The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius

45 Welcome To The Clearing: Michelle Matherson - BBC Creative & Diversity Partner & TV Wonder Woman!

March 05, 2021 Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian
The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius
45 Welcome To The Clearing: Michelle Matherson - BBC Creative & Diversity Partner & TV Wonder Woman!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to another particularly exciting Episode (they're all exciting obvs obvs obvs!) of "The Good Listening To Podcast" with me Chris Grimes!

And please welcome to "The GLT Clearing" for her "Moment in the Sunshine!"  - one of many in her illustrious career so far, in fact - Michelle Matherson!

Michelle Matherson brings a wealth of Talent & Production experience as a long established TV Executive - and is an all round highly regarded TV "Wonder Woman" and awesome pants!  

With a passion for - and specialising in - all things Diversity & Inclusivity. 

Michelle has also recently been appointed "BBC Creativity & Diversity Partner".

Michelle and I also have History! 

We trained together as Drama Teachers for 4 years at "The Royal Central School of Screech & Trauma" (!) - not to age us both - but circa 1982-6!

A rich, textured conversation indeed, including a "moment in the sunshine" - quite literally - when Michelle was noticed whilst heavily pregnant and walking in the sunshine, by none other than Maya Angelou!

"And still I rise..."

Which is also one of Michelle's very favourite quotes!

A lovely-jubbly conversation - and a lovely trip down Memory Lane - was had and enjoyed by us both!


If you'd prefer to "Watch/Listen" to Michelle's interview, then you can also do that here:


So - thanks for listening to another episode of a "GLT with me CG!"

The Podcast series that features "The Clearing":  Where all good questions come to be asked and all good stories come to be told!

With some lovely juicy storytelling metaphors to also enjoy along the way:

The Clearing itself - A Tree (where we get to "shake your tree to see which storytelling apples fall out, in the form of a lovely storytelling exercise called "5-4-3-2-1") - some Alchemy - some Gold - and finally a Cake with a Cherry on Top!

Think "Desert Island Discs" but in a Clearing! 

Also think about William Shakespeare - and about Jaques in "As You Like It" in particular:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages..."

Jaques: Act II Scene VII

And as my Guest in the Podcast:  Now is your 'moment in the sunshine' to share your story!

Who are you? What's your story? And what 'life-lessons-learned-along-the-way' would you like to share with us? And just to get bit "existential on yo ass" too (!) what would you like your legacy to be?  How would you most like to be remembered?

And all my guests have at least 2 things in common: They are all Creative individuals  - and all with an interesting story to be told!

If you'd like to find out more, then please do check out my websites + www.inst

Tune in next week for more stories of 'Distinction & Genius' from The Good Listening To Show 'Clearing'. If you would like to be my Guest too then you can find out HOW via the different 'series strands' at 'The Good Listening To Show' website.

Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW wherever you get your Podcasts :)

Thanks for listening!

Chris Grimes  0:01  
And we're in! And welcome to "The Good Listening To Podcast" with me, Chris Grimes. And I'm very, very excited to be welcoming. Michelle Matherson to the good listening to podcast Clearing. I saw something on Facebook this morning, apparently friends shouldn't tell friends that 1980 was 40 years ago! Ohhh!

Michelle Matherson  0:23  
That put you off! That's kind of scary! 

Chris Grimes  0:26  
Well, we but luckily for both of us, we don't go back quite that far. But we do. sorry to tell you go back to 1982. Because Michelle Matherson we trained as you know, I know you know this, but I'm just doing this for the benefit of the listeners, which is just you and me, probabl! But we trained together at the Central School of Screech and Trauma!

Michelle Matherson  0:47  
Royal School now.

Chris Grimes  0:49  
Yeah, no, yes, the Royal School but you haven't got a Gong? Have you? Because there was something alongside your name. And I thought, is that a Gong? Have you been given a gong? A Gong? A Gong? No. One of our counterparts, there Caroline Allen has been given a Gong. And we were talking about that the last time I saw you at the Hospital Club...

Michelle Matherson  1:08  
No I haven't been given a Gong. Yet. Yet. I say yet!

Chris Grimes  1:12  
Yes. Let's all say "yet!"! That's good! So...Welcome! The Good Listening To Podcast. I'm going to curate you through The Clearing, which is where "all good Questions come to be asked - and all good Stories come to be told. And I'm delighted to speak to you. You are a TV Wonder Woman. You've recently been given in your illustrious career and experience. You're doing a job shares BBC Creative Diversity Partner, the BBC. And also you've been all about diversity and inclusion because I know in in your career, I think he started round about the time I was going off to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School after our Central School Teaching Degree. I think you started in BBC Radio Drama, didn't you?

Michelle Matherson  1:52  
I did well, I started in schools radio actually got the job as a producer. Because I had been a teacher and had worked in new theatre and understood stuff because I was a teacher so organised that when I went into my interview with all my packs, individual packs for every person on the panel, I think they were a bit impressed. So and that's in the smile and that sort of confidence that you get from Central. Yeah, got the gig. I was chuffed to bits. I like that. So

Chris Grimes  2:21  
Information packs is the way to go is it?!

Michelle Matherson  2:25  
Possible blinding with science!

Chris Grimes  2:28  
And by the way, you're always good anyway, because you also could do karate. So if you could, you could give him a job in the right place as well. I'm assuming as well.

Michelle Matherson  2:38  
Yes. I mean, for us, it was a it was a it was something I think I did throughout Central actually. And yeah, I did really well. I got through to quite a high level and, and competitions and stuff. So yeah, that kept me going. I think I had so many other things outside of Central one I was there but at the same time I was I really loved I mean, you remember it was just one of those places where you love going up the steps in the morning and just think yes, really here. And which was great. So that's not left me. So it's been a good experience. Yeah,

Chris Grimes  3:09  
there's always a wistful feeling on the tube on the Jubilee line going past Swiss Cottage I, you know, I'll never lose that sort of Friesen of excitement of all the Royals, and we called it the Central School of screech and trauma as well. I don't know if you remember that. Royal trauma now as well. So, welcome to the good listening to podcast clearing, I'm going to take you through the lovely storytelling metaphors as we go through a storytelling journey to get your your thinking to unfold. So Michelle Addison, what's your story of the day? How's morale? You talked about having had your job yesterday? So how are you? What's your story of the day?

Michelle Matherson  3:44  
What's the days that I've survived? I'm here and I have the job yesterday, which was really strange, because my partner, he's older than me, has asked me and is a teacher and he hasn't been called to have his job. And I was called without any underlying health conditions. And absolutely tickety boo. So for me, it was a bit Oh, okay. But I'm just going to go and have it. So I did and she was swept that needle went in and out and I went, Oh, great. So I came out thinking now I'm vaccinated against Coronavirus part one anyway. And I think it's been a really weird year for for everyone. And I think when you're working from home, whether you're looking after children or whether you're looking after, you know, your parents or elderly relatives, it's been a really, it's a strange time. It's not been a nice time, but at some point, at some point, it's been a really good time to connect. Yes, closer to the people that you're with and to really start appreciating life a bit. So I think having that job was a bit more of them. appreciating what I have been wanting to sort of stay with it for a bit longer. Really.

Chris Grimes  4:52  
Yeah. So it's been a real sort of calling of our presence, if you like about what's important and where our presence is most required. I think it's been Creating a very compassionate and empathic time for everyone concerned as well. So, that's your story of the day. So first of all, we're going to bring you into a clearing. So what is a clearing? like for you? Where does Michelle Matheson go to get clutter free, inspirational, unable to think.

Michelle Matherson  5:18  
I like to be outside actually. And it's, you know, I don't mind whether it's a beach or a park or somewhere, I'm a bit of a mess. My family call me a bit of a gypsy I, I love to walk around with no shoes on doesn't matter whether it's gravel, or sand or grass. And just being a little bit in tune with nature is really nice. And you're just watching, even if you're just in your garden, and you're watching that sort of wildlife that never used to be there, be there now it's sort of. So I find, when I'm in that sort of space, I can really sort of let go of the day and just kind of concentrate on me it's a bit sort of a little bit. Meditation. But again, it's a little bit of, of just just sort of unfurling all your thoughts and rationalising things, it's really hard. Sometimes you go to bed with an angry mores, and, and there comes a point in the night when you have to sleep. And then you wake up in the morning, what on earth was I angsting, about before I went to bed, it's just one of those things like that. Having that little bit of release, or especially being outside for me is important. And I think again, with with lockdown, it's meant that you value it more you value that little bit of time that you have to yourself and you value, being able to go outside and just breathe and just be still from home. And so I do appreciate that. So I think that's my kind of clearing when I can sort of sit and recount my thoughts make plans, without it being too muddled.

Chris Grimes  6:53  
I also really like the idea that you're grounded with your shoes off. So there's feet connecting to the ground. And in fact, being grounded is is a really good thing to sum you up in what I've observed about you over the last 30 years of sort of being associated and alongside you. Because I think you have a really good grounding and everything you do. And people around you always say that you are the anchor person and you're grounded. And you've often you know, in your job with my first job in TV, it's all about getting people equipped and ready from the ground up to get involved in a very exciting career. So there's something really nice about you and the word grounded.

Michelle Matherson  7:30  
Thank you. Thank you, Chris. I mean, I think it's important to understand where you are in the world in the sense of where you're places. And it's also good to understand your what, what opportunities are out there and to make the most of them. But like I say, sometimes it's just a case of taking everything in not panicking and just kind of trying to sort of filter out the noise to make those sorts of right decisions. And I think within, like my first job in TV, which I took on a couple of years ago, and the young people that come through there are wanting to embark on their first their first job or their first career. And it's, it's nice to sort of be able to help and shape and move people into their careers. It works really well. But again, I think that it's about showing people I can't give you the job, but I can give you the tools or I can give you the the direction or the opportunity. And I think for me growing up, that's always been a case making the most of that opportunity and not sort of going along with the flow where everyone's going, Oh, you can't do that. That's not possible. We're just going for it anyway. And I think I've always been a bit like that. And I mean to get to me now to get a job in lockdown, which is the BBC going back full circle. And it's really strange to be there and not actually have been into the BBC, it's all not been to my best not even got my pass. Because and you know, I've managed to sort of make the most of an opportunity and and i think that that's something that I think will stay with me for life. While it kind of is like now, isn't

Chris Grimes  9:07  
it 30 years and your new role coming full circle, as you said back to the BBC, where you started, you've you've come full circle, and it's again, it's very grounded, because it's about diversity and inclusivity. And, and giving new opportunities and fresh opportunities to people is what I understood the role to be.

Michelle Matherson  9:23  
No, absolutely. And I think that's come from, I think when I was at Central, and it was, you know, it was a it was a an amazing institution. But at the same time, there was a sort of very classist model within central that I think we were all aware of. And I think that I wouldn't want to say it was racism or anything like that. I know that I was very pro diversity even then with the plays that I did with the texts that I used, and with the with the projects that I studied or the people that I started was very much always grounded had a very strong sense of self, which is, you know, and remains. So through my time at Central probably got stronger. And, and then when I went into teaching, you know, I was teaching in a school in the East End a secondary school in the East End of London, Bethnal Green, green. And, and I taught there for four years. And I think, again, you know, with all my own background plus my training at Central, I think it was really beneficial for those young people that I was teaching because I was very much understood where they were coming from. And yet, I wanted to ensure that they understood what opportunity looked like, as opposed to sort of just accepting Yeah, this is what you're supposed to be. So I suppose my time at Central really was, you know, to find out about myself, and I think what I found out most was I was really strong, I think I was really strong in character. And I wasn't bullish or, or came across as someone who would take over, I think it was very much that I had a real solid sense of who I was. So I thought I didn't I didn't need to become somebody else, I think, even if sometimes it would have been easier. Who thinks?

Chris Grimes  11:20  
Yeah, so from the get go very authentic, very clear of your own purpose in place? And how you could help. Yeah,

Michelle Matherson  11:29  
yeah. And I think I think that was I think that's true me, it probably comes from just how I was brought up. And, and, and I think there was a time when we were at Central, and I think that we were in a class with Alan Hawkins, Eleanor.

Unknown Speaker  11:43  

Michelle Matherson  11:44  
talking about class and social class. And I remember, you know, we had a real mixture in our in our year group. And you know, from those very, very posh and privileged to those much more, you know, down, so it was a real mix. And that's what I loved about it. That's what I loved about our course, in particular. And, and I think it's really important that where you go anywhere, there's a mix, because I don't like it when it's just one I do like a good mix. But we were in a class, and we were talking about social class. And I remember they had sort of, you know, white male at the very top, but white male middle class, and black female working class at the bottom. And I do remember a couple of girls saying, Oh, yes, absolutely. And in in such and such a country, they're really late. And I just missed Oh, yes, I listened to myself. And then I said, a cane, I put my hand up. And, and it's always a bit scary when you raise your head above, above, you know, because I could have just shut up and sat at the back sort of thing. And I just said, you know, you went to this particular school, or this particular lady's college or this particular, very expensive school, and yet, I went to a comprehensive school, and yet we are sat here in the same class.

Chris Grimes  12:59  
I remember, I remember exactly who you're talking about. I remember the lecture. Wonderful.

Michelle Matherson  13:06  
You know, I think the thing is, is that it wasn't the case that that and this is the thing that I think for me, it wasn't a case of me thinking, Oh, my God, they don't understand this. So it was a case of me understanding that, when you haven't had any kind of challenges, or you haven't understood you, just, it's not i'm not going to blame you for not understanding how could you possibly know about me or my background? You don't you just have to accept that people have prejudices that may have come from their parents or their grandparents. And when they're when they're when their eyes are opened? It changes things. And I think, and I hope that my time there. I mean, we had lovely Joey blesser who's who's passed away since But Joe at our graduation run up to my mom's in a very gentle way. Oh, I know, Michelle, I know Michelle, she's, she's the only black person and it was just so funny cuz my mom just, that's really nice for you. I

Unknown Speaker  14:07  
mean, she was like,

Michelle Matherson  14:10  
my mom because you know what, it's not that she was she was genuine in her love of the fact that this is this is for her was a new thing, which is kind of a strange one. But, but I think just I just think over the years, we all got to know each other, we all got to understand things we're all in or if people who were very, very incredibly rich, and in or if people are incredibly talented. And and I think that our peer group, and even though we might not have kept in regular contact over the years, we've had a number of our own reunions, haven't we?

Chris Grimes  14:42  
We haven't up a real anchor of that in terms of grounding again, full circle, because you know, it was you were the sort of conduit. I know. You know, Jared, who was you know, Jed Stephenson, who was a lifelong friend for me, obviously, none of my wedding all that show blank. You know, he and you both got it together. We've done I think three year reunion so far.

Michelle Matherson  15:02  
And it's been they've been wonderful. It's been really nice to see everybody. And and, and I just think that that's really that just stands the test of time that you know, you're with a group that's shaped, we all shaped each other's experiences and an outlook on the world. And I think that that's really important, because we were quite open to that. And I think it's partly again, being at Central partly being on the course we were on because yes, as much as we weren't on the acting course, we were on the degree course where you ended up with something, you walked out the door with piece of paper to say, Hey, I can work, which was, I think, probably one of the best things because we got everything else. And then so I, I, you know, I, I do sort of every experience, every friendship, every connection, I do value. And I think that that's, again, part of how I've grown up, we've had my own. My mum was she was somebody who was kind of what people say born before her time. So from a Caribbean immigrant family in the sense of coming to England to do the sorts of you know, coming to help the NHS, she lasted about a year, she couldn't bear it, because that's not what she thought she should be doing. She should be working in London being you know, you know, becoming famous, and that was her kind of thing. So I think I always had that little bit of plus from my mother using the past

Chris Grimes  16:23  
tense I notice as well Michelle. So

Michelle Matherson  16:25  
now she passed away when just literally probably a year after we graduated.

Chris Grimes  16:31  
Wow, gosh, I hadn't realised so long ago. Yeah,

Michelle Matherson  16:34  
yeah, it's quite a long time going over 30 years. And she, but she was very much.

Unknown Speaker  16:40  

Michelle Matherson  16:42  
she, she understood she and she, she'd never put any barriers in front of me my brother, she was very supportive, whatever we wanted to do. And we didn't have to go into the typical you know, gun work in a bank or go and what she was very much sort of whatever you want to do, you can do if you want to be an actress go for if you want to go to Central Go for it. I mean, the day I got into central she was in the bathroom, and I just bursting because I had that letter, that letter that said, you have got in, I have a piece of paper, a piece of paper again, you see that there's a female piece of paper that says I can come in and I think it was she was so overjoyed she was going around, could we live in Peterborough then saying, Oh, my daughter Scottish Central School Speech and Drama, oh, my daughter's going to Central School. I mean, because most people say don't go to drama school, you know, go into law, what I was going to do initially go into law. And she was just over the moon because I think I was realising part of a dream that she'd had for herself. So it's it was it was, you know, she was very, but like I say, the way that we were brought up, my stepfather is Swedish, and my, my, my brother is half Swedish. And we would go to Sweden regularly, they would come here so we had a different outlook on life. We lived in a counsellor states in Croydon, which was a very white working class council State Housing not not, not high rises or anything. But the people that sort of salt of the earth type people, you know, hard, you know, core values of working hard and, and, you know, doing your best kind of thing. So, you're slightly ahead of the curve, because what I'm getting I I'm so sorry, Chris.

Chris Grimes  18:27  
And by the way, I love just coming full circle about Central, it was such a brilliant sort of genesis of an emotionally intelligent journey for us all in our very disparate ways. You know, there are 18 of us from, as you said, incredibly diverse backgrounds. And of course, you were you were the only you know, black face within the 18 of us. So of course that must have come with its own, you know, diversity challenge and inclusivity challenge, which has set you on a beautiful path of where you are now even.

Michelle Matherson  18:53  
Yeah, I think at the time, I was so used to it. I was so used to being the only black person. I mean, when I went for my audition, buki Armstrong was singing around Central and it looked like some he got this set of fame. And I thought, Oh, God, I want to come here. I think, I think as far as you know, yeah, it was it was it was and it was difficult sometimes to navigate your, your blackness without people trying to make you be like everybody else and not recognise that. So I kind of kept, I think a quite a good balance of understand, like I said, again, of understanding who, who I was and who I am to try and to try to as far as soak up as much as possible and the way that things are the way that people are so yeah, I think it's um, it was like I said it was a it was a good experience. Not always, not always a good experience as in, you know what we're talking about, you know, the one black face, but I could have easily been that One blackface. You didn't care about being black, if that makes sense.

Unknown Speaker  20:02  

Michelle Matherson  20:03  
I think I didn't, I think I always had a sense of who I was.

Chris Grimes  20:07  
And by the way that allows me beautifully to just mention the word grounded again, because there's just something lovely about you being barefoot grounded. And within your clearing. Now, you, I'm going to arrive with a tree to begin to shake your tree within the clearing while you're there barefoot, which is such a lovely image really connected to what's going on around you a true sense of who you are what you're here to bring, which is going to be a beautiful segue to the alchemy and gold that we're going to later on. So within the clearing, now, we're going to shake your tree to see which apples fall out. And this can get you back into talking about your mom, obviously, if you want to, or whatever else. But this is the storytelling exercise now where we're going to talk about 54321, where you've had five minutes or as long as you've needed before we spoke today, Michelle Matheson to think about four things that have shaped you. Three things that inspire you to things that never fail to grab your attention, hope squirrels borrowed from them. And then one quirky or unusual fact about you that we also couldn't know about you. So this is your tree to shake now just take us on the open road of how you'd like to interpret that.

Unknown Speaker  21:12  
for things that have shaped you.

Chris Grimes  21:15  
And you're, you're inferring lots of them anyway, so don't worry about repetition. Well,

Michelle Matherson  21:20  
I think I've mentioned my mother, I think that I think she was a massive influence. She was a massive influence because she was, like I say, head of her time she collected art, she painted she painted walls. She She made over furniture. She She always thought it was important for us to go out every weekend. And we we went on our first package holiday when I was nine years old, which was unheard of unheard of to go on a package holiday, everybody went down a caravan, or they went on their camper vans or whatever. But we went on a plane to New Yorker. Okay, that was and so what I suppose what I'm trying to say is that we I always felt that we were sort of one step ahead of everybody else, even though it was my mom and my two brothers. You know, we didn't have dads. So it was my mom and my two brothers the whole time. And we were looked on as a bit of an anomaly because she was black. She was very glamorous, and she spoke really posh. She's like, my friends. Just how come your mum speaks a Porsche? I gotta know. And as soon as I got home, I said, I don't know why they keep asking me so I'd have to change I'd have to switch my you know, the way that I spoke because she wouldn't have any kind of a slang talking when I was in the house. So anyway, she was very young. She was she was really loving, really bright. And I think I just you know, miss her terribly even now. And

Chris Grimes  22:55  
although you're being very moving about her because I can I honestly I'm not blowing smoke at you. I can just tell what a sort of matriarch your career has been and how proud of you she would be?

Michelle Matherson  23:04  
Yeah, she came to luckily she came to our graduation. So you remember it was Tom Conti, you gave us the the elder gave us out our certificates. Actually, it was Tom Stoppard sorry. Sorry Conti came to me when I when it came to me Sorry.

Chris Grimes  23:20  
Like your vision was somebody

Michelle Matherson  23:21  
I spoke to when I was doing radio drama that Tom Stoppard big button. So it's Tom Stoppard. And my mom came to graduation and she was as proud as proud as punch. So I think, I think in a way, she died, maybe maybe a year or 18 months later. So So for me, it was really important that she got to see that milestone and on what I am, what I was beginning to become. And presumably

Chris Grimes  23:47  
This was very unexpected. It was just it. What happened to your mom? Yeah, she

Michelle Matherson  23:51  
had cancer. And it was very aggressive. Yeah, she in New York, it was it was so quick. It was so quick that by timing, she said, You must go and talk to my doctors. They said Your mother has two weeks to live. And that was just the most I mean, she lived for three. So once the two weeks of thought they got back completely wrong. But yeah, it was it was tough. It was really tough. And I just I think must have been about two years after central cuz I think I've just had a scar on she was she was three months. So yeah, it was it was quite tough. So that's my, that's one. And number two out of my shaping and my children. And my children have been a real source of inspiration, especially now that they're older. But when they were young, I mean, they were sort of Pascal kept me going after my mother died because she was a baby. She needed to have a mother. And my daughter Rachel came along two years later. And again, another joy and then like 13 years later came on my son, which was a bit of a surprise. Again, a lovely one. And so so the three children, I'm really, really proud. of my eldest is working in investment.

Chris Grimes  25:04  
I'm making an assumption here I'm talking about two fathers here. Is that correct? For your three children?

Michelle Matherson  25:08  
Yeah, my I was married, I was married to to Michael and had Pascal and Rachel. And then I was with Lauren, which is a meal small, but four by 11 years, my hug I had had a meal. And so yes, I've, you know, it's it's not been easy when you split up and break up from from partners, especially when you want that happy ever after. But sometimes that's what it has to be. And I think also, I don't necessarily fit into sort of a stereotype. So my, I think sometimes it's a difficult one for for some men, not all but for some men to, you know, they want to rather keep you contained, and it's very difficult to that can't be contained really in that way. I have to sort of be allowed to do I need to do and, and there has to be a form of trust, so but you know, um, anyway, it's, it's fine. I mean, my goals are lovely. I also have a granddaughter, and she is five and she's gorgeous. And so I'm, you know, my my children, my youngest is at university, and he's doing quantity surveying, but he's also worth, you know, potential footballer, so he's been doing a lot alongside but obviously with COVID. That's all kind of gone to the wayside for men, but he is training and stuff. So like I say, and my eldest, she's just bought her own place in London, and she's working in the city and yeah, and and engaged. So I'm very, I'm very proud of my three kids. So I think there's a little bit of me in them. But I think there's also this bit, but I think I'm in admiration of you know, when you sort of children anything, had that happen? Yeah, get that kind of personalities, you see a little bit of yourself, or your partner, your wife, your husband, but there is something about them them themselves, which is kind of unique. And that's what I always marvel at. So takes your breath away, and it's all inspiring. Absolutely. That's really, really yeah, that's that. Um,

Chris Grimes  27:10  
and then I suppose, while the family is such a core there of what you've just described,

Michelle Matherson  27:15  
yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I think shapes me.

I suppose. My, my roots have shaped me. My, my elder family has shaped me. So my roots on my mom was from Jamaica. And I didn't know my dad, so and there was never really any talk about him. So I

Chris Grimes  27:45  
just switched it around, as far as you know, or is he gone? Oh, it's really you just don't know.

Michelle Matherson  27:51  
I absolutely have no idea. Yeah. But I, I am I, my family in Jamaica, my grandpa, my grandfather, Grandpa, aunts, extended family, we went back quite a lot when I was younger. And to get that feeling of where you come from, especially when you're in a country where sometimes when you went especially when I was younger, was like go back to your own country. You think I remember going to my mum and saying, oh, somebody said to me, go on, go back to your own country. And I said, Oh, pay me then. And I'll go back and my mom just stonyface and she just went, this is your country. And I'll never forget that. So it's this sort of feeling of this is my country. But where do I come from? And it's

Chris Grimes  28:38  
such a racist stereotype. And I'm astounded that you've actually experienced that bang stereotype, you know, that

Michelle Matherson  28:44  
time is not, you know, you do, whether it's whether it's in your face, or whether it's very subtle.

Chris Grimes  28:49  

Michelle Matherson  28:50  
you get that all the time. But I think family understanding when my family who my family were from people who were as your complexion right down to somebody who's 70, black, that was my family, when I saw the morning to make room. And how everybody was and that that warmth and that love and that ease of just been who they are. Yeah. And allow you know, it was? Yeah, it was a it was that was quite magical. Going back to somewhere where your mom would talk about or when I was growing up, it was this and then actually going to see it. I suppose it's like anything when we're children and our parents talk about where they're from, and then you actually go to where they were from and see what it was in their eyes. It's always it's always lovely, but I think Jamaica was an incredibly special and the first time I went with my mom and my brothers, and we were you got off the plane and you had to walk through this sort of glass corridor with with with glass on either side and people staring as you're walking through to pick up your cases, which was really bizarre. It was Norman Manley airport and I'm just walking through And the fishbowl. Yeah, it really was. And then, uh, my mom was looking and looking to see who was coming to meet us. And this woman walked straight past my mother, straight up to me, she said, Matteson your medicine. And I said, Yes. And she says, where's your mother when I said, there. And she looked at my mom and said, GLORIA Oh, and my mom obviously had changed so much that she didn't recognise it. But recognise it because of me, because I looked like my family. So I was dead, thrilled to know that I would actually belong somewhere. So I think that sense of belonging is probably what I'm talking about a

Chris Grimes  30:37  
great gesture to just in that one and make you know that you belong where you've got. Again, it's grounding it grounded, you, you landed, you grounded, see what I did there. I'm glad you did.

Michelle Matherson  30:52  
And then the last one, I suppose of the full. Oh, um, I suppose I would say love. And I mean, you know, regardless of whether it's relationships, or friendships, I think love is so important. And I think so over the years, I've, I've always had that sort of love of things. And I've never stopped being open. And maybe my version of love might be slightly different, but the sort of acceptance of loving being with enjoying being with and getting that sort of special kind of warm glow. And I think that that's been something throughout my life, that's really, really important to me, sometimes it's passion, can be very passionate, sometimes it's passion. But a lot of the time, it's love, it's love of your fellow man, not of your fellow woman, it's that sort of feeling of being connected, and being grounded

Chris Grimes  32:02  
with a little bit of common poise in there as well. And by the way, one thing I say, remember about you is just the tambour and the sound of your laugh over four years, you would hear Michelle Madison in the corridors, you just have a very, that's Hello, Michelle, coming around the corner. We've done beautifully, four things that have shaped you, thank you for that. Now, three things that inspire you. Again, if there's any overlap, or resonance, that's completely fine. So we've got four, three things that inspire you now.

Michelle Matherson  32:34  
And three things that inspire me. I think I'm, I'm always inspired by stories of people who've achieved throughout, you know, against all odds kind of thing. And I like I like sort of, I like things that inspire me are about people who've achieved and done well, or people who have a really interesting story, I love listening to other people's stories. And when sometimes you get that, and you think that really resonates with me, and, and so that can be sort of inspirational. And throughout my life I've met people met, you know, been really closely connected, and then you drift away. And it's not that when that drifting away that you're known, you're just you've got your elastic band that's just a little bit longer comes to people. And, and I've always been inspired by, by, you know, people who have done well, I think that's something where and you kind of look at think that's, that's pretty amazing.

Chris Grimes  33:37  
With your love of stories, have you ever considered working in television? Maybe?

Michelle Matherson  33:45  
Yes, I have a little bit. And yeah, I mean, and I think that that's, I think the sort of inspirational things from stories is really important. I think music isn't so important and is again, it's a form of inspiration. And when you hear certain bits of music, whether it's a ballad, or whether it's you know, a bit of jazz or if it's some kind of jungle or reggae, there's something in that that's quite inspirational when especially when you listen to lyrics and you think, oh, that means something to me so I can take inspiration from from from music, and

Chris Grimes  34:24  
very eclectic range there and the types of music that would give you

Unknown Speaker  34:27  
an eclectic I think,

Michelle Matherson  34:31  
I think it's really I think, I think I've always been slightly on the outside of everything when it comes musically. And I have periods when I like all you know, don't soul jazz funk. I used to be in jazz funk, Konya, Parliament funkadelic, and that whole kind of range of stuff. But obviously when I got to Central that just wasn't around. So it would be a case of just trying to pick up the bits that I thought were interesting like you and Jen guitars and stuff and the singing and all that sort of stuff used to meet me Meet me up a small part of

Chris Grimes  35:03  
me with a child that was always there.

Unknown Speaker  35:05  
I know it wasn't you with the guitar, but you you would you be there, Chris, you'd be there.

Chris Grimes  35:10  
I was there. Michelle. Before years I was there. I was watching you I was there.

Michelle Matherson  35:16  
I think your music say musics been very important to me. And it has kind of helped me when you know, you listen to a piece of music when you need to have some form of inspiration. Or you get inspired when you hear an old, old classic. And you think, you know what, that's made me think of this or that. So it's really about connecting with your feelings. When I listen to music. That's, that's inspirational. And I suppose, a third thing of what's inspired me.

Unknown Speaker  35:46  

Michelle Matherson  35:48  
I think it's, it's, it's the, it's where I've, I suppose as institutions where I've been and where I've worked. And it's a kind of an unusual one, because it's, it's, it's more about establishment, and I think establishment, so it's like a dirty word. But actually, it's kind of important, it's important, again, to see if you can work your way through an establishment if you can really understand it, if you can take it to task. And if you can be inspired by it, if you can be inspired by the things you do. So for example, in my current role, and I'm very inspired by the people I work with, and, and what they want to do, I'm a bit I want to do and what I've been tasked to do, in sort of ensuring that we get sort of diversity inclusion across all our programmes, our content, our programme makers, is really, really important. And so the BBC has inspired me, I mean, you know, it's been part one of those, one of his real solid parts of my life, really, we could think about, but I went there in 93, to 2013. And then again, from last year, it's a lot of my work in life has been there. So I always believed that you have to be somewhere you have to be inspired by where you are. So when I was teaching, first, first year, when I was teaching, it was one of those things where I see teachers in the staff room, fed up disillusioned, not interested in the kids whatsoever. And I just thought to myself, if I ever get blank that I have to go. And, and that again, you know, you it's only because of what you've seen and how you are and how important, you know, teaching and being in a school as inspiration or seeing the way that people works in the way that kids learn. And, and the way that teachers work incredibly hard to instil that learning. I'm still friends with young people that I taught who are now in their 40s. I mean, that's bizarre, isn't it, that you can have people come up to you again, Hello, Miss, you just think that somebody from back in the day. And so I think that's I would say, I'm inspired by the places that I've worked. I've been inspired by the people that I've worked with. And sometimes a lot of times that's institutions, and I think it's really important to you know, look at institutions establishments as as a form of inspiration. Otherwise, what's the point working there?

Chris Grimes  38:25  
And to always make sure that you stay passionate and connected as to why you're there is a really good thing as well. Yeah, by the way, similarly, I'm in touch with, I occasionally see people that I used to teach about 40 years ago, but there was a supply teaching was mostly what I did while I was getting going with my acting career. And there was a time when I'd come out of a comedy improvisation show with my company instant wit in a pub in Bristol called the Bristol flyer. And this car screeched to a halt slightly jacked up with full of big burly blokes. And honestly, I thought I was about to get the shit kicked out of the window came down, they were already sure and then really sort of hacked off into the night. And I was thinking, Well, that was good then that they liked me as a teacher. But they still remember what I did, I managed to sort of wrestle with a blind as well there while I was just telling you that story. So connection and purpose is good connects your beautifully segwaying into what's coming next because we're going to talk about alchemy golden purpose coming up next. But we now need to think about two things that never fail to grab your attention.

Michelle Matherson  39:33  

I've become a bit of a gardener. Not as in I wish I was a really good gardener I become to be very appreciative of flowers and birds. I sound like I'm a twitcher, but since this lockdown, or last lockdown whenever we locked down nearly a year now. And birds have come into my garden. So I have a blackbird called Roger

Transcribed by

Hello Michelle Matherson! And ageing us both!
TV Wonder Woman: BBC Creative Diversity Partner & Where It All Got Started
Welcome to The Clearing
Shaking The Tree: 5-4-3-2-1
Alchemy & Gold
The Cake With A Cherry On Top!