Careers

I Have The Most Amazing Job! (Part:2)

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 Andy Akinwolere,  presenter on Blue Peter

My early ambitions were to be a footballer, I started playing when I was like 15. I got offered a half-scholarship to go to America to play, but my mum told me to turn it down. So I went to uni and I studied Film and Media, I just wanted to get into film, I wanted to make documentaries. I was working in local news up north in Leeds when I took the day of work to go to a conference to encourage more ethnic diversity in the BBC and Channel 4.

I got a job working for six weeks on a programme called Level Up as a runner and behind the scenes, which was great. That six weeks as a runner turned into two months. I was at the BBC bar having a few drinks when my stint was up with some friends, and I started chatting to this woman, I didn’t know who she was but it turned out she was a producer on Blue Peter and she was like, “do you want to audition for the show?”

I actually turned the opportunity down at the beginning because I never watched it as a kid. Eventually I went back to her, they gave me an official screen test and the rest is history – five years later and I’m doing Blue Peter as the current longest serving presenter and the first black male presenter they’ve ever had so, it kinda ticks a few boxes. I don’t really have a day-to-day – I was in Jamaica yesterday, today I was at Westminister Abbey doing something on the Royal Wedding. Tomorrow I’m doing something else on the Royal Wedding and I’m swimming at 6:45 for a challenge that I’m gonna be doing in June. One of the first things I did on Blue Peter was I went back to Nigeria on a sort of Who Do You Think You Are? journey. It was phenomenal because it brought back a lot of old memories, and I learnt a lot about my culture. I got nominated for a BAFTA in my first year of Blue Peter for doing that film so things like that are amazing. It’s great because that’s what we’re here for, to inspire the youth of today. It’s just been a phenomenal journey so far – awesome.

How to be a… a presenter
Andy says, “Try your best to get work experience, watch presenters and understand how they work and also do what works for you. Get a camera and video yourself and then go forward with it. You’ve got to make sure you know who’s making programmes and put yourself out there. It’s like acting, it’s like anything in the entertainment industry, it’s not easy but it is achievable if you’re focused and you really want it.”

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