Asexual Fairy Tales

Friday, 15 March 2019

A Day with the BBC



"I write asexual fairytales" - BBC


How often does an opportunity like this come up? "The BBC are running a special week on Bradford, across all media. Send us your stories." My home town. On the BBC. And it coincides perfectly with my crowdfunding campaign for Asexual Fairy Tales. I can't send the email fast enough!

Which is how it happens that - on an unusually springlike morning - a shiny, black vehicle containing camera equipment turns up on my street of small, back-to-back houses, with an operator and a reporter, ready to start filming. I have warned Louise from BBC News how small my house is, and have been assured the camera will be a small one. Obviously, she meant small by BBC standards. Still, the cameraman is unfazed by the fact that one camera and stand fills up practically all the available floor space. We squash in, just as we always do with friends and relatives. And, as it's a nice day, we film some stuff on the front step, and in the surrounding streets and fields.

We film a lot of stuff. Me reading. Anna drawing. Me talking. The garden. The walls. The cat. So much of the cat that I fully expect half the film to be about her, and am a little disappointed she doesn't make the final cut at all. (Unlike my pitching video for Asexual Fairy Tales, where she is walking on a neighbour's wall in the background). Still, the BBC must have enough footage to make a separate film entirely about Sootica ("I am a Bradford Cat" or something) which she would probably prefer.

And it's not boring. Usually, I hate having my photo taken or being filmed. Standing still, holding a fake smile or an unnatural pose. Trying to make walking look natural and ending up looking like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. But with a professional film-maker, it's fun. You feel part of the artistry. Choosing different shots. Using different angles and effects. Wondering how it will all be edited to produce the film itself.

And the final effect? Beautiful. OK, so my hair looks a mess in the wind. But this is Bradford! We're only a short distance from where Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights. You've got to expect a bit of bleakness, a bit of Yorkshire stone, a person walking their dog who comes up and asks what is going on, a Yorkshire Water and a highway maintenance van that park side-by-side on the already overcrowded street just as you're about to begin filming. OK, so those last two aren't in the film. But it's all part of the fun.

Would I go on the BBC again? Yes, I think I would, given the chance. I rather like the idea of myself presenting a documentary for BBC4, striding along the Bronte way, talking about giving birth to 17 rabbits.

But I'd get my hair lacquered first.