BBC1 - Wednesday
DIY SOS battles through for Children In Need against the odds...
Mobilising an army of volunteers and specialist teams to put up a building from scratch for Children In Need in days is always a huge undertaking for DIY SOS.
But this year’s project – to create a new HQ for Leeds-based charity Getaway Girls – was even tougher, because it coincided with the death of Queen Elizabeth II and a period of profound national mourning.
‘We thought, “What are we going to do?”’ recalls presenter Nick Knowles of those days in early September. ‘The country was grinding to a halt. It was the passing of an epoch and a lot of people were very emotional in different ways. But having worked with Princes William and Harry on DIY SOS, I was absolutely convinced that getting it built was the right thing to do. So it was a matter of finding a way to be respectful. It was almost a tribute to the late Queen to get it done and have this facility for an amazing charity to continue its work.’
Volunteers from across the country joined forces with skilled tradespeople, all giving their time and materials free of charge, along with Radio 2 DJs, including Zoe Ball, Scott Mills, Trevor Nelson and Rylan, as the station partnered with the BBC construction show for the first time ever.
They finished the project in just 13 days, and it’s a build Nick won’t forget, after being presented with a surprise 60th birthday cake during the shoot.
‘I’ve never really paid attention to these milestones,’ explains the father-of-four. ‘I’m very lucky that I’ve done pretty well in life and been able to look after my family. But I’ll get to a certain point when I’m too knackered, at which time
I’ll be stuck in a corner somewhere – and this kid off a council estate in Southall will be quite happy he lived a life less ordinary.’