Those of you who follow me on twitter will know that I have been on the BBC recently!
How it all started
I was contacted yesterday, Tuesday, (my birthday actually) by a lady from BBC South East and asked about a situation where a lady has come back from working abroad to find that she can’t live in her house, as her tenant refuses to move out (reported online here). I chatted the researcher through the law and thought that was that.
An hour or so later I was contacted again, and asked if I could record a clip for them to use on the show. They arranged for me to do it locally (as I live in Norwich not Tunbridge Wells). So I went in to the BBC centre at the Forum in Norwich to do this.
It was a bit weird. The camera was in a very busy office with lots of people all working around me. I was perched on a high office chair with a bank of equipment in front of me, and the camera on top.
To my left was a plate glass window looking down on the Forum entrance area (which is pretty big) and the mezzanine cafe above. I had to stick a microphone up my blouse, a small earpiece in my ear, and then, ignoring all the activity around me, stare into the camera and talk about residential landlord and tenant law.
What I told them was that when you rent a property to a tenant, in effect you are selling the property to them for a slice of time, and if the tenant fails to move out, you can only get it back if you follow ‘due process’ and get a court order for possession.
This morning I was rung up again. This time by BBC South. They quite liked the clip, and wanted a live interview for their 6.30 pm regional news program. So in I went again. The same camera and busy office, but a different camera man (a very nice camera man, in fact everyone was very nice and friendly, both times).
This time I told them that if you have a situation where the tenant’s financial situation changes for the worse, they will often want to be re-housed by the local authority. In which case they will be told not to move out, or they will lose their right to be re-housed. The landlord will have to evict them through the courts if he wants his property back. Which could take a long time – probably three to six months, or even longer if things do not go well.
So that was that. Thank you and good bye.
So what did I make of it all?
It was quite fun doing it, very much a new experience. But, I found, television is a bit like court work. A lot (a LOT) of hanging around, and then a period of intense concentration where you have to speak about something complex and make sense of it.
Telly work v. court advocacy
On the one hand court work is very stressful as you are largely responsible for the success or failure of your clients case. However you get a lot more time to do it, and can pause and look at your notes from time to time.
With telly, on the other hand, you only get a very short period of time to say whatever-it-is, and if you screw up, you’ll look like a prat in front of millions of people. Put like that, I suppose the only question is why anyone is prepared to do either!
Of the two, I think court work is by far the more stressful. Better to look like an idiot in front of millions than be the cause of someone losing their legal case, which could be a disaster for them personally. When you make a mistake as a lawyer it is THE worst thing ever, and you beat yourself up about it for months, years, after. Looking an idiot hurts no-one, and you can laugh about it later.
Did you watch the program? What did you think? Which would you prefer to do –advocacy or telly work?