Well I suppose I should start off by saying Happy New Year, Happy Valentine’s Day!! And how’s Lent going, if you’ve decided to give something up for the next 40 days or so…? It’s been a while since I last blogged and I really can’t believe it’s mid-February already. So, talking of Lent, I’ve given up bread, sweets, booze, biscuits… well, safe to say anything tasty or bad for me has had to go. How long will I last? Ask me at Easter…
Since we last spoke, I had a ball on BBC Radio 2 over Christmas and New Year, plus also a week at the end of January sitting in for Vanessa Feltz on Early Breakfast. After 20 years working in the music business (have I mentioned that before…? OK, don’t yawn), playing and hearing great music again does take me back… I won’t dwell too much on my past life but safe to say it was some of the best years of my life and being at R2 takes me back somewhat. Plus it also introduces me to some exciting new music and artists too. On a sad note, we lost one of the greatest artists of all time. A man who they said was ‘often copied but never equalled’: David Bowie. I worked with him in the 90s. What an honour. Any words here would not do justice to what he achieved and gave us over the decades. A true legend and my ‘idol’.
January saw me return to BBC Belfast to finishing the voice overs for the new series of Wanted Down Under. This year the series is going out at a slightly later time on BBC1 in the mornings. These amazing families and couples are proving as popular as ever… It’s addictive viewing. Where can I buy those flags? (in joke). Talking of popular, those BBC2 bods have decided to give you a second helping every day at 7 am… Early I know, but now two portions of yours truly every morning can’t be bad? Perhaps don’t answer that.
I’ve been featured in quite a few press articles and interviews recently, that have run throughout December, January and Feb. My favourite piece was the ‘at home’ spread in OK! Magazine talking about work, married life, filming commitments, as well as a sneaky peek around Chez Shack/Chapman, private plane rides with the Spice Girls and what makes me tick. Thanks to the OK! team. We donated our fee to The Truants, who have raised nearly £2,000,000 for three amazing charities to date, including Nordoff Robbins (music transforming lives), Teenage Cancer Trust and Childline – charities that are all close to both our hearts. On the morning of the shoot, I’d just arrived back from Australia and woke up at 1am – so cleaned the house from top to bottom (thank you jet lag)! Cleaning aside we had a very special day. Shacky doesn’t normally ‘do’ photo shoots or interviews, but it was a very enjoyable experience and I now have photos that I will cherish forever. Thanks also to the Sunday Telegraph (Fame & Fortune interview), Bella Magazine, The Daily Express, Woman’s Weekly and Daily Mirror.
I met the NAFAS team in London for a catch up and to talk about the future of this wonderful charity. Floral design with excellence sums it up. My floral efforts are always discussed during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show week, often in less than complimentary tones, but the group are determined to improve my designs. I love their enthusiasm and positivity and am honoured to be their patron. They have branches throughout the UK, so if you’re tempted go online and visit one near you. Everyone at any level welcome, even me!
The entertainment team at P&O Ferries kindly invited me back to give some talks on Arcadia, one of their finest ships, during it’s worldwide cruise which started in January. Yes January, the most depressing month of the year. Sadly I was only on one section of this fabulous cruise but hey, a wonderful way to gently ease me into the year. I spoke about my career, past and present. Thanks to all the super passengers who not only turned up in their hundreds to hear me talk (gulp), but also for the brilliant feedback and love for my shows. You always hope people like what you do when you’re a presenter, but it’s not until you get talking to the people that matter that you know for sure.
Although I mentioned a minute ago my stint in the music biz, I’ve never experienced a ‘Night At The Movies’ before, courtesy of the Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra. A few weeks ago I hosted this wonderful family event to a a full house in the city. Surrounded by an 80 piece orchestra, it was quite remarkable, and at one point I don’t mind admitting I got quite teary listening to some of these tremendous movie sound tracks that we know and love. It’s extraordinary how music can effect your emotions and mood, and great to see so many young people in the audience. I’m talking little ones squealing with delight when they heard the Star Wars theme! Obviously I couldn’t pass on the odd photo or two with few legend characters…
The good news is I’m ‘back in the saddle’ (no comments please) after 5 months waiting for my ankle to heal. Still taking it easy but the gym, rehab exercises and two brilliant physios have made a difference and I’m getting there! With a busy filming schedule starting in March, I’ve got to do all I can to get back to fitness. I’m a little rounder than I would like to be but hey, at least I’ve got a good excuse!
So finally, the BAFTA’s are on as I type, and we’ve just found out Best Documentary goes to ‘Amy’…Congratulations to all those involved for this extraordinary film on her life. Amy was just 16 years old when my partner Nick Godwin and I signed her to our management company, Brilliant!. Many things have been written about this woman but my lasting memory of Amy will always be this remarkably creative talent walking through our door looking, no searching, for a record deal. She made such an impression then, as she still does today.