As part of BBC School Report, Portadown College Year 11 students Amy Hanna and Lucy Williamson were given the opportunity to film their own package at BBC Biggest Weekend Belfast.

Having pitched their story ideas to the BBC School Report team and then to the Arts show, the BBC lined up an interview with Tim Wheeler from Ash, setting the stage for a unique opportunity.

Having researched the band and their music, the girls attended the BBC Biggest Weekend fringe event “The Art of the Interview” where 6 Music experts Mary Ann Hobbs and Matt Everett shared their tips on music interviews which would be very useful when interviewing Tim Wheeler.

With Press Passes to the ‘Guest’ area in the Titanic museum on Saturday, not only did Amy and Lucy get to meet and interview Tim Wheeler and the rest of Ash, but they also met Mary Ann Hobbs who invited them to see the 6 Music production team as they broadcast live from the building, and were filmed for BBC Music NI.

Having the interview in the bag, the girls were able to film live at the music festival, carrying out vox pops while enjoying the live music, before rocking to the music of Ash; all the more significant having got to know the man behind the guitar.

Here are the reflections from Amy and Lucy as they made their way home on the train later on Saturday:

Today we had an incredible experience with BBC School Report, getting the opportunity to interview Tim Wheeler. There wasn’t a big window of time between arriving at Titanic and starting to interview Tim. This meant that although we were both really nervous, we didn’t have time to overthink our questions or how we were presenting ourselves. At the beginning we thought only one of us would get the opportunity to ask the questions but it ended up that we were both given the chance. The fact that we both got to enjoy and share the experience made the interview even better. Before we began the interview we got the chance to speak with Tim normally and it was such a shock how genuine and normal he came across. When we started the interview our nerves were set aside and it felt like we were proper interviewers.

 After our interview with Tim, we spotted Mary Ann Hobbs, a 6 Music presenter. On Thursday we had been at her Workshop on “the Art of the interview” which helped to calm our nerves before interviewing Tim. We had the opportunity to talk to Mary and she was so delighted that we had taken some of her tips on board when we interviewed Tim that she whisked us up the stairs to see her boss.

 The reason for us being there was for the BBC Biggest Weekend as we were doing a package on the festival and we needed appropriate shots, intros and vox pops. We had to search within the crowd to find suitable festival-goers to ask questions to. We found a combination of people who were chatting and enjoying the day. The highlight of the festival was seeing Ash perform with the Undertones performing Teenage Kicks. During our interview Tim Wheeler described The Undertones being one of his biggest influences and getting to see them performing together seemed like a fitting end to the day.


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