On 19 Jan 2017, I once again went out with the BBC Humberside bus, this time to Orchard Park, a huge social housing estate in North Hull. Once benighted by tower blocks, it underwent a £15m redevelopment a few years ago – the towers are gone, replaced by houses, and there’s a lovely community / medical centre.
People were happy to talk to us, but not to the microphone by and large! However, we met some lovely folk, including a lady who had lived on the estate for sixty years.
I signed up to be a City of Culture volunteer on the BBC Radio Humberside bus, which is broadcasting Phil White’s show live from Monday to Friday, every week of Hull’s City of Culture year. BBC Humberside covers a large area – East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire down to the Wash, up to Bridlington, and across over to Selby – and they decided to take this bus out to their audience during the course of this year. I underwent some training at their offices, which included a tour of the studios, both television and radio, and a meet and greet with the legend that is Peter Levy (who has been presenting Look North since before television was actually invented, as far as I can tell). I was very lucky to get onto this bit of the City of Culture programme, as there were only sixty training vacancies.
So, on Tuesday 10th January, I cycled down to the BBC for a 9.30 start, and we set off for Scunthorpe (Scunthorpe?!) at about 10:15. The bus had already left, and it can’t carry passengers anyway, so we trundled off in a BBC car driven by Kate, the producer, and with Phil White in the passenger seat, and myself and another volunteer, Kate, in the back. Conversation ensued, sometimes between all four, and sometimes just me and Kate. Phil never stopped paying attention however, as a couple of times he held a microphone to my face and interviewed me on air, having picked up a lot about me from the car 🙂
Our job really was to talk to people, and find some who were interesting enough to be interviewed, and basically to wave the flag for both the BBC and City of Culture. Which is great – I love talking to people. What I did discover is how much love people have for their local radio station; the presenters get loads of text and e-mails, and their audience really do feel that they are personal friends. I introduced a man to Phil who raises money for a hospice in Scunthorpe – they had a lovely chat on air, and afterwards the chap could have hugged me, he was so excited to have spoken to him, and thanked me profusely.
So that was my first trip to Scunthorpe, and it was huge fun; next week I’m off to Orchard Park in Hull on the bus, and will report back later