When you Google Dave Berry a few different careers spring onto the screen. Tailoring, modelling, TV presenting, radio work, journalism…is there anything this man can’t do?
We were curious so we chatted to him to find out. From some of the funniest career “pinch me” moments we’ve ever heard, to career advice such as “always nap if you can” – this is one interview you cannot miss.
1. Hi Dave Berry, talk us through your career journey. How did you become a presenter?
I suppose it all started in a vintage clothing store in south London where I began working at 17 years of age. My two bosses Ian and Ian encouraged me to and at times insisted, I go to open auditions. The first of which was for a new Brit Flick about a group of troubled teens and was advertised in the back of The Big Issue. Having supportive employers, friends and a wonderful family allowed me the safety net to give this whole show business thing a try, I’m eternally in their debt. In 2002 I got my first presenting gig on Nickelodeon – forming an unlikely kids TV duo of Simon Amstel and myself – doing countless live links and it’s how I honed my trade.
2. You have many strings to your bow – radio, modelling, writing, TV presenting – how have you and do you juggle it all? What are your top tips?
Well the modelling hotline isn’t exactly ringing non-stop nowadays so that’s one less ball to juggle I suppose. As for everything else I’ve always found it to be about balance and the belief that one should dedicate time to each project to make it the best it can be. Obviously the comfort zone for this differs from person to person, but I have always tried to create a little wiggle room for myself – a space to stop and think before going onto the next thing. For example I know that each morning I’ll be in a production meeting for my radio show at 5:30am – I know I’ll be leaving Capital at around 11. If possible I’ll make sure I have the time to grab a tea and walk to the TV thing, or meeting or a nice spot to sit and write. And whenever possible I try to nap. Always nap if you can. I understand of course it is extremely rare that a job can even offer the potential for such a thing and after all it’s good to be busy, but these little things have certainly helped me feel fresh and prepared.
3. What has been the biggest ‘pinch me’ moment of your career so far?
I have memories that will live with me forever, images emblazoned onto my mind like meeting and interviewing a Beatle, hosting a live show to a packed wembley stadium, taking a wee next to Paul Weller at a charity concert we were both at. In fact thinking about it which I hadn’t till you asked I’ve also pee’d next to Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Matt Damon (Jason Bourne) and Andrew Scott (Sherlock’s Moriarty) and whist I wouldn’t exactly call these ‘pinch me’ moments I can take some pride in the fact I never once took a sneaky look!
Whilst I’m flattered by your kind words, I operate national treasure status on an Alan Carr scale and I’m quite a few steps behind him yet. I think the biggest change is in the various platforms which are allowing people to broadcast their own content and ideas. No longer do you need a television channel or radio station or record label to show the world what you are doing (of course all of these still help if you can get one). My agent told me a story recently of a certain online sensation who was paid £250,000 by a certain brand to go to European city of his choice and “just mess about” for a couple days and film it. I had to go through rigorous screen testing at MTV before anything remotely close to that happened to me!
Those reading this who want to broadcast or write will almost certainly be doing just that through one channel or another – and that’s key. I’m sure they are discovering how fun and fulfilling it can be too. Share your work, enter it into competitions and send it to agents, producers, and programme controllers. I have had the great honour of hosting The Student Radio Awards for the past four years and the determination and talent on show is wonderful. These people have got themselves in front of the radio world and Global, The BBC and many other companies besides are listening.
Stick with it and at the very, very least give yourself the ability to say “I gave it a try” and good luck, with the right breaks you too could be “A bit of a national treasure” in ten years.