The Repair Shops Jay Blades admits its scary accepting vulnerability ahead of BBC doc

The Repair Shops Jay Blades admits its scary accepting vulnerability ahead of BBC doc

01/07/2022

This Morning: Jay Blades discusses learning to read

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Fans of The Repair Shop know Jay Blades, 51, as a fun loving, care-free soul. But the creator is about to bravely allow the world to see him at his most vulnerable, as his opens up about his struggles in his new BBC One documentary called Learning To Read At 51.

It’s scary to accept your vulnerability

Jay Blades

In a recent interview ahead of the insightful programme’s launch, which sees him join forces with other people learning to read with the help of a charity, he spoke candidly of how he’s had to overcome feelings of “shame” about getting to grips with reading while in his fifties.

The charity organises volunteer coaches who help readers on a one to one basis, by using a system which started in prisons.

It comes after Jay was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 31 while studying criminology at Buckinghamshire New University.

He had struggled with literacy for years before, but the presenter was stunned to learn he had the reading age of an 11-year-old child.

In the film, the TV star tells viewers how it’s impacted his life to the point where he had to get a stranger on the street to read an important letter from the hospital to him.

Jay, who lives in Wolverhampton, has a PA to read emails sent to him by TV producers, and said that learning to read phonetically felt like “going back to nursery”.

He told The Sunday Times: “I do feel shame.

“It’s scary to accept your vulnerability.

“But every time I get a word right I’m a kid at Christmas.”

As he was diagnosed with dyslexia as a mature student, instead of physically reading copy he began using an exam scribe.

And when it comes to sending messages, he tends to send voice notes or dictated texts.

He also revealed that for the first three years, he never once read the written summaries of The Repair Shop interviewees that each host is given ahead of filming.

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“The beauty of dyslexia, and 20 years of community work, is that it gives you the emotional intelligence to draw out a story,” he explained, noting he uses that to his advantage when he’s presenting.

“That’s my role.”

Of his forthcoming documentary, he admitted: “Learning to read is going to be the toughest challenge for me.

“On this journey I’ll be meeting people who can’t read, for whatever reason, and hopefully helping them.”

He added: “I’d love this film to inspire the millions of other adults in the same situation as me.”

Jay Blades: Learning To Read At 51 will air on BBC One soon.

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