May. 11 2016

Behind the Scenes of a Cinderella Story in Leicester

(and also ramen and Oxford)

After traveling to Windsor the week before for the Queen’s 90th birthday, I prepared for Week 5 to take a backseat and be a little less exciting. What’s better than a cheery old lady promenading from her castle to thousands of adoring fans?

Oh Mel, you silly Canadian.

Tuesday brought Robert to London. All of a sudden, I had someone to do all the romantic-y fun London tourist things that I’d neglected, like going on the London Eye.

Nothing says 'romance' than an out of focus rain shot with shiny lights. (Mel Hattie/Mel Had Tea)
Nothing says ‘romance’ than an out of focus rain shot with shiny lights. (Mel Hattie/Mel Had Tea)

Going on ramen dates:


Some of the best ramen I’ve discovered in this city is at Tonkotsu. They have six locations across the city and their signature dish has pork broth simmered for up to 18 hours. It is silky and delicious and more please. (Mel Hattie/Mel Had Tea)

And strolling around the pastoral academia that is Oxford University:


Charming doors with primary colours in Oxford, U.K. (Mel Hattie)
Charming doors with primary colours in Oxford, U.K. (Mel Hattie)



Found this babe hanging out at an ancient university. (Mel Hattie)

Oh yeah, CBC. Right. Focus.

I did feel a bit guilty at having to work 10am-6pm as he was here throughout the week, but he occupied himself by doing fun tourist stuff and then we met up every night when I finished at the CBC and we’d rendezvous near Oxford Circus.

My brain was in a bit of a haze as my pitch to do a story on FGM education in the U.K. had been accepted and I was in the midst of lining up interviews and finding people to talk to for the story, so sometimes when I was with Rob I’d suddenly zoom in on a thought and then have to reel myself back in to the present (sorry, babe!).

It was a good week at CBC. On Wednesday the Royal College of Physicians released a recommendation that e-cigarettes be offered to smokers trying to quit, including the statistics that vaping is 95% safer than smoking (although in the same breath the report said that they still don’t know all the long term side effects of e-cigarettes).

Off to report the news, I headed out with Thom to find a vape shop we could shoot in front of. We landed out in front of a place called Vaperz near the British Library where we stayed until 4pm, doing live hits for CBC News Network. At one point Rob stopped by and dropped off some sandwiches and coffee, which was nice.

See! I exist behind the camera! Doing things! (Thanks Thomas Daigle)
See! I exist behind the camera! Doing things! (Thanks Thomas Daigle)

In between hits we shot and sent (via Dejero) a teaser for Thom’s piece on Leicester City soccer which was airing that night on the National, and during our last hit, we were visited by a woman who very much wanted to be on T.V.

Luckily, Twitter was there to capture the moment for us:

Thank you, Twitter.

The next day, we were on the train up to Leicester to report on the Leicester City foxes soccer story. To sum it up: Premier League soccer in Europe is usually won by big teams with lots of money who then get more money by winning more games, in this very ouroboros cycle. This year, Leicester City, a tiny team with no money who finished 14th in the league last year ended up winning the league on Monday, May 2, beating 5000-1 odds. Definitely a family channel movie-in-the-making. Every time the story gets told, the phrase ‘Cinderella story’, ‘underdogs’ or ‘fairytale in the making’ gets thrown in.

Check out those Air Force 1s. (Mel Hattie/Mel Had Tea)

We headed up to Leicester on April 29 (my birthday!), pre-win. It so happened to be blue day (totally planned) and everyone in town was sporting the team’s colours.

We weren’t the only journalists around. It was also a really strange weather day. At this point we were having flat out hale, then ten minutes later the sun was out. (Mel Hattie/Mel Had Tea)
Giant meat pie with the players’ names on it. (Mel Hattie/Mel Had Tea)

It was a really fun day. There were lots of fun people to talk to, lots of run things to shoot and a live interview by a Leicester Shop owner who is the sole printer of Leicester City merchandise. Not a bad way to spend a birthday. Plus, I got to ride the train and it is a truth, universally acknowledged, that trains are awesome.


When we headed back to town I headed off to Covent Garden to meet with Rob and our friend Matt at the MEATMarket for  beers, burgers and birthday milkshakes. My batteries were dead, so there are no photo, but there are lots of stomach memories.

Matt also may or may not have accidentally tossed his glasses in the garbage along with our food trays. We may never know (Matt – did you find your glasses?).

Responses also started trickling in for my FGM story, so all in all, a really good week.