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Behind the scenes with ITV Tonight

Diabetes UK has been helping ITV Tonight to produce a programme about Type 2 diabetes.

will air tonight at 7.30pm on ITV1 and is exploring the reasons behind the recent increase in Type 2 diabetes cases, as well as getting out on the road to risk assess people for Type 2 diabetes.

ITV Tonight first got in contact with us in January. After a few weeks of discussions and brain storming, they decided to risk assess people using theDiabetes UK risk scorein a few different areas around the country.

We helped them organise two days of filming: at Bury Market and the Jaguar factory in Liverpool on the first day and then at the Arriva bus garages in London the second day. Tricia Smikle, Senior Development Manager for Diabetes UK, was involved with liaising with ITV and planning the risk assessment locations and logistics for both days of filming. She helped organise everything from setting up the marquee all the way down to the volunteers’ coffees.

“TV is not half as glamorous as you think,” Tricia said. “It was all hands on deck on both days, so I ended up risk assessing and leafleting.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result. We spent over 15 hours filming across the two days, so it will be interesting to see how they edit our bit down to just a few minutes. There’s a lot of information to get across in a short space of time!”

“A lot of people have been telling me that they’ve heard there is a programme about diabetes on Thursday and I just keep thinking, ‘Yes, I know, I’m in it!’ I think the ITV Tonight programme is a fantastic way to raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes and hopefully encourage more people to check their risk online.”

Jo Cunnah, Volunteer Development Officer for Diabetes UK is based in the North West regional office and helped recruit the volunteers for the day. 

“I think it’s great that ITV Tonight decided to film in the North West, as Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem in this part of the UK,” Jo said. “I helped to find the volunteers for the day, and made sure they were happy with what they were doing. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final piece, hopefully it will raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes and make some people check their risk.”

Day One

Day one saw three volunteers, Tricia and two members of the Diabetes UK media team arrive at a cold Bury station at 8am, where they met the fantastic Diabetes UK volunteers who made the whole day possible.

Alan has Type 1 diabetes, and on the day did risk assessments at the Jaguar factory and helped find people to have the risk assessment at Bury market.  

“I’ve really been looking forward to the filming – it’s ITV, after all,” said Alan. “At first I thought I was going to meet ‘the man’, Trevor Macdonald, but then realised he’s retired.

“It was a really good day, although the setup has been a bit different to what I’m used to on a roadshow, as it was quite difficult to get people to come over at points. But we risk assessed plenty of people, and I enjoyed chatting with the camera men and producers.

“It’s really interesting seeing behind the scenes. You get two very different perspectives. On one hand you’re still trying to get information across to people, and give them advice about the risk assessment they’ve just taken. But you really have to consider camera angles, speaking really clearly and slowly all while worrying about getting your best side on camera! I want to raise as much awareness as possible of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and think it’s brilliant that ITV have done this programme about diabetes. I’m also looking forward to seeing if I can spot myself on telly – I’ll be telling everyone about it on Facebook.”

Robert usually volunteers on the roadshows, and is a trained Diabetes UK risk assessor. Robert carried out the risk assessments at Bury Market, and also chatted through the results with people.

 “It was an excellent morning,” he said. “The risk assessments went really well, although I was very conscious about doing them on camera and did feel a little apprehensive at first. I’m very much looking forward to being on TV, but I don’t think I’ll be in more than a few clips in the background.

“The cameras were filming for what felt like. I think they’ll cut it down to just a few seconds, but it’ll be interesting to see what they do with it. Anything we can do to raise awareness of diabetes is fantastic. And being part of a prime time national TV show is just amazing!”

As well as the risk assessments, an important part of the day was talking to the public and giving out information about Type 2 diabetes. Deborah, whose son has Type 1 diabetes, flyered throughout the morning at Bury market and chatted to a lot of people about their diabetes care.

“A lot of people I spoke to in the area already had diabetes, so I was giving out a lot of information and leaflets rather than doing risk assessments. It’s been a great experience as a volunteer, and I’d love to do something like this again. Although, I was freezing all day – that reminds me, I must say thank you to the camera man who lent me his coat!”

Day Two

Day two saw Diabetes UK pitch up at the Arriva Bus Garages in South London at 7.30am. Douglas Twenefour, Diabetes UK Clinical advisor, gave ITV Tonight presenter Jonathon Maitland a risk assessment for Type 2 diabetes.

“I’m used to speaking to journalists about diabetes, but I had never had to risk assess one while being filmed for national TV. I was careful to explain the risk factors fully and also go through Jonathon’s risk assessment in as much detail as I could.

“I was conscious that the clip would be cut down, so whilst I spent 15 minutes doing the risk assessment, it was likely less than four minutes of it would make it to air. I hope the programme makes the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and I hope that it encourages everyone to go online and take a risk assessment so that they can become aware of their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”

Tune in to at 7.30pm on ITV1. 

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