I’ve loved television for as long as I can remember though I don’t have time to watch as much as I’d like these days. That’s a conscious choice, given that I’m trying to squeeze a lot into life. I guess I’ll need to wait until a later date (probably retirement!) before I binge-watch the likes of Breaking Bad, The Wire, The Sopranos, The Haunting of Hill House, American Horror Story, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, Peaky Blinders, Killing Eve, Ray Donovan, Chernobyl, Narcos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fleabag, Game of Thrones (I still haven’t seen a single episode!) and many other great shows.
The vast majority of television I watch these days is what I would consider to be family viewing; the type of show the three of us make a concerted effort to take in together, such as Strictly Come Dancing, The Great British Bake Off, The Voice, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs, Old Peoples Home for 4 Year Olds, The Apprentice, and Gogglebox (yes – Gogglebox – we love it!).
However, my two absolute favourite shows these days are DIY SOS Big Build and Love Your Garden. If you’re unfamiliar with these shows, DIY SOS Big Build sees Nick Knowles and his trusty team issue a call to arms and recruit friends, family and local trades to help transform the homes of families in need across Britain, whilst Love Your Garden sees Alan Titchmarsh and his trusty team surprise deserving people across Britain with transformations to their outdoor living spaces, turning neglected grounds into stunning gardens whilst greatly enhancing lives. The main reason I love these two shows is that they restore my faith in humanity. The media these days have an agenda and bombard us with bad news stories. These two shows are life-affirming and constantly remind of the inherent good in the majority of everyday people. People who are selfless and willing to help others less fortunate than them. People united by a common desire to use their own unique skills and talents to enhance the lives of others. People who simply want to do some good in a world that is often painted to be bleak, dangerous and distrustful. I don’t mind admitting that I tear up at the end of almost every episode of DIY SOS and a good number of episodes of Love Your Garden – that’s how powerful I find these shows to be. If you haven’t seen them, give them a go. They won’t be to everyone’s taste but if you want to take in shows that may give you a warm glow inside and are fronted by hosts (Nick Knowles and Alan Titchmarsh) who clearly genuinely care about what they’re doing, then tune in.
One other thing I look for on TV these days is a motivational speech or two, often by people who amaze themselves by what they achieve or put themselves outside of their comfort zones and succeed. Two recent examples spring to mind: Nadiya Hussain’s speech upon winning the 2015 series of The Great British Bake Off and Jenny Ryan’s speech during week 3 of the Celebrity X-Factor 2019 live shows.
I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’. I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.
I’ve had a bit of a heart-to-heart with Nicole this week about I’ve got a bit of imposter syndrome and feeling like this, this isn’t for me and I’m not the kind of person who should be a pop singer. I just wanna say to everybody, every young person out there, every old person who’s out there, if someone keeps telling you that you should just be ordinary and you should just stick to what your parents and the people around you, the peers know, don’t do that. Just be extraordinary every single day, because it can be done.
Aren’t they wonderful? Nadiya’s few words resonate strongly with me. Here is a lady who was clearly very gifted but riddled with self-doubt and a lack of confidence. It took winning one of Britain’s biggest TV shows to make her realise that she could achieve her potential and her dreams and that she had to stride forward and seize every opportunity with both hands. I loved Jenny’s speech even more, not just because she is a fellow Boltonian and a lovely person off-screen (I’ve been fortunate enough to meet her), but because everything about it sounded so very familiar to me. Jenny has been open about suffering from anxiety and I’ve written in previous posts about imposter syndrome but here was someone in the public eye using the biggest of platforms to inspire many. Jenny didn’t feel that she should have been on that stage, despite having a phenomenal voice and clearly being hugely popular with the British public. Those feelings of self-doubt, of being an imposter, of suffering from anxiety, didn’t stop her though and she proved without doubt that she was as worthy of being on that stage as any other competitor. I revisit both speeches regularly, especially during times of self-doubt. I find them inspiring and they remind me that we all deserve to follow our dreams and that no-one should stop or belittle us if that’s how we feel. In an age of wall-to-wall bad news and internet trolls, we need more inspirational role-models like Nadiya and Jenny.
Please do let me know if there are any similar TV speeches you’re aware of and like – I love finding new ones.
Take care, keep believing in yourself, and chase your dreams.