Early this morning before work I headed across London to pre-record an interview for radio 4’s Today Programme that’s due to air tomorrow. The show’s producer got in touch after reading the article about Touretteshero in the Independent yesterday.

We had a chat about how they were going to manage my swearing tics. 90% of people with Tourettes don’t swear involuntarily, but I’m one of the 10% that do and I feel strongly that editing out those tics for radio is editing out a part of my disability.

I can understand why the producer was worried though. Involuntary on air swearing has got them into trouble before, like when presenter Jim Naughtie accidently mispronounced Jeremy Hunt’s name a couple of years ago. It seemed fitting then that Jim should interview me.

My mum listens to the Today Programme every morning without fail, so it was strange being interviewed by someone whose voice I’d grown up listening to.

It was a nerve-racking experience, but one I’m pleased to have had. I created Touretteshero to benefit people with and without the condition, and raising awareness about Tourettes has made a big difference to how I feel. Now, rather than worry about my tics, I’m more concerned that people are missing many amazing and surreal interjections if they don’t have any Tourettes in their life.

Fortunately, there’s plenty on the site for everyone to enjoy and share. And if you can’t get enough, you can find me on Twitter and Facebook too.

Disappointingly, I didn’t get to meet another of the Today Programme presenters – John Humphrys. So I can’t confirm whether my tic, “John Humphrys has a waggy tail” is true.

Illustration: Dan Farrow

Related tics

13 responses to Today

  1. well done – really great interview!

  2. joanna says:

    What a joy! Positive and inspiring. And FUNNY. A great way to start the morning.Thank you.

  3. lizziedripping says:

    Hi Jess, I just heard the interview on the way back from doing my horses. I am so dumb, I had no idea what Tourettes syndrome involved. I must say that you were so interesting that, although I heard your vocal tic, actually what you were saying and your manner of speech sort of took away the tic so that it was ignorable. I haven’t had time to look at your website yet as I have to go to work in a minute, but I will later. You said you had had some amazing conversations with people. I am not surprised, you sound like an amazing girl, using humour to deal with this. Never lose your sense of humour as life chucks all sorts of difficult stuff at us, and if the first way you look at stuff is with humour then it just helps you to get through it.
    You must be about the only person John Humpries has interviewed that he has not continuously interrupted or talked over – well done.
    Love Liz x

  4. Zeebad says:

    I think that might be my favourite today interview ever. I love the idea of claiming back the surreal to enjoy it. Wonderful. Congratulations too on a fine costume (I assume that’s you?) and finding an acceptable use for comic sans.

  5. Heard you on radio 4 and thought it was a really good interview. i stopped what I was doing. Very best of luck to you.

  6. hussar says:

    What a fantastic interview. Absolutely made my day and put me in contact with this terrific website. What’s life without humour and how heroic to shine a light on TS.

  7. Streak1503 says:

    Hi Jess. was listening to your interview in the car this morning. It was great! It must have been to get me to do this which I have never bothered to do before. You came across in a remarkably engaging way, clearly explained about touretttes and what you are trying to achieve with your site. I found it inspiring. Keep up the great work. Incidentally I dont have TS but I still came to site – hope that is OK?!
    Best wishes.

  8. Alice says:

    Hi Jess. I was so impressed by your interview on the Today Programme this morning I wrote a blog about you. As I blog about blogging, it was on that bent, so I hope you don’t mind:

  9. Amum says:

    Hi Jess,
    I heard your discussion on the Today program (which was brilliant) and so went to your
    website to take a look.
    Both my children (now 20 and 17) have Tourettes (along with ASD, ADHD
    etc). I would have fitted the diagnostic criteria for Tourettes as a
    child and have just a few tics now which just look like "ordinary" movements and throat clearing, so I don’t really count myself as having Tourettes (though I guess I really do!) and my husband has an occasional cough-tic but no more than that – so we are a pretty ticcy family!
    About 6 or 7 years ago I was travelling back from Spain with the children (my husband had had to go home ahead of us, so it was the first time I had flown as a lone adult with both children) when my daughter, (then about 14) developped a "Bomb!" tic whilst we were at the check-in in Malaga airport. We tried all sorts of ways to hide it – mainly her burying her face in my clothes to try to say the tic so no-one else could hear – but it was her only noticable tic so I knew we would struggle to "get away" with blaming Tourettes – even though we knew that was what the trouble was. We managed to survive our 3
    hour wait at the airport and the whole flight without being arrested – but we did get some awfully strange looks and a more rigorous check through security, I think. They even x-rayed the children’s bag of popcorn! We found it hilarious – especially as our daughter has had so few word tics – though our son has had many more. I think I can actually say we enjoyed the challenge of the experience!
    I think your website’s great.
    I hope a lot of teachers look at it, as TS is so misunderstood in schools.
    I shall recommend it to every-one I know who has or who might be interested in TS.
    All the best.

  10. baz says:

    Sorry Jess I diden’t get to hear your radio interview, but luckily a friend of mine told me about the interview and your site , I have now registered with the site this morning and am now going to listen to the interview, I don’t have many vocals but I do have thousands of tics, and possibly more waiting to surprise me, bring it on, I also agree with the comment about teachers taking a look at tourettes , I personaly feel my childhood could have been less of a challenge and stressfull if this condition was widely acknowledged,. good luck with your site,

  11. lizaloo says:

    Just wanted to say that I listened to your interview about 10 minutes after finishing a book called Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem – thriller with a detective who has Tourette’s. I was fascinated and enchanted to hear what you had to say – Ms Hero – and would recommend Motherless Brooklyn to anyone wanting to read a really good book.
    I’m rooting for you and all of you out there with Tourette’s, all of us part of everything.

  12. Westie says:

    Just thought I would take this opportunity to add my comment that I really enjoyed your interview on the Today program yesterday, Although I personally do not have the condition my friend has. I have let him know of your site and will now let him decide on what he wants to do about it. Great work….

  13. Catwings says:

    Congrats on doing the interview and on the response it’s received! I think I remember you blogging a while back about how the biscuit tic had reduced in frequency – has it made a comeback or is this what it’s like at a reduced level? I wondered if you were trying to redirect your vocals in more biscuity/sandy directions so that there wasn’t as much copro?

Leave a Reply

Login Register

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.