TWO budding journalists put Chris Evans in the hot seat when they interviewed him for a major schools report challenge.
Grace Gregory and Chris Pharaoh, from Admiral Lord Nelson School in Portsmouth travelled to the Radio 2 offices in Oxford Circus in London to file the main item for today’s live broadcast for BBC News School Report Day.
The inquisitive members of the Copnor school’s 23-strong news team – who will all gather, film, edit and produce stories to a 2.15pm deadline today – quizzed the presenter on a range of personal and professional issues.
And while they were at the BBC studios, they bumped into Take That star Gary Barlow, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Zoe Ball – who wished them luck – and the Queen’s chaplain the Rev Ann Easter in the waiting room.
Grace, 14, said: ‘It was an incredible experience – I’ll never forget it.
‘There were so many famous people around us, we were quite overwhelmed – but everyone put us at our ease as they were so friendly and helpful.
‘We asked Chris about his childhood – he told us his favourite book was Black Beauty and that he wanted to be a fireman.
‘He was open with us and admitted he didn’t read much as a kid, but he made up for that later in life when he realised just how much he was missing.
‘His top author is Charles Dickens which is nice as it gives him a Portsmouth connection too.
‘I’d never have guessed those things about him, but that’s what’s so great about journalism.
‘You get to ask questions you can’t find on the internet, and you find out so much more.’
Chris, 14, who has been listening to Radio 2 every day since the interview, added: ‘I had a good time.
‘Chris Evans is a genuinely nice man and he’s so funny.
‘I was glad we did our research, as I felt the interview went well and we found out a lot of new things about him.
‘Grace was pretty star-struck, especially when she saw Gary Barlow – I admit I’m a fan of Take That so I was pleased to meet him too.
‘I’m looking forward to preparing for the live broadcast.
‘And I’m quietly confident we’ll have one of the best reports – Chris Evans gave us a great story.’
Grace and Chris’s interview adds to several more lined up today.
The team are scheduled to chat to Same Difference about their holiday clubs, GB Paralympic rugby player Aaron Phipps on the London 2012 Games and Admiral Lord Nelson teacher and former GB swimmer Grant Robins who will be dishing out medals to the Olympic champions this year.
English teacher Sam Marland, who is overseeing the project, said: ‘This is a great opportunity for our students.
‘It enables them to create something for a real audience within a very strict time limit.
‘They’ll get a taste of what it is to be a journalist.’