and produce a series of documentaries about being young and living with diabetes, channelling someone like Dawn Porter, who’s done a particularly heartfelt documentary on breast cancer among others, or Cherry Healey, who covers many women’s lifestyle issues. Women’s health is my absolute favourite topic to investigate, and I love that these two do it with balls, as well as a sense of fun. You gotta love the balls. There’s only been a handful of documentaries exploring diabetes and most of them have done little but confuse matters. I want to do it and do it right. But before then I know I need to do a loooottttt of journalistic research to give me any credibility to talk on the subject to the masses. Yet suddenly, without any warning, this is what I was being asked to do.
But weighing it up, what a great opportunity to quell some of the wayward information out there and once I’d learned that a rep from Diabetes UK was joining the party I felt the pressure lift a bit and thought I’d give it a go.
The presenter of this particular show is very well known in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire for stirring up a few fireworks and pressing a few buttons. He fronts the local 6pm flagship news programme as well as the radio show, and he certainly likes to push his interviewees. This subject isn’t massively contentious, but as a journalist I admit I quite fancied the idea of giving him a run for his money. Not the greatest motivation I admit, but tasty on a personal level all the same. Guilty.
Just as I was waiting to go on air it suddenly struck me that I was in a hugely responsible position here, as a voice of type 1s all over the place, speaking about diabetes to a lot of people. That may come across in a delusions of grandeur kind of comment (it’s only local radio after all – I can say that because I worked in it) but who am I to talk about something so serious and important on any level – to two people, 200 people or 2 million people? WHAT AM I DOING!?! I was half inclined to just hang up there and then, due to my natural tendency to put my foot in it. A mixture of fear and not wanting to let my mate down (who no doubt would feel the wrath of Peter Levy if I bailed) kept me glued me the phone.
It was all over in a flash, although I got thrown straight into the deep end – I’m pretty sure he wanted me to walk into the conversation by saying that all type 2’s are lazy and deserve what they get. Sneaky so-and-so, but hopefully I dodged that bullet quite well. There are a couple of things I wish I’d said better, but what can you do. I’ve listened again and apart from putting on a bit of a Hyancinth Bouquet-esque phone voice (well, until I come out with “pain in the bum”. Nice) I *think* it was ok. Feel free to tell me otherwise…