The national treasure that is Jenni Falconer has had a career that many could only wish for. From her work on GMTV and This Morning to gracing London’s Heart FM airways, she is a force to be reckoned with and is about to conquer so much more! We sat down to chat about her latest ventures with Forces Radio BFBS, and what it was like to drive a tank…yes you read correct, a tank!
What is your motivation behind being involved with Forces Radio BFBS?
Our forces do an incredible job and I hope that they feel appreciated. I’ve always admired the courage, focus and dedication to the job and was curious to get a little taster of what might be involved when it came to tank driving. I present on Heart, 6 days a week, from a studio in Central London, my life is entirely different to the guys and girls in the forces so even just to see what it’s like to be on board a tank would give me more of an indication of the conditions our forces are dealing with on a daily basis.
Can you tell us about the tank activity that you did with Forces Radio BFBS?
I was invited along to learn how to drive a tank-and obviously I jumped at the chance, opportunities like this don’t come along often! So I was presented with some challengers by Nick, the tank commander. First to drive the tank through deep water and emerge the other side. Then to drive around a track and be able to steer the tank confidently. Finally to balance on a knife edge and keep the tank still. To pass you need to succeed in all 3 tests. Now, I love a challenge but sadly this one proved tricky simply because it was truly impossible to get the tank out the water! We got stuck and had to be pulled out in the end.
Have you ever driven anything like a tank before? How did you find it driving that massive machine?!
No I’ve never commandeered anything like a tank before. Nobody has ever trusted me! I really enjoyed being in charge of it though-it was heavier than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I knew there’d be no power steering but I hadn’t quite realised it would require so much brute force to manoeuvre the levers. It was interesting to learn that the way to operate a tank is inspired by the way the calvary used to horse ride…. when you’re driving it, there are similarities to pulling on reins.
How important do you think Forces Radio BFBS is?
It’s so important to remind the forces that they’re not alone. I work on Heart FM 6 days a week and know first hand that radio brings a community together, albeit this community is spread out round the world and often in some pretty far flung and remote places. The fact that there’s news, chat and music keeps them in the loop and what’s more, knowing your friends, family and colleagues are also listening makes everything seem that little less isolating. Radio is a very intimate medium and sometimes when you’re on your own, the radio acts as a friend chatting to you. Music is also hugely powerful in that it can be heartwarming, triggering fond memories from the past as well as becoming the soundtrack for other memories which have been newly created ones. Music can also help people bond which is key for the forces away from home.
Have you had family or friends in the forces? Tell us a bit please
My grandad served in the forces during the war. On the day he was due to be deployed, he lined up with his half-brother and they then numbered them 1,2,1,2…and so forth. My grandad was a 1, his brother was a 2. That was to be the last time they saw each other….
What other projects do you have going on that we can look out for?
I currently work on radio myself, on a station which prides itself in playing upbeat, feelgood songs so listeners can remember happy times. 6 days a week, I wake the nation up with an early breakfast show on Heart. Mon-fri I am on air 4-6am, and on Sundays I get a lie in as I’m on 6-9am!
Forces Radio BFBS is a non-commercial, totally ad-free broadcaster with charitable status, which entertains, informs, connects and champions the British Forces community, operating in over 20 countries across the world.
As well as a national network on DAB+, Forces Radio BFBS has a network of community-based radio stations across the UK. Its audience includes the UK armed forces and their families, veterans and many other people who enjoy its winning mix of music, chat and military-style camaraderie.
Search for Forces Radio BFBS across the UK on DAB+ For more information on Forces Radio BFBS please visit https://www.forces.net/radio/stations/bfbs-uk
Keep up with Jenni Falconer’s adventures though her socials below:
For more information on Forces Radio BFBS, please visit https://www.forces.net/radio/stations/bfbs-uk