One little trip to Paris, when I was 10, and I was hooked! On foreign languages and travel! Nearly 20 years later, they were the passions responsible for my setting up Footstep Productions! But I’m getting ahead of myself…
In the years between, I landed my first proper job in local radio and started on the road to learning how to do what I do now! I worked my way up through BBC/Open University (as part of the production team), and BBC Schools Radio, before my first opportunity to direct part of BBC TV’s Spanish series for adults - SueÃ±os. That really threw me in at the deep end - filming in areas with no electricity and sharing a bathroom with a frog nicknamed Kermit (and other wildlife!) – and I just loved it all!
So it’s probably no surprise that Footstep’s first TV commission was a language series filmed in the refugee camps of the Western Sahara, the rubbish dumps of Guatemala City, an inner city school in Tower Hamlets and a small village in southern Spain! For me, it had already become a way of life, rather than a career, and I’m still in touch with children that I filmed with then, now all grown up and leading new lives.
But these days, it’s about other things as well as languages. I learn something new every day and love the whole process of finding innovative ways to help people learn, whatever their age, wherever in the world they live and whatever the subject. We recently devised a maths series for teenagers, filmed in a garage, using props such as garden gnomes, a painted snake, rolls of lino – it was great fun to do and even greater fun for the audience! As for me – thanks to Maths Garage, I can now work out how good a bargain I’m getting when I go shopping!
And 28 years later ...still early days for me and Footstep!!!