An ex-Royal Marine, a carpenter and a former Paralympic swimmer are among six new disabled presenters uncovered by Channel 4 in its nationwide Half Million Quid Talent Search.
The talent search, which launched in September last year, was designed to identify the best new disabled sports reporters and commentators to front the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which Channel 4 will be broadcasting for the first time next year. Six new presenters will have their first chance to get in front of the Channel 4 cameras at the BT Paralympic World Cup later this month.
The chosen six are Arthur Vaughan Williams, an ex-Royal Marine and wheelchair racer from Worcestershire, Alex Brooker, a sports journalist from Leeds, Daraine Mulvihill, a researcher for broadcaster RTE from Dublin, Rachael Latham, a former Paralympic swimmer from Wigan, and two wheelchair basketball players – Martin Dougan, a carpenter from Glasgow and Liam Holt, a trainee researcher on ‘That Paralympic Show’ from Cardiff.
As part of Channel 4′s pledge to bring disability sport to a mainstream audience and add editorial insight and authenticity to the coverage, the broadcaster has committed £500,000 to training disabled presenting talent in order to reach its target of 50% disabled onscreen talent during the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
“An important part of our Paralympic coverage is our determination to give our on-screen teams real credibility and insight by including presenters and reporters with personal experience of disability and disability sport and sports journalism. The Paralympics are a perfect platform for our passion to develop disabled talent both behind and in front of the camera,” explains Alison Walsh, disability director at Channel 4.
Hopefuls from around the country were able to apply to the talent search by answering the question: “If you had three minutes of Channel 4 air time, what would you fill it with?”
Entries were submitted as YouTube videos. From the hundreds of online entries, Channel 4 shortlisted 12 entrants to take part in a five-day boot camp, run by ThinkBIGGER at the National Film & Television School, which tested candidates’ potential as presenters and reporters.
After the first boot camp, the six new presenters were selected to be fully trained as presenting / reporting talent for Channel 4.
All six are currently undergoing intense training including a series of work placements with broadcasters and sports production companies including BBC, ITV, Sky, Five, IMG, Sunset+Vine, North One, ESPN and Perform.
You can see the final six in their on-screen debut during the BT Paralympic World Cup on Channel 4 from 26 – 28 May. You will also be able to watch them online at: www.channel4.com/paralympics
An additional five presenters selected through a second boot camp are scheduled for further specialist development starting in June.
© Courtesy of Channel 4 Television