Channel 4’s Alex Brooker told how he wanted to quit after bad feedback : UPDATED

Alex Brooker at Leeds Trinity

Alex Brooker at Leeds Trinity

Award winning Channel 4 presenter Alex Brooker has branded the television industry as “ruthless” and told Leeds Trinity students how he was warned he would never make it into TV and to concentrate on print instead.

Alex was born with a twisted right leg which had to be amputated when he was baby. He now wears a prosthetic limb.

The presenter of The Jump and the award winning The Last Leg  joined Channel 4 two years ago when he entered the channel’s Half Million Quid Talent Search to find new disabled talent to work on the 2012 Paralympics.

He said: “I thought do I really want to use my disability to get ahead? I thought why not? In for a penny, in for a pound. It wasn’t for the money or the idea of getting famous it was purely because I couldn’t handle seeing people who I thought weren’t as good a journalist as me.

Alex Brooker at Journalism Week

Alex Brooker at Journalism Week

He added: “Thanks to my print experience, I was able to write a 30 second piece to camera when all the rest were struggling. You cannot be good at one thing. You need to be able to write a really good piece and edit a video clip at the same time. Times have changed.”

But today he said he almost quit television after cruel comments about The Jump.

He said: “I came in for a lot of criticism doing The Jump but in no article did anyone mention I was disabled. Which I was pleased about because it meant I was being judged on my own merit.

“During the Jump I generally wanted to quit television because I had become consumed by negative comments. It’s always easier to write something negative than positive.”

Alex Brooker at Leeds Trinity's Journalism Week.

Alex Brooker at Leeds Trinity’s Journalism Week.

Alex was chief writer on the official guide to the 2012 Paralympics and covered the opening ceremony, watched by 11 million viewers.

He said: “I got given a nine day contact. A nine day contract is a massive gamble and I almost didn’t take it. My missus convinced me it was worth it. I was the most nervous I’ve ever been. My first national live TV interview and I’m talking to the prime minister. I was so nervous I was sick in the toilets before doing it.”

Alex now lives in London but used to live in Leeds.

He explained that the best advice he can give people is that you have got to be versatile. He said: “I loved journalism, but I was so into sport, and most of all just football, that I did not look anywhere else for a job or anywhere else. That is why I do these talks. I want to teach students to do the exact same thing and not be an idiot like I was.”

Paul Marsden, Leeds Trinity lecturer, said: “Alex can show what amazing things can happen if the right opportunity is handed to you. He can hopefully encourage our students to do the same.”

TV presenter Alex Brooker talks about the Last Leg taking off, his freindship with co-presenters Adam Hills and Josh Widdicombe and returning to the show’s origins with its upcoming specials on the Winter Paralympics.

Alex’s entire speech:

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