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TV & radio broadcasts by Mike Parker
Like most media whores, I've dabbled in bits of telly and radio. In the 1990s, I co-presented Out (formerly Out on Tuesday), the lesbian and gay magazine show on Channel 4, and the Midlands arts show, Premiere, on Central TV. Strangely, both shows never returned.
On moving to Wales, a one-off travelogue for St David's Day on ITV grew into an a stack of other programmes, including two popular series. In Coast to Coast (ITV Wales, 2003-4), I was steered around the edge of Wales in a strange mixture of boats, including a lifeboat, an Edwardian sailing ketch, a gin palace and a rusty four hundred ton sand dredger.
It was huge fun to do, and made me see Wales in a whole new light, although it only confirmed to me what a total and utter landlubber I am. The Daily Post said that I managed both "gloriously camp one-liners" and "a gritty, forthright commentary that is a breath of fresh air", and my book of the series spent four months at the top of the Welsh bestseller list.
On the road again
My next ITV project, Great Welsh Roads, saw me and my dog Patsy comb Wales in a camper van, hunting out the amazing, the amusing and the absurd; the fourth series aired in early 2008. This was more like it: dry land, and plenty of it. Characters galore, amazing encounters, back lanes and B-roads from Amlwch to Chepstow.
Big matches aside, Great Welsh Roads consistently scored one of the highest ratings of any Welsh TV show.
Map Addict also led me to write and present a ten-part Radio 4 series, On the Map, broadcast in March and April 2010. This was hugely enjoyable and fascinating to do, and took me all over Scotland, Wales and England in order to interview all manner of map professionals and enthusiasts, including heroes of mine such as Jan Morris and Bill Drummond.
The producer and I visited pretty much every major UK map-maker: Ordnance Survey, the AA, A to Z, Collins Bartholomew, the Oxford Cartographers and right through to Andrew Taylor, the one-man flâneur-mapper of north-western cities.