#40at40: Be on the telly.

I’ve been on the telly a few times due to work. Interceptors, Reported Missing, just a couple of real tv shows where I’ve popped up; usually against my will. Fairly certain I’ve been on the news once or twice too; again as a result of the job that I do.

But those ‘appearances’ were nothing compared to what happened in November 2017. But to understand the story we have to go back further. On 22nd May 2017 a homemade bomb was detonated at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester by an Islamist terrorist. Twenty three people were killed and 500 injured. Innocents, children, people enjoying a music concert. Slaughtered in the name of a vile ideology.

In June 2017 a benefit concert was held and I was asked to go and assist at the venue along with my colleagues. One of the enduring images from the concert was that of the Dancing Policeman. An ordinary British bobby who captured the hearts of millions by dancing with a group of kids; survivors of the original concert attack. That man is someone I’ve worked closely with for the last four years. He’s never sought the limelight and always just wanted to do the best he could.

In October 2017 he was approached by ITV and asked if he – and some willing colleagues – would be willing to take part in a TV Christmas special called A Night For The Emergency Services. Would he, and ten of his colleagues be willing to travel to London in order to perform live on stage with dance troupe Diversity?

Of course! So the deal was done. In November we travelled to London and spent two days practicing a routine at ITV Studios. It was hard work. None of us dancers and few of us any natural rhythm. On the Sunday night; exhausted and in front of a live audience and TV cameras we performed the routine for a final time. The entire experience a blur. This was not what we were used to.

A Night For The Emergency Services aired last night at 9pm on ITV1. The feedback has been mostly positive. “Well done for doing it, but you can’t dance for toffee.”

As true as that may be, this is an experience which will stick with all of us who took part for a long time. And it ticked a box for me; I was on the telly.


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