It’s been a tough couple of days, but sitting in the GMTV green room at about 7.10am this morning, a ball of energy bounded in that could put a smile on a slab of granite…
His name is Jack Norfolk, and he needs to be encountered to be believed.
The four year old is the new star of Children’s Hospital that’ll start on ITV1 tonight. I didn’t know that when he walked in, but a quick google afterwards (see this Manchester eve news article which includes a pic) showed me the little chap from Withington in Manchster (coincidentally, I was born at Withington Hospital) has kidney problems and is on a nightmare four hours of daily dialysis.
Yet none of that’s what greets you with Jack – it’s more a big smile and effortless charm…
“You’re right that is boring”
Before he arrived I was sitting on the green room sofa hastily writing a quote about the leaked budget story on basic bank accounts – having just had it confirmed.
Then he walks in accompanied by people from the programme, and his mum, strides over to me and opens up.
Jack: “Do you know doctor Hilary, will doctor Hilary be in”?
Me: “I do know Dr. Hilary” (I look at Brenda who’s in charge of the green room and she shakes her head) “but he won’t be in today, he’s a lazy bum and decided not to get up this early”.
Jack: “What are you doing now”?
Me: “I’m writing something VERY boring on my computer…”
Jack: “I’ll change that let me see” – he then moves my bag and phone, climbs up on the sofa (literally climbs he’s a very wee boy), bounds up next to me, leaning elbow on my leg to see the screen and complains, “it’s too small I can’t see it”.
So I increased the font size of the sentence which was, “Speaking to political sources, it’s confirmed tomorrow’s budget will confirm the government’s plans to legislate for a universal service obligation – though that’ll require legislation and with an election due that means ‘plans’ is the operative word.”
Jack starts to read it out loud, and makes quite a few mistakes so I help him – I only later realised he was just four, in which case reading any of it is quite an achievement. After reading he confirms:
Jack: “You were right it is boring. Can I have your autograph instead?”. So I signed him an autograph.
The transcript doesn’t quite do it justice, picture a little chap buzzing around. After he’d finished with me he started talking to everyone, a delightful disrespect for who they were or what they were doing, asking anyone who seemed relevant for an autograph.
There are many kids usually popping in there, but I’ve never seen one before who so effortlessly becomes the centre of attention.
Only later reading a bit more about him did I realise quite what a little hero he is.
I don’t normally watch programmes like Children’s Hospital, but I may do so just to see Jack – with charisma like that he’s a true star in the making.