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.
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