Disability

Transcript: Bake Off Briony’s kitchen hacks and Kitch the rapper

This is a full transcript of Bake Off Briony's kitchen hacks and Kitch the rapper as presented by Simon Minty and Shannon Murray and first broadcast on 9 November.

[Jingle: Ouch]

SIMON - Hello, it's the Ouch talk show for November 2018. Disability talk at its best. Well, we think so anyway. I'm Simon Minty, and filling in for Kate this month is actress, Shannon Murray. Hello.

SHANNON - Hello. Thank you for having me. It's a proper tasty one this month, with three awesome guests covering everything from one handed kitchen hacks and the health benefits of baking, to pioneering surgery and the power of rap.

SIMON - Let's introduce those guests. On the line from Bristol is 'Great British Bake Off' contestant, Briony Williams, who viewers of the show will know has a missing left hand. Hello, Briony.

BRIONY- Good… Hello. I don't even know if it's morning. I was going to say good morning then. Hello.

SIMON - Hello. You sound like Shannon, our co-host, which is great. [laughter]

SHANNON - Voice twins.

SIMON - Have you ever done any rap, Briony?

BRIONY- Er, no. No, I have not.

SIMON- Okay.

BRIONY- Are you going to make me rap today?

SIMON- Who knows? It could be a nice surprise.

BRIONY- How exciting.

SIMON- We will talk more about your time on 'Bake Off' and get some of your top kitchen hacks shortly.

SHANNON - Ruth Madeley, fantastic actress, is on the line from Manchester. Hello, Ruth.

RUTH - Hello.

SHANNON - And this girl is going from strength to strength, having added a stint on 'Cold Feet' and 'Katy' to her CV since she was last with us. And despite joking with strangers as a teenager that a shooting put her in a wheelchair, spina bifida is Ruth's official diagnosis. She made a 'Horizon' documentary about the impairment earlier this summer. Ruth, what was it like to really hone in and focus on your disability for the documentary?

RUTH - Well, you know what? It was an absolute privilege. I really wanted to explore my disability more and look at spina bifida in other people as well and I was really, really lucky that BBC 'Horizon' took up my idea and yeah, I guess let me run with it. It was a dream come true.

SHANNON - And it really was a brilliant documentary, which we will refer to a bit later.

RUTH - Thank you.

SHANNON - So stay on the line with us, Ruth, and do please pitch in. We're going to be chatting about your documentary and much more in a little while.

RUTH - Of course.

SIMON - We are so excited to have Kitch in the studio with us. He's a brilliant young black disabled rapper from East London… Emma, did you write this?

EMMA - Yeah, why?

SIMON - I don't know how to put this. He's white.

EMMA - Oh, God. [laughs] Blindy fail. That's not the first time I've done that actually. Sorry. Sorry, Kitch.

KITCH - That's all right.

SIMON - So, just because you have a disability doesn't mean to say you can't stereotype. So, Emma, did you know Eminem?

EMMA - Yeah?

SIMON - He's white too. Did you know that?

EMMA - Er…

SIMON- Okay, okay. Kitch, thank you for still staying with us. You were the subject of a recent BBC video.

KITCH - Yes, I was.

SIMON - What was the reaction to that?

KITCH - Well, since then I've had a lot more exposure for my music. I've been featured in my local 'Guardian' which was quite big, so it's been…

SIMON- That's really cool.

KITCH- Yeah.

SIMON- Kitch, you'll be performing with us at the end of the show, and we'll also be asking you to judge a very, very special rap competition.

KITCH- Sounds exciting.

SIMON- [laughs] Thank you.

SHANNON - I apologise in advance. Back to Briony from 'Bake Off'.

BRIONY- Hello.

SHANNON - Hello. We've got Niamh Hughes from the Ouch team with us today. Hiya, Niamh.

NIAMH- Hiya.

SHANNON - I believe you're a 'Bake Off' super fan?

NIAMH - I am indeed. I've been following it since it started back in August when we were all melting in the heat. So yeah, I'm really excited about today. [laughs]

SHANNON - Much like you, one of her arms is more useful than the other.

BRIONY- Yeah.

NIAMH- Yes, that is correct. I have congenital hemiplegia which is a little bit like cerebral palsy, but it just affects the right side of my body, so yeah, it's difficult to do two handed activities like play musical instruments. And I was terrible at sport in school and things like that. And cooking, in fact.

SHANNON - So, earlier this year when Lost Voice Guy won 'Britain's Got Talent' most of his jokes focused on his disability and his impairment and it was commented on in every single episode. And when the Paralympians do 'Strictly' comments are made on how the professional dance partners modify routines to account for their impairments. But you got down to the last four on 'Great British Bake Off' without your hand being mentioned once.

BRIONY- Yeah.

SHANNON - So, Briony, how did that come about?

BRIONY- Well, I actually sort of specified early on that I didn't want them to make a big deal out of it, because I just wanted to kind of just sort of see how people would view it without it being mentioned. And it turns out a lot of people didn't even notice till like episode three or four. You know, people would tweet going like, "I'm sure Briony had a hand last week." [laughter] It's like, no, no, there wasn't some horrific baking accident in between week one and two. They were really keen on that as well, they just wanted to just let me do it on my own merit and not be, you know, the disabled baker.

SHANNON - Sure.

BRIONY- Which I was really pleased about, and it's not that I'm embarrassed about it or ashamed of it in any way, I just wanted it to be seen as me getting through week on week for my baking skills, not because, ah, she's only got one hand, we'll let her through this week. I'm a good baker, I think, and I wanted to go in and be a good baker, not, you know, in spite of maybe some of the extra difficulties. And because my mum has always said to me, "Right, if you can't do something just figure out a way round it."

SIMON- Yeah.

BRIONY- So that's what I've always done, so I kind of never looked at it like I was at any kind of disadvantage, I just had my own way of doing things. If that make sense.

SIMON- Yeah, and just do it a bit differently.

SHANNON - Yeah, and I suppose, going back to doing things differently, you didn't seem to have any kind of special kit like grabbers or human help.

BRIONY - No.

SHANNON - Was that your own choice? Is that how you normally cook?

BRIONY- Yeah, that's just how I normally cook. I didn't really need any extra help. I mean my husband kept saying to me, "Now, for the biscuit chandelier you really should ask someone to help you tie because actually, you know, not having any fingers on your left hand does put you at a disadvantage of tying strings and things like that."

SHANNON - Totally.

BRIONY- And I was like, "No, I'm not going to ask for help," me being very stubborn, "no, I'm not going to ask for help." And so I just got a stapler and I did it with a stapler. [laughter] And everyone was like, "Oh, that's a good idea." It's like, well, you know, find a way around it.

SIMON- The bread wedge, that was a little bit more interesting. Did you kind of think, oh I should have got a bit of help here? Because that's okay?

BRIONY- Yeah. I mean I know it's okay to ask for help, absolutely. No, 100%. In that environment and under the pressure you almost think, oh no, no, I'm just going to go for it, but I'm rubbish at slicing bread anyway, I'm just awful, I always end up cutting like a massive wedge, so when it was the Danish open sandwich challenge and they were like, "Um, it could probably be quite a lot thinner than that," I was thinking, yes it probably could, but I'm just terrible at cutting bread.

SHANNON - We saw you do lots of really clever one handed baking workarounds during the show like hugging the bowl and balancing things on your little hand.

BRIONY- Yeah.

SHANNON - And I'm a wheelchair user and when I'm cooking I just use a giant chopping board on my lap because I can't really use the worktop quite as well as I'd like to.

BRIONY- Ah. Yeah.

SHANNON - So, what are you top three kitchen hacks?

BRIONY- Oh, goodness me. Right, so I think using equipment, the first one would be using the equipment that you've got available to you. So things like to do kneading you don't have to be a martyr and knead yourself on the worktop if that's not possible. If you've got a stand mixer which I would recommend everyone get if they're going to do baking in the kitchen, especially if you've got some sort of difference or impairment because it'll do the kneading for you and it doesn't mean that you're any less of a baker, it just means that you're using equipment.

SIMON- Sorry, Briony, did you say a sand mixer?

BRIONY- Sorry, not a sand mixer, a stand mixer. Sorry.

SIMON- I was thinking, blimey, you do industrial scale baking don't you? [laughter]

SHANNON - Cement cake.

BRIONY- Yeah, cement cake, yummy. Yeah. So, sorry, a stand mixer, they've got dough hooks on. Things that I find quite difficult sometimes is rubbing together the butter and the flour when you're making a shortcrust pastry, so I would say get a blender, it doesn't have to be a big one, and actually a food processer will do exactly the same job, but just by pressing a button. So you can get from point A to point B using the equipment you've got in the kitchen.

Another tip that I was talking to Niamh about actually is when you want to roll out pastry quite thin or biscuits, try and see if you can get hold of a marble rolling pin. They sound really expensive but they're not, you can go to your local T K Maxx or whatever like that, HomeSense, and they've got them. And they're so heavy that they actually do a lot of the work for you and you have a lot more control over what you're doing because you can use one hand to do it and actually it's quite effective. I found that out when I was doing the samosas and trying to get the samosa pastry really, really thin. So that's a good one.

SHANNON - Brilliant hacks. And Niamh…

SIMON- Can I…? I just love the titles of all of this stuff and Niamh's excitement as well. Sorry, Shannon.

SHANNON - Niamh's getting very excited about the mic.

SIMON- She's just sitting there and nodding and rubbing her hands in sort of pleasure.

NIAMH- It's because I want cake now. And I want samosas. Oh my goodness. Yeah, what were you going to say?

SHANNON - Do you have any…?

NIAMH- Do I have any hacks?

SHANNON - Yeah.

NIAMH- Oh, goodness me. So I for ages couldn't crack eggs and to be honest I still kind of struggle, so Briony, I might need your tips, particularly if you're going to be making a meringue, because I was re-watching the dessert week and the roulades you were making and I was thinking I can't do it anyway, it's very difficult.

SHANNON - There's a couple of kitchen hacks here.

NIAMH- Yes. I always find though with eggs, just as a sort of failsafe I always crack them into a mug.

SHANNON - Yeah, that's a good idea, yeah. First, yeah.

NIAMH- Then at least, even if you're just making a scrambled egg or an omelette and everything you can fish out any of the shell that manages to find its way in the mug.

SHANNON - Yeah.

BRIONY- Can I give you another egg hack?

SIMON- We do want that.

SHANNON - Please do.

BRIONY- So, have you tried the bottle trick for egg separating?

SIMON - Oh, yeah, yeah.

BRIONY- That's a good one. So if you have an empty plastic bottle, if you break the egg into the mug, you get an empty plastic bottle, squeeze the air out, put it over the yolk and then let the air back in and it sucks the yolk up into the bottle and then you're left with the egg white.

SHANNON - I love that Niamh is writing this down.

BRIONY- And also, sorry, just one more thing and then I'll shut up about eggs.

SIMON- Not at all.

BRIONY- You can actually buy egg whites from the supermarket these days. So it's really gross, like when you pour it out it's a bit like ugh, that looks disgusting, but it is actually basically someone's separated all the egg whites for you.

SHANNON - Kitch, do you think of yourself as much of a cooker or a baker in the kitchen?

KITCH - Not really. I'm not going to lie to you.

SHANNON - Because I'm just thinking, brilliant cooker show, 'Kitch in the Kitchen'.

SIMON- Oh!

SHANNON - Sorry, that just came to me, 'Kitch in the Kitchen'.

KITCH - Fun fact. I'm actually called Kitch as it was the first name I was ever called, as I was born in my kitchen.

SIMON- No!

SHANNON - Were you really? You were born at home in the kitchen?

RUTH - That's brilliant.

KITCH - 100% true.

BRIONY- That's amazing.

SHANNON - Oh my God, that's amazing.

SIMON - My middle name is Sink.

SHANNON - Oh, shush. [laughter]

SIMON- Ruth, any kind of kitchen hacks?

RUTH - I'm not the best cook. I can get by but I'm not a baker or anything like that. So for me I always just make sure I've got somewhere lower to chop things because I'm dangerous if things are too high for me.

SHANNON - I try to be quite reluctant in frying things, because if I'm frying things on the hob, if it spits it's spitting at my face.

RUTH - Yes, same here.

SHANNON - It's just, you know, I don't really want that to happen. And then sinks.

RUTH - No, nobody needs that.

SHANNON - Do you find that if you turn on the water in a sink and the tap hits the basin and then it splashes up…?

RUTH - I get a shower.

SHANNON - Yes, that drives me crazy.

SIMON- Is there a snobbery? So in general baking and cooking there is an element of snobbery, you've got to do it purist, you've got to do it right. Is that the same, Briony?

BRIONY- I'm not a purist, no. [laughs]

SIMON- Oh, okay.

BRIONY- I'm not a baking snob I have to say, I'm like just get it done. When you're on 'Bake Off' yeah, okay you have to do it properly because Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are watching you, but I think in your actual kitchen, you know, get it done how you get it done. It doesn't really matter, to me anyway, how you get from A to B, it's what you produce at the end of it and if you produce something that you're pleased with.

SIMON- How much pressure is there? It feels immense watching you.

BRIONY- So much. [laughs]

SIMON- And is it hot in there? I mean what are you feeling?

BRIONY- It's so hot. Yeah, it's very warm, it's very sweaty and you're just… You know, I mean you're so focused on what you're doing sometimes you don't even notice how hot it is until someone appears next to you with a glass of water saying, "You need to drink this, you haven't drunk in three hours." Yeah, it's hot and it's pressured, but do you know what? I'd go back and do it again in a heartbeat, it was so much fun.

They're always fair, you know, you really can't criticise them on that. They know what they're talking about, and when they praise you it means that much more because you know that it's really good and you know that they really like it and they're being very honest.

SHANNON - And how did you actually get into baking to begin with, Briony?

BRIONY- So I started baking properly about five years ago. I was off work, I wasn't very well. It turned out to be hormonal problems with polycystic ovarian syndrome, but they kept saying it was chronic fatigue and this, that and the other. They kept misdiagnosing me, so I was off work for quite a long time, and someone I worked with said, "Oh, why don't you try baking just so you've got a bit of a hobby and you get something at the end of it?" And I just found it very, very therapeutic and I was terrible to start with but I got better, and yeah, I just went from there really.

SIMON- If you want to see pictures of your yummy work, Briony?

BRIONY- Yes, if you'd like to see any pictures or find some recipes I'm on Instagram as @brionymaybakes and I've got a blog website as well, which is brionybakes.co.uk.

SIMON- What was that Instagram again? Briony?

BRIONY- @brionymaybakes. I'm the same on Twitter as well.

SIMON- Cool. Stay with us, Briony. Please do chip in, I mean don't overegg it if you…

BRIONY- Aye!

SIMON- Hey, come on! You know, if you feel the… need. [laughter] Yeah, yeah, I've got a lot of these. Niamh, seeing as you're here, tell us what's been happening in the online world if disability this month.

NIAMH- Okey-doke. So we stumbled upon this story and it was on Twitter, where a mother, Helen Weston, tweeted out that her son's school gave out 100% attendance badges at the end of half term but they disregarded both the health professional and herself suggesting the policy might be discriminatory because her son has a chronic illness. But he comes in when he can and he makes the most of his situation.

SIMON - So he came in 100% of the times he could but he didn't come in…

NIAMH- Yes.

SIMON- But sometimes discrimination is okay, you're allowed to discriminate in certain times. It's not that it's always illegal, it's always wrong, there are times where you have to make choices and so on. I don't know, I'm a bit… I'm trying to think when I was at school and everyone used to measure each other and I'd be like, oh well, I'm never going to be top of the measurement class, but that's kind of that's what it is.

SHANNON - But I think that's a thing, it's to realise that nobody is great at everything.

SIMON- Exactly.

SHANNON - So you're going to be good at something, you're going to be not so good at other things.

SIMON- Kitch, are you nodding or are you just moving about in your seat comfortably?

SHANNON - He's writing a rap.

KITCH - A bit of both. I remember as a kid in the assemblies and what not being awarded a badge, a certificate, for the attendance side of things and just everyone was really excited about it. So I can see why kids will feel left out, but yeah, it's a hard one.

SIMON- And did you think it was good, the awards for 100% attendance and so on at that time?

KITCH - Of course, because it not only encourages kids to stay in the school, but it's like if you don't win anything else and you feel left out at least you still get recognised for doing something good.

SHANNON - Yes, good point.

SIMON- Yes. Okay, thank you. Niamh, next story.

NIAMH- Well this is a very special one because very recently the Disability Power 100 List was published and it was compiled by the Shaw Trust and yeah…

SHANNON - This is exciting, I didn't know this existed?

NIAMH - Yeah, it does in fact, and well, if you turn to page 23 there is a…

SIMON- Go on, go on.

NIAMH- There's a certain someone featured on that list.

SIMON- Who would that be?

NIAMH- Um, his name rhymes with… mimon sminty. [laughter]

RUTH- Who could it be?

SIMON- What do we think of the Power 100 lists? I'm looking at you, Shannon.

SHANNON - I mean, I don't have very much to say about it because I've never been on it.

SIMON- Never?

SHANNON - Never. Never been on it. I didn't really know it existed until maybe I think last year when I saw it come out.

SIMON- Yeah, yeah, but you're a face, you're a name.

SHANNON - [whispers] I'm not. But it's an interesting mix.

SIMON- Ruth, you're in it aren't you, Ruth?

RUTH- Not this year, no.

SIMON- Oh, sorry Ruth, sorry. [laughter]

RUTH- No, I was lucky enough to be on it last year, so…

SIMON- Okay.

SHANNON - That's the thing I find weird, is that people who were on it last year aren't on it this year, even though they've gone on from strength to strength and I think they should still be in it. So people like Nikki Foxx, Liz Carr, Ruth, why can they not be on consecutive years?

RUTH - It's a weird one isn't it?

SHANNON - Were you on it last year, Simon?

SIMON- Yes, I was. I have been on it..

RUTH - Harsh.

SHANNON - You get consecutive years. Is this a male, female thing?

RUTH - How rude.

SIMON - Since it started, yeah.

SHANNON - Are you on it every year?

SIMON- Yeah.

SHANNON - Who are you paying?

RUTH - He sponsors it.

SHANNON - Yeah, the Shaw Trust, sponsored by Simon Minty.

SIMON- I do know it changed. The first few years it was the Shaw Trust and a PR company and it was what was called a curated list. They would go out and do a lot of research. I believe this year, this was public nominations, so if you weren't nominated you didn't even make the long list. There are a couple of 25 year old people I met there, and I kind of think it's lovely…

SHANNON - Do you mean millennials, Simon?

SIMON- That's the word. The point of it it's kind of cool, I'm glad it exists because I think we should have one, but I take it with a pinch of salt, it's not, you know… But they were saying, "Next year I'm going to be number one, I'm going for this." And I'm like, oh my goodness…

SHANNON - Yes, I can see it in your face.

SIMON- …to have the bravado to even say that's what you want, I was impressed and sad at the same time.

SHANNON - I think we should put Kitch forward for next year. This is a new fresh face.

SIMON - What do you think, the new ethnic face of…? [laughter] According to Emma.

SHANNON - Ticking all the diverse boxes.

SIMON- I will say, they list the top ten, the rest is just you're in and then they list the top ten, the one at the launch that got the round of applause was number four, which was Baroness Jane Campbell, and in terms of what I call real true power she's always my number one. But it was lovely, in the room there was a round of applause for her and that really said something.

RUTH - Good, that's nice.

NIAMH - Yes, of course.

SHANNON - But it's kind of like looking at some of the younger people like Jordan Bone for example who's done a huge amount, I kind of feel like well she should have got it.

SIMON- Is she the makeup woman?

SHANNON - Yeah, and she's had a book out, she's done a deal with L'Oréal. Jordan Bone, she's a YouTube vlogger who does a lot of beauty.

SIMON - I've seen her work and I really liked it, and bearing in mind I'm not her demographic am I?

SHANNON - Yeah, but she has a vast following.

SIMON- Is she not on it?

SHANNON - No.

NIAMH- That's crazy.

SHANNON - There were a few people that I thought would be really obvious to be on it who weren't.

SIMON- There's quite a lot of bitterness around the table…

SHANNON - No, we're not bitter.

SIMON- Anyway. Oh right, easy everybody easy.

SHANNON - I'm waiting till I'm in 'The Times' Top 100 Rich List. That's the one I'll be happy to be on, thanks.

SIMON- We have heard from you, but now let's turn properly to Ruth Madeley. Ruth is a friend of Ouch, she was first on the show over 11 years ago as a feisty…

RUTH - Oh my goodness.

SIMON- You were a feisty work experience kid, wanting to get into the media. We like to think that we were your springboard to success.

RUTH- Obviously, yeah.

SIMON- Thank you, Ruth. Bafta nominated, you went on to star in BBC Three 'Don't Take My Baby' and the most recent series of ITV's drama, 'Cold Feet'. But in a bit of a departure earlier this year Ruth made a BBC 'Horizon' documentary about her impairment, spina bifida. In it, she got to watch pioneering surgery carried out on an unborn baby with the condition. Here's a clip.

"It's game on."

"Good luck Tom."

"The defect is here now. Okay, good."

"There you have it, that's what spina bifida looks like. It could have easily been my mum, that. It's incredible."

"The baby's okay now?"

"Yes."

"The baby's doing okay. The baby's probably doing better than me at this point, for crying out loud."

SHANNON - That was clearly a very moving clip to listen to but what was it like for you in that moment, Ruth?

RUTH - I just felt really, really honoured to even be able to witness it in person. I think that was the biggest thing for me, because I didn't know ahead of filming the documentary that I would be actually in the operating theatre.

SHANNON - Wow.

RUTH - I thought we'd have screens outside that we could watch it from, so to actually be in there and see it as close as you're going to get I felt very overwhelmed and just very honoured to be in the same room as these people who are doing amazing work.

SHANNON - Yeah. And in the documentary it mentioned that most UK women carrying a baby with spina bifida will choose not to keep it.

RUTH - Yeah.

SHANNON - Do you think these operations are a cure?

RUTH - You never cure spina bifida, and I don't think there should be a cure for spina bifida. I know that's a statement that people often struggle with, but for me personally I think disability is just part of the world and I don't think there ever will be or there should be a cure for it, because it will always be there. Whether you're born with it or whether you acquire disability it's always something that's going to be in our world.

But for me I think the surgery is something that can make life with spina bifida a lot easier, both for parents and for the baby. And as any expectant mother, surely you would want to do the best for your child and if this surgery was available and you wanted to take it it's a choice, and that's something that I think should be available, the choice.

SHANNON - I think also it's an important point that you made about the difference between either a genetic or a congenital disability compared to an acquired disability, because you can create all the cures in the world but you can't stop accidents from happening.

RUTH - Exactly, I know. That conversation is more eugenics kind of thing where you take out the gene and all that jazz. This surgery isn't for that. If you have the surgery it doesn't cure spina bifida, it just helps to perhaps lessen some of the other effects that spina bifida can have. I'm not saying that having a disability is easy, spina bifida is not an easy disability, nothing is easy in that respect, but at the same time I feel very passionate about showing the positive side of disability, and if I didn't have spina bifida I wouldn't have been able to make this incredible documentary and see what is possible now through medical science.

SHANNON - I saw in the news this week there was an operation on two twins, two babies, in the womb with spina bifida, and I'm sure you probably get sent links from well-intentioned friends and family, because I also this week there was a story from Switzerland about three men with spinal cord injury who'd been able to walk. And I'll often get texts and calls going, "You should see this, you should see this."

But for me, you know, I've been in the chair 28 years and it's just, it's not a goal for me anymore to walk. Initially yeah, maybe in the first five to ten years, but after that I'm too busy getting on with life to take a couple of years out to do intensive physio in order to do the bare minimum really.

SIMON - I think there's a Holy Grail. I know they've talked about it with short people to find something that gets rid of all the pain and the discomfort but have not even gone into how other people might treat you in society. But at the moment it's a kind of cure everything, get rid of it or you have everything. But, Briony, would you take the blue pill or the red pill? Is that an option?

BRIONY- Yeah. No, I wouldn't. I'm very lucky, I think my disability is very, very minor, but if someone said, "Oh magic, there you go, there's your fingers," I'd probably say no to be honest with you. Because again, because I've lived with it from when I was born and it's part of who I am now, you know, 34 years, I'd find it a bit odd now, having fingers I think.

SIMON - Kitch? Where are you at on this? Does it apply?

KITCH- Again, it's like as a child I would do anything for it to get better or go away, but as I've grown with it, again it makes me who I am as a person. And I've been through speech therapy and stuff and it has helped. There are stories that it goes completely, but if I'm honest it's not that bad now, so I'm just content with it now. It is what it is.

SIMON - Ruth, I'm going to go into kind of a really tricky question.

RUTH- Yeah, hit me. I love a tricky question.

SIMON- I think of this with lots of disabled people, particularly those who were born with a disability. Have you ever sat down with your parents and had a conversation about having spina bifida?

RUTH - Yeah, I mean I'm fascinated by my mum and dad's experience I guess, and for the documentary we actually filmed a conversation between me and my mum and I found it quite humbling to hear my mum's journey with it, and my dad's as well. And yeah, for me I found it quite, I don't know, not even that emotional really, it was more of a I admire them even more now I guess.

I always knew my mum and dad were incredible people but to hear how they dealt with finding out I had spina bifida six weeks before I was born, and they had my older sister as well, so they had another child to think about at that time, I guess for me it just made me appreciate them even more I guess.

SIMON - We have another clip I think of this moment.

"He was saying that you most likely wouldn't walk. You would practically do nothing in life."

"What did Dad say when you got home?"

"Well, he just… It was a shock to both of us I suppose. We're quiet people, quiet shock, and we just said we'll deal with it. All we both were really concerned with was the fact that you lived [emotionally] and that we got the chance to look after you. And we did."

"You're going to start me off."

"How I see you getting on with your life, how I see what you do, how independent you are, how you love life."

"You would have missed out on the joys of me."

"Absolutely. And that was a joy, and still is."

SIMON- Goodness me. That's kind of full on. I mean…

SHANNON - Simon, did you have a similar conversation with your parents at any point?

SIMON- I did. I was 25, 26 and at that point I'd not really talked much about being short and disability and so on, and I, yeah, I decided then to have that big chat because I wanted to know where they were at on it and what they felt about it.

SHANNON - Are your parents short?

SIMON- No. I think it's something like 80% of children who are born with short stature will come from average sized parents. So no, and my sister's average size as well. I remember it was more difficult for them. I mean, I must have been a real pain the backside, kind of, "Oh what about this, what about that?"

I've read some letters that they were writing to family members, because I wasn't expected to live. I was christened very early. I don't have a middle name because I wasn't expected to survive, and you read those letters that my parents were writing to other people and you think, oh this must be heart-breaking, because they don't know if they're going to take their child home or not.

And I still think there is an element of, a tiny, tiny percentage of guilt or responsibility. And there can't be, there isn't. The only bit is it just happened that the two of them making love, I don't want my parents to make love, but they did, and…

SHANNON - Making sweet, sweet love, Simon.

SIMON- Yeah, and the genes coming together meant that's why I popped out the way that I did. But that's not a responsibility type thing. However, this sort of time of year I remind them, and I remind them how difficult it is and hope that I get a bigger Christmas present. [laughter] So yeah, every cloud. Briony, have you had a conversation?

BRIONY- Yeah, my mum suffers, still suffers now 34 years later with terrible guilt I think because of, you know, my hand, which I always say to her, "It's not your fault, it's just one of those things. It happened." And yeah, and my nan actually let slip that both her and my dad suffered with depression after I was born because they were really struggling with coming to terms with it. And when I was born my mum told the doctors to put me back in to let it grow. "Just put her back in, let her hand grow." So yeah, we've always been very open and honest about it, and I've tried to reassure my mum especially, there's no guilt there, there's nothing to feel bad about.

SIMON- There's a book, 'Far From the Tree', which talks about individuals who are the different one in their family, and quite often, particularly with families with dwarfism, the rest of the family suffer more than the individual. You said about your parents having depression, Briony, it's other people have the difficulty, rather than the individual sometimes. And we almost have to carry them and make sure that they're okay. I mean, Shannon, it's different, you acquired, but have you had a conversation like this?

SHANNON - There were various conversations over the years because we all went through it together. I wasn't with my parents when I had my accident, I was at the beach diving off rocks and I've been told how they received the news. It was a lifeguard arriving at a restaurant and apparently the table flipped when my dad stood up. And then by the time I saw them in the hospital it was probably about five hours after my accident, and they were only ever a tower of strength. And at that point, for the first couple of weeks there was no way of knowing how it was going to pan out and I was in Stoke Mandeville for nearly a year.

So it was very hard to deal with being taken away from your family immediately, it wasn't like a gradual, oh you're going off to hospital, it was boom, that's it, you're away from home. And so there were a lot of things to deal with, homesickness, missing my brothers, because I had three younger brothers, and only seeing my parents twice a week when they could come up to visit. And this was before mobile phones so it was the ward pay phone for phone calls home.

But we've always been very honest about it. I do think my dad worried about the fact that I still wanted to be an actress after my accident and he's always worked in the media industry so he knew how difficult it is, shall we say. So he was very intent that I had a backup plan which is why I became a lawyer. [laughs]

SIMON- Okay.

SHANNON - Because there was this fear of… You know, my dad has lots of friends who are actors and knew it was a tricky business to be in, as I'm sure Ruth knows and appreciates.

RUTH - Yeah, it's not the easiest is it?

SHANNON - No. And what have you got coming up next, Ruth?

RUTH - I'm actually… it was announced last Friday, I've been cast in the new Russell T Davies six part drama for BBC.

SHANNON - Oh wow, congratulations.

RUTH - Oh, thank you very much. It's called 'Years and Years' with the ever fabulous Emma Thomson, so that's…

SHANNON - Oh, fantastic.

RUTH - Yeah, we started a couple of weeks ago, so it's straight through now till yeah, spring. It's a nice long job in Manchester. So having an absolute ball at the minute.

SHANNON - Brilliant. Long job, home turf, living the dream.

RUTH - I know. Can't beat it, can't beat it.

SIMON - Thank you so much, Ruth. I suspect you'll be back on the Power 100 after that role. It's all right, I'm not going to… Can you stay with us for a bit longer? Do you need to go?

RUTH - I have to go in about ten minutes, sadly, because I've got to go back for rehearsals, so yeah, just thank you so much for having me, but I will stick around for another ten minutes and then I will quietly depart so I don't disturb you guys.

SIMON - Okay, fine. Then we will say thank you very much, it's lovely to have you back on, Ruth.

SHANNON - Thank you, Ruth.

RUTH - Thank you so much. thank you.

SHANNON - And moving on completely, we're going to talk to Kitch now, aka Richie Johns, who is a 19 year old rapper from East London. He has a stammer which normally, but not always, disappears when he's on stage. Welcome to Ouch, Kitch.

KITCH - Hello.

SHANNON - Hiya. So we've just been talking about our childhoods and dealing with our disabilities, how was growing up with a stammer for you?

KITCH - Hard. As you can imagine school wasn't my happy place. It was quite hard in lessons and stuff, even the simple things like saying, "Here, Miss," following the register. I'd have to raise my hand. I would never speak in class. If a teacher asked me a question, even if I knew it I would just shrug my shoulders as if I didn't know the answer. So a lot of the people took me as not being too clever, and yet it was just quite hard.

SHANNON - And then how did you make the segue into a career as a rapper?

KITCH - Well, I've always loved rap, but it's always been a thing where I couldn't physically do it. But I think it was just from the pure love of it I would practice, I'd learn lyrics from my favourite artists, try to rap along really just for fun. And then I started to get involved in writing lyrics and stuff. And at first it was purely therapeutic, I never dreamed that I'd be a rapper. Yeah, and then it's just sort of evolved from there. I felt like I was getting better and better. I never really had anything else to do in life, so there was one day where I thought, I'm going to do this now.

SIMON - We're going to hear you a bit later, which I'm beyond excited, there's a comedian I know, Rosie Jones, she's been on this show, and she has cerebral palsy, it means her speech is different, it's a bit slower, she uses it as part of her stand up. Is your stutter part of the rap or does it disappear or where does it…?

KITCH - Well, I try not to stutter in the music but it's definitely a talking point in my music.

SIMON - Right.

SHANNON - And have you ever found yourself in a situation where you're performing on stage and the stutter is making itself more known?

KITCH - The first time I was ever on stage, which was only like two years ago now, I got through the whole song and then like in my last verse I just cracked, and yeah, which then I remember I walked off stage. I was at my school talent show and I won third place. But it's like I just… And they called me on stage again and asked me to say a speech and I just like… I took the gift and then I went.

SHANNON - Loads of famous people do that, they just take the award and go.

SIMON - When you say… I mean that's a fear, I have to do public speaking and the fear is you dry up, for some reason it stops. And when you say cracked, is that what you meant? It didn't work or it stopped?

KITCH - Yeah, I mean I knew the things that I was supposed to say but just physically I couldn't say them, which was quite traumatic.

SIMON - Again, we're doing everyone's traumas, so thanks for being on this special trauma show. You did this in a rap battle and it kind of really knocked you sideways.

KITCH - Yeah. That was another time, it was in like a cypher event, so where everyone gets passed the mic and you just showcase your skills really. And this was early last year. I was in a circle, I got passed the microphone, then the beat dropped, I went to say the first word but then I just couldn't say it. And it's like, I'm not sure… Have you see the '8 Mile' Eminem film where he's just holding the mic and not saying anything? It was like similar to that but it's like…

SHANNON - Right. It's the tension building.

KITCH - I physically couldn't say it, so I didn't get booed off stage it was like I didn't earn any respect from doing that. And then soon after that I quit, I couldn't take it.

SHANNON - That must have been really hard.

KITCH - Yeah.

SHANNON - How did you come back from that to get back on stage?

SIMON - You've got to get back on the horse, yeah.

SHANNON - Yeah, you've got to do it.

KITCH - Well, there were a few big points in my life. To name a few, I got excluded from the school, so I was at home all day, every day, not doing anything, feeling depressed. And then purely because of the love of it I started to rap again and it was extremely therapeutic for me. And when I had my time off I spent months all day, every day, just writing, practising my craft. And then there were those few months where I felt like I really improved massively.

SIMON - Did you get excluded from school just to add to the story for your film later on in life? [laughter] You almost made it a good thing, that you found your true vocation. I'm sure it was a lot more complicated than that.

KITCH - It's turned out to be a good thing, but at the time everyone was extremely upset about it and of course I didn't know what was next for me.

SIMON - Are we allowed to ask why you were excluded? Do you want to go there or do you want to say for the script, it's for the film?

KITCH - Well it's not… I just had a fight. The reason why I prefer not to say but it was dumb, I was like an immature little kid and fiery, so he just sparked me and I let loose.

SIMON - Okay. There's more tension in the room now.

SHANNON - You'd better watch yourself, Simon.

SIMON - Was it a love rivalry? Was it something like that or…?

KITCH - There was a girlfriend involved, or an ex-girlfriend involved, but yeah.

SHANNON - It's always a woman.

SIMON - Okay, there's so much material here.

SHANNON - Have you rapped about it? Have you written anything about that?

KITCH - I have mentioned it slightly in a few songs.

SHANNON - A few undertones.

SIMON - So those of us who are in the know, who know your street history, we're going to… [laughter] What? Okay, so…

SHANNON - Yeah, nice attempt at street cred, Simon.

SIMON - Oh, there's that reference. This is my favourite question. So those people who might have a disability or some sort of difference and they're not confident enough to go on stage, what would be your advice to them?

KITCH - I was exactly the same. The thing with me is I'm extremely motivated, and if I'm honest, if you love something you will do whatever you can to be able to excel in that area. So I think it was a pure love that I had for hip-hop and also the fact that I had nothing else going for me. But I think it was like the pure love and of course the hard work.

SHANNON - Which hip-hop artists inspire you the most?

KITCH - I like old school rappers.

SHANNON - We're old school, we can do that.

SIMON - Yeah, how old?

KITCH - I'm talking '80s, '90s 2000s, from that range.

SHANNON - Yeah, see that's my era.

SIMON - Grand Master Flash.

KITCH - Yeah.

SIMON - I knew all the words to 'The Message', all eight minutes of it, yeah, yeah.

SHANNON - Fab 5 Freddie.

BRIONY - Can I just say something to Kitch?

SHANNON - Go for it.

BRIONY - I just want to say as a teacher I think you're spreading an incredible positive message and I think it's amazing. And what you just said about if you love something and you put in the effort to get there that you will excel, I think that's awesome.

KITCH - Thank you.

BRIONY - It's true.

SIMON - Thanks, Briony.

KITCH - Yes, so my influences are like Rakim, Eminem, Nas, like the real lyricists, as I put a lot of emphasis in my lyrics.

SIMON- You know, if I said you can't do it anymore, Kitch, what would you fancy doing if it was something else?

KITCH - I would still be involved in music, whether it's sound engineering, which I'm learning now, or being a manager or something. I've just got the passion for music and if I can help someone else who wants to be an artist and I can feel that energy from them I will help them as much as I can.

SIMON - Briony I think needs to come in again. That was a good answer as well wasn't it?

BRIONY- That was amazing. You're so eloquent, honestly.

KITCH - Thank you.

SHANNON - I know.

BRIONY- Incredible.

SHANNON - Can I just also say, because for the people who can't see on the podcast, Kitch is gorgeous. I'm just putting that out there. [laughter] Just putting it out there.

SIMON - Kitch has now gone red.

SHANNON - Sorry.

SIMON - Niamh?

NIAMHWe asked Simon and Shannon to get creative and write a disability related rap.

SHANNON - Oh, God.

NIAMH- Now, Kitch, you're going to decide which one is the best.

KITCH - Sure.

NIAMH- And okay so…

SHANNON - I've been so excited about this.

NIAMH- So I've been doing some beatboxing lately [laughter] which you are going to be hearing in our most recent podcast, so myself and Kitch are going to try and accompany them. Kitch, I think you're going to have to take the lead on this, but we're going to start with Shannon. Have you got your rap there ready?

SHANNON - I have. This is the most embarrassing moment of my on air life.

NIAMH - Okay. I'm trying to work out what kind of beat to do, I mean is there some sort of like…?

SHANNON - I think a kind of [sings a beat]. Something like that.

NIAMH- [sings a beat]

SHANNON - Yeah, I don't know. Oh, this is mortifying.

NIAMH - Kitch, help me out. Do you do any beatboxing?

KITCH - I can't beatbox.

NIAMH- Oh please. No!

SIMON - Last month we had to blooming do a poem. I mean this is brutal what we have to do now.

SHANNON - Oh no, no. Dear God.

NIAMH - No, no!

SIMON - They're filming it.

SHANNON - The joy of a podcast is you can't be seen.

NIAMH- Oh my goodness, I thought we were really going to get away with it.

SHANNON - Oh, for anybody listening, they've come in and they're recording it on their phones. Oh, God. Okay, right, have I got to start? Can you bring me in?

NIAMH - [beatboxing]

SHANNON - [rapping] My name is Shannon, I glide in my chair. It goes like a cannon blowing wind through my hair. Haters looking on, what they don't know, is my chair is completely useless when it's stuck in snow. Twenty miles or more it goes pretty fast, what was that they say? It's Shannon whizzing past. So if you can't keep up don't hold me back, I'm striving onwards and upwards, there's no return of this Mack. [applause] If I would drop the mic I would drop the mic.

NIAMH- My heart sank when you turned the page, I thought, there's more? [laughs]

SHANNON - Oh, God.

KITCH - I loved the American accent you put on.

SHANNON - Thanks. I couldn't do it in a normal accent, there was no way I could do it in a London accent. I tried, it was like no, I have to create a persona, it's American, I'm going back, it's the '90s. Living the dream.

SIMON- Kitch, are you feeling you're under threat with Shannon's rap?

KITCH - I think so, yeah. I think I might need to up my game now.

SHANNON - Yeah, he's really worried, yeah.

SIMON - Yeah. Did you write that when you were excluded from school? [laughter] Stoke Mandeville, is that when all that came out?

SHANNON - I don't want to talk about it, man, it was hard times.

SIMON- My vanity wants me to take my glasses off because it is being filmed, but it I do I can't go to read it very well, so I have no choice, it's so uncool.

NIAMH- Out of interest, how long is it?

SHANNON - It's just about six pages at the minute.

NIAMH- Yeah, it looks that way because my throat's going.

SIMON- I've taken loads of letters that my parents wrote about my early birth and then I've… No, I haven't really.

SHANNON - God, I thought this is going to be a downer.

SIMON- The first bit is taken from 'Wham Rap!' in the mid '80s, which I'm surprised you didn't mention, Kitch.

SHANNON - Come on, come on. Less excuses, more rapping.

SIMON - Right. Hey everybody take a look at me. Ha! You do that already. I may not have a job but I have a good time, with disabled peeps just like mine. We sit in the studio, want to be so coolio, reality is I'm a complete foolio. I don't get paid and I don't get laid, all this messes with my moodio. Ouch is the place, there's plenty of space, we just need a fit, that means your face. We like attitude, we like truth. We like funny, even Emma does goof. Off with you now, I've done my piece, rapping ain't me, it's too much grief.

SHANNON - Phew. Bravo, bravo.

SIMON- That was just exhausting clapping, it's like…

NIAMH- Yeah, that beatboxing's hard work.

SIMON- Kitch, what did you think of my rap?

SHANNON - He swore. He said bad words.

KITCH - I'd like to say I loved the attitude, I think it really works in the rap world, yeah.

SIMON - Thanks. Thank you very much.

NIAMH- Which was the best, Kitch?

KITCH - [inhales] Well, from a lyrical standpoint, and excuse me if I'm going rap geek mode here, but he had some multi syllable rhyme schemes…

SHANNON - Oh, my God.

KITCH - Which I appreciate so I've got to hand it to Simon.

SHANNON - I bet he googled that last night.

KITCH - Well done.

SIMON - Thank you, Kitch, thank you for your feedback.

SHANNON - Thank you, Kitch, even though I didn't win.

SIMON - I am still warm from rapping. I don't know if it's embarrassment or something. That is the end of the Ouch talk show for November. Kate and I will be back in December from the big studio, that's number 80A. We're planning a bit of a Christmas themed show so watch this space. If you've any thoughts or ideas, brilliant listener, drop us an email. It's ouch@bbc.co.uk or Twitter @bbcouch.

SHANNON - And huge thanks to our guests, Briony Williams, Ruth Madeley, Kitch and his pianist Myelle. [sp?]

SIMON - Thank you for stepping in, Shannon, it's been lovely having you here with your throaty voice.

SHANNON - Thank you.

SIMON - The team were Niamh Hughes, Daniel Gordon and producer, Emma Tracey. The studio manager was Robbie Heyward. [sp?]

SHANNON - Let's finish the show with a track from Kitch, and it's over to you, Kitch, to introduce the track.

KITCH - Well, I'll be doing a song about my star and it's called 'Miracle'.

[music: 'Miracle']

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