VIDEO: BBC sports presenter Jake Humphrey accepts honorary doctorate from UEA
12:30 17 July 2012
BBC sports presenter Jake Humphrey revealed he was once fired for a “lack of communication skills” before launching the TV career which has now earned him an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia.
The Norfolk-born star is best-known for his Formula One motor racing coverage but will be covering the track cycling events as a key part of the BBC’s Olympic team this summer.
He said he was proud and humbled to receive his Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law in his home county – and his journey to the university ceremony reminded him how far he had come.
“I worked in McDonalds when I was doing my A Levels and it was decided, despite the fact I spent most of my time standing on my own frying chips, that I didn’t have the right communication skills to do that job, so they let me go,” he said. “It was a tough time; you’re 17 years old and you get booted out from that and you think: ‘Blimey the world is hard out there’.
“I hadn’t really thought about it until we drove here today, we came around the corner and there was the very restaurant where I worked and got fired from and I thought: ‘That’s a nice piece of symmetry, the fact that happened to me and yet here I am on my way to get an honorary doctorate.
“I don’t think you ever really feel that you’ve earned something like this. It’s a real feeling of pride. I’m really humbled that the university has decided that what I’ve achieved over the last ten or so years has been enough to be worthy of being here today.”
Jake, 34, attended Framingham Earl High School and then attended sixth form at the Hewett School, but he did not study at university before launching his screen career with Anglia TV.
But after finally earning his place alongside the academic elite, he said it would be a proud moment for his parents, his wife and his in-laws.
“Of my four parents, three of them were teachers, so there’s a real academic thrust in my family,” he said. “My father-in-law was the head teacher of Great Yarmouth High School and my mother-in law worked there, and my mum was head of food technology at the Hewett School for over 20 years. So for them to see me standing here today with my gown and cap on is really something.”