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My Cardiff

Simon Hall

Simon Hall, is best known as the BBCís Crime Correspondent and the author of The TV Detective novels. He describes some of the remarkable events he has witnessed in his time as a television reporter.

Simon Hall

Simon Hall

I have much to thank Cardiff for Ė in summary, two wonderful careers, and some extraordinary experiences of life.

I took a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism at Cardiff from 1990 Ė 1991, and it led to me getting a job as a BBC television reporter. Itís a privileged position, which offers a unique insight into amazing events.

Last week, I was up to my waist in snow and ice in Devon, as freak storms battered the county. Itís not every day you wade through the flood water slopping around peopleís homes, whilst at the same time broadcasting live on national radio Ė or then turn a corner to find a pile of wrecked cars in tree, propelled there by the power of the storm.

Iíve seen a shipwreck and been in the midst of the modern day looters who came to claim its cargo Ė remember those extraordinary pictures of the hordes descending on the Napoli? I hovered in a helicopter above the small Cornish village of Boscastle, unable to believe the torrents of floodwater cascading through, sweeping caravans and cars along with them.

I was in London to cover the 7/7 suicide bombings, and will never forget the fear on the faces of the thousands of people pouring out of the city. I worked through the foot and mouth epidemic, with its piles of rotting carcasses littering Englandís wonderful countryside. It was an eerily silent spring, no animals left to provide the traditional symphony of the changing season.

So many striking memories.

And there have been the lighter moments. The image of being urinated on by a cow, live on air, will never leave my mind. Nor indeed will the smell. And what a softie, crying during a broadcast after witnessing the stunning beauty of the total eclipse of 1999. I can honestly say that even journalists retain some semblance of humanity.

Cardiff gave me an ideal training to cope with the stories Iíve covered; not just the course itself, but the experience of the city and its surrounds. Itís such a vibrant and varied place - riches and poverty, side by side, courts and councils and the seat of Welsh power. Not to mention the beauty of the surrounding countryside, the Gower, the valleys and the mountains.

But itís not just the remarkable life of a TV reporter for which I have cause to be grateful to Cardiff.

Four years ago, I was promoted to become a BBC Crime Correspondent, and that was when the second incarnation began to grow. I found myself drawn into the fascinating world of major criminal investigations, the primeval battle of wits between detectives and villains. And not content with reporting on true crime, I became an author of crime fiction.

Iíve now had three books published and - get this for making your life easy by a bit of judicious cheating Ė theyíre all about a TV reporter who turns detective, not just covering cases, but using his investigative skills and the power of television to help the police to solve them too. The reviews have been kind, as have the audiences on the tours Iíve been on, and the books have even been published in America.

What can I say but - wow! Two great careers already, and so much of it due to the excellent training and experiences I was fortunate enough to know in Cardiff.

I raise a glass of the finest Brains (beer) in your direction. Thank you Cardiff, and a very happy 125th anniversary to you.

For more on Simon Hall and his work, visit his website Ė www.thetvdetective.com

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