Sunday, 24 March 2013

I was a Guest of Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4

Will Hadcroft, BBC Radio 4, Siam Williams, Richard Cole, Saturday Live.

Above from left to right: Guests Richard and Alison Warden, presenter Sian Williams and myself.
In the foreground presenter Richard Coles and author Mark Haddon.
Photo copyright Theresa Cutts

On Saturday 23 March, I was the guest of Sian Williams and Richard Coles on the BBC Radio Four programme Saturday Live.

The main guest was author Mark Haddon, author of the international bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. He has had his book transformed into a stunning new stage play at London's West End.

Alison and Richard Warden were also guests. They told the heart warming story of how they met when they were children, married as adults, ran highly successful businesses, grew apart, divorced, married other people, before finally finding one another again in later life and falling in love and marrying one another a second time.

The character Christopher in Mark Haddon's Curious Incident is similar to a textbook case of a youngster grappling with Asperger's syndrome, and in one edition of the book was publicised as such. Saturday Live had invited me on to represent a real life person who has the condition, so I imagined that I would follow him, be interviewed for about ten minutes, and then be booted off. But, in the end, I remained for the whole 90 minutes and was allowed to contribute to the rest of the show.

Sian and Richard were lovely, and told me that they'd had a tremendous response via email and text, but because we'd all got so engrossed in our discussion on the programme, there was no time to read any of them out or take a phone call or two.

Before I arrived at Broadcasting House, I thought I would find Mr Haddon in particular intimidating, but he turned out to be completely charming, even saying that he intended to read John Christopher's Tripods trilogy, buy the BBC TV series adaptation on DVD, and download Leonard Cohen's First We Take Manhattan because of my enthusiasm for them!

This time round, I thank producer Debbie Sheringham for inviting me on, and my PR Theresa Cutts for representing me.

The entire programme is available on the BBC's Listen Again service. Please click on this link and then click on Listen Now:


Miranda B said...

You were AMAZING on Saturday Live and I love your blog. When I was 19, I was told I had traits of Aspergers - and now I understand it more, I can identify so much of it to me. It answers so many things. Thank you for all that you do.

Will Hadcroft said...

Thank you for your kind remarks, Miranda. I'm happy to know that my comments were of use.

Be sure to check out the videos on this site. I think some of them will resonate with you.


Sonya Katasheva said...

I really enjoyed listening to this programme. I am pleased you got a diagnosis. Aspergers seems more common amongst men that women, though when I took a (non-diagnositc) test - to see what my "AQ" was - I scored quite highly, but not enough to get a proper diagnosis, as you say sometimes it's good to have one because it helps other people! However it is difficult for people like myself who aren't "quite there" to get any real diagnosis, but at least maybe we can understand ourselves better :)

Will Hadcroft said...

Hi Sonya,

I think part of the promlem with diagnosing some women on the spectrum is that, since women tend to be naturally better at social interraction than men, the awkwardness in social situations doesn't come across strong enough and the other Asperger traits are then put down to other things.

Another difficultly when diagnosing adults is, by the time they see a psychologist in their adult life, they've found their own ways of coping, and so appear to clinicians not to have the syndrome. I describe myself as "borderline" for this very reason.

I diagnosed myself in 2003, and only got a formal diagnosis in 2008 because my employer insisted on (and arranged) it. I'm sure that had they not, I would still be undiagnosed now.

But knowing about the condition does, as you say, help to understand a few things about oneself and make life a little easier.