Belfast Telegraph

Nick Knowles: Why I don’t cry on screen in DIY SOS

The host of the long-running DIY show said he tries to ‘get off camera as much as I possibly can’ when he becomes emotional.

Nick Knowles explains why he does not cry on screen in DIY SOS (Ian West/PA)
Nick Knowles explains why he does not cry on screen in DIY SOS (Ian West/PA)

By Kerri-Ann Roper, PA Entertainment Editor

Nick Knowles has said he asks to not be shown crying on camera so as not to detract from the real-life stories being documented in DIY SOS.

The host said he is “not a big fan of TV presenters sort of hoarding the moment”, but admitted shedding tears behind the scenes.

Speaking ahead of a special DIY SOS: Children In Need special, Knowles told the PA news agency: “I get massively emotional with each show that we do, but I encourage the editors not to put pictures of me crying in the programme.

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DIY SOS Big Build Children in Need Special – Nick Knowles, Pudsey, Designer Gabrielle Blackman and the team of Purple Shirts: Billy, Chris, Jules and Mark outside the DIY SOS Big Build for BBC Children in Need (Neil Sherwood/BBC)

“I try to get off camera when I do because I think the story too often, TV here has presenters that say ‘Look at me’, when in actual fact your job should be to say ‘Hello, look at them’.

“The centre of attention on this should be the people we are building for, the volunteers and the organisations that are looking after those young people and the builders who come forward to do it.

“My job is to be there to represent the emotional engagement of the builders and the plumbers and the people that are being built for, so I’m not a big fan of TV presenters sort of hoarding the moment and being emotionally involved with it, so I try to get off camera as much as I possibly can when I get emotionally charged by the situation.”

The Children In Need episode sees the DIY SOS team transform a church hall into accommodation and a support centre for Nightsafe, a Lancashire-based charity which provides support for young people aged 16-24 who are homeless or vulnerably housed.

Knowles, 57, said it was important that the home renovation show covered the episode because homelessness among the young is not something that is highlighted enough.

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Nick Knowles is joined by Pudsey at the DIY SOS Big Build for Children in Need (Neil Sherwood/BBC)

He said: “It’s very difficult to get it signed off for them to talk to us because they are vulnerable, which means that not many programmes are made about them. So we had to decide whether we would go ahead and make this build without necessarily being able to speak to the young people involved who would use it.

“Would we and could we make a programme that the audience would trust us, despite the fact they didn’t meet the people to empathise with them?

“I think it was really important that we did (do the programme), because there are so many young people sleeping rough and homeless on a night-to-night basis in the UK, it’s disgraceful, and there are people trying to help them, but they need help to help them.”

The episode documents the build as well as sharing stories from people who have been helped by Nightsafe.

Other high-profile builds undertaken by DIY SOS over the years include the renovation of an entire Manchester street and 17 homes for veterans, as well as a 2018 rebuild of a boxing club and a community centre affected by the Grenfell fire tragedy.

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Nick Knowles is joined by the charity Nightsafe and the hundreds of tradespeople and volunteers who gave up their time for the DIY SOS Big Build Children in Need Special (Neil Sherwood/BBC)

Later this year, the programme, now in its 20th year, will be honoured with a Bafta Special Award.

Knowles said: “The problem with Brexit and with our political leadership is that it’s dragged on too long and, actually, the indecision is the worst thing for business and the indecision is the worst thing for charities and the indecision is what’s causing us all problems.

“I think we need to, we can as a society look after all the vulnerable people in our society but we have to want to.

“I think, actually, I find that, when we go into various areas, most people are prepared to hold hands, they’ve just never been asked to.

“There are ways of going about it that work for everybody, and I mean including business and volunteers and councils, we’ve proven that time and time again. It just needs some original thinking and commitment from those in power to make those things happen.”

BBC Children In Need supports more than 3,000 community projects across the UK which help children and young people.

The DIY SOS: Children In Need Special airs on BBC One on November 13 at 8pm.

PA

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