When Greig Trout, the author of 101 Things to do when you Survive, messaged me to let me know he’d nominated me to take part in a BBC documentary, we had no idea that the filming would take place today, my cancerversary.
I’ll be honest and say that I have been more than a little nervous about doing it at all and the idea of ‘putting myself out there’ for all to see on the tellybox has induced more than a few sleepless nights. Greig had been asked to do the show and would, no doubt, have been brilliant. But the lure of more travelling, proving there is life after not one but two cancer diagnosis, inspiring others and raising awareness was too great for him and he jumped on a plane to Broome in Australia instead!
I can’t explain too much about today’s filming as the BBC want, of course, to have an impact with the show when it’s aired in January. My day started at 7.15AM when a taxi arrived to take me to the first filming location in the City of London. Stupidly I wondered how I would recognise the team I was meeting… until I walked in to a coffee shop to see cameras and lights set up and waiting for my arrival! (blonde moment). Nervously I was interviewed on camera. All the time worried about how I would look, whether I would do a good enough job and trying not to be emotional.
The next part of our day was crucial. I was to conduct an ‘interview’ on camera. I needed to be polite but to needle. I needed to enquire but to listen. I needed to ensure my questions would inform and that the answers received were useful. I needed to be Robert Peston but hope that little old me was an OK substitute.
The final part of the day was about me and filmed at home. ‘About me’ is never something I’ve been particularly comfortable with. I’m usually taking the photos or choose to hide at the back of group pictures. Unsurprising then that when asked by the BBC to find some holiday snaps of me, I had diffuculty locating ones with me in them! Ironic to think I am spending the day being filmed! I was interviewed on camera about my diagnosis and experience with having cancer. Having been in control of my emotions all day, I wonder if I might seem emotionless on camera. We also filmed me doing normal things at home, meeting a friend, juicing, writing this blog, looking at holiday photos etc. All to set the scene about me in the documentary story and why the topic is so important to be aired.
A very long day (11 hrs) and I was exhausted and emotional by the time the crew had left. Ironic in so many ways. Not least that the filming was taking place 5 years on from when I heard that dreadful phrase “You have cancer”. A milestone I marked with telling my story to camera. Hopefully the film will achieve changes in an industry that takes advantage of those who are living with a long term condition. Hopefully it will raise awareness of the issue and signpost those affected to the right place at an affordable price. Hopefully it will also raise awareness to Phyllodes by the mention in the piece. Hopefully this mention will mean that others diagnosed with this rare cancer will not feel alone and find others in the Phyllodes Support Group. Hopefully I did the piece justice…
Let me know : Rip Off Britain being aired in January.
PS Apologies about the ill-fitting jeans… my excuse – I’ve lost weight and got dressed in the early morning darkness!