Jake Humphrey recalls ‘desperate’ pleas to BBC after being turned down

CBBC was 'catty and aggressive' says Jake Humphrey

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Jake Humphrey, 43, is best known for being the main presenter of BT Sport’s football coverage, having previously worked with the BBC and Formula One. Speaking to Express.co.uk Jake revealed that it wasn’t an easy move from children’s TV to Formula One and had to make “desperate” pleas to the BBC.

I was desperate to be a sports presenter.

Jake Humphrey

Jake hosts one of the most popular podcasts at the moment, High Performance, becoming a Sunday Times bestselling author this year for his book, High Performance: Lessons from the Best on Becoming Your Best.

The BT Sports presenter mentions in his book how he got his big break with the BBC.

He said: “It was an interesting one because I was desperate to be a sports presenter, absolutely desperate, and I write about this in the book actually.

“I went for a meeting with the BBC to say that I really wanted to be a sports presenter and I was told at that time that they don’t employ people like me because I wasn’t a trained journalist and I hadn’t competed at a high level as a sportsperson.

“I was desperately trying to say you need to think outside the box here, I am a broadcaster and I love TV and I love sport.

“So, I was basically told it wasn’t going to happen.”

Jake would not take no for an answer, however, and made sure the BBC knew he “do what it takes”.

He continued: “So they gave me an ISDN kit and I used to finish work on Saturday and drive to second and third division football matches, starting right at the very bottom again to prove that I was driven, to prove that I could do it, and prove that I was hungry.

“I wanted to prove that I didn’t have an ego and expected the top job. I did that for quite a while and then it’s hard to know at the time that these are big moments but looking back I was then asked to go and host the Super Bowl in America.

“I think that was the moment when all the bosses at the BBC were looking at me thinking ‘Could this guy be the next big thing to come through on BBC sport’, and I did the Super Bowl.

“I was then offered the job at Formula One. I remember going into a meeting with the big bosses and they just spoke to me about Formula One for a bit and then asked me to count the number of steps to the lift from where I was, and I came back two minutes later and they offered me the job.”

Jake couldn’t believe his luck and how “remarkable” it was to get what he wanted after working so hard.

He added: “I was on kids TV and I was suddenly offered the job presenting Formula One on the BBC, which the BBC had paid tens of thousands, millions of pounds for the rights to.”

Jake used to work on children’s TV with the likes of Holly Willoughby, Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates.

Express.co.uk asked Jake if he still kept in contact with anyone he used to work with.

He replied: “Yes, it’s a really good group of people actually that we all came through on children’s telly together and I love it when I see Ferne Cotton, Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates.

“We sort of learned the trade together really.

“The great thing about children’s BBC was it was a place to make your mistakes and to learn and to grow.”

Jake is currently promoting his book inspired by his podcast High Performance.

He draws on interviews from his podcast to see what really makes a high performer.

Speaking about the book, he said: “Realising that we are all responsible for our own lives is really really powerful and that was the reason for writing the book, because I just want people to pick it up, read it and start 2022 with a slightly altered mindset that they can be as successful as they like.”

High Performance: Lessons from the Best on Becoming Your Best by Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes is published by Random House Business on 9 December.

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