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Virgin Radio host Chris Evans, 54, announced the release of his new 500 words pop-up project in aid of the Black Lives Matter movement two weeks ago and has featured a number of guests on his radio show who have encouraged children aged from five to 13 to get involved. The scheme will be the last ever one after BBC revealed they were axing the children’s competition after a decade on-air, despite its enormous success across the nation.
It’s really getting on my nerves
Chris’ new scheme will see children’s TV presenters come-husband-and-wife team Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood, front the contest which has seen over a million submissions from children all over the UK, from stories covering important issues such as technology and climate change.
On Friday’s show, ITV’s Dr Ranj Singh appeared via phone-in to talk about why it’s such an important subject for children to write about.
He also gave some pointers for Michael, who shocked the nation last week when he revealed he has stepped back from TV presenting and gone back to the world of teaching, to use in his own classroom to really encourage his kids to get the most out of the contest.
“Start with a discussion and say ‘This is the topic we’re going to talk about, first of all explore some of their ideas together in a safe place and a safe way, non judgementally – just have a chat with them,” Dr Ranj advised.
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“You’d be surprised at how much children may have picked up.”
He suggested using their own experiences to put into words that could be entered into the scheme.
“That’s the beauty of this competition,” he gushed, as he explained it allows the children to be open with their thoughts, interests – anything they believe relates to the Black Lives Matter campaign.
After Michael thanked Dr Ranj for his advice, Chris seemed to be still hung up on something he had mentioned earlier.
“We don’t believe you’re 41,” he blurted out as the studio fell silent.
“It’s really getting on my nerves.”
Both guests burst out laughing as Chris bid them farewell: “Off you got to school Michael talk to you tomorrow, bye Dr Ranj!” he said as he moved on to his next segment of the show.
Chris couldn’t get over how shocked This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield was when Michael revealed his teaching background last week.
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He appeared on the ITV breakfast show to talk about the 500 Words spin-off and he left viewers reeling when they realised he was sat in his own classroom, in front of his own class.
“Phillip Schofield was particular taken with the fact he couldn’t get his head round you are an actual teacher as well as a TV host,” Chris chuckled.
Michael replied: “I think he thought I was doing some kind of live insert into the show where I was pretending and just had a fake class set up, so I think he was genuinely taken aback, it was brilliant!”
But he noted the more attention his new job was getting, the more it directed at his new venture alongside Angellica and Chris.
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The competition will run from Monday June 29 – Friday July 3 and the semi-finals, judged by Angellica, Michael and the rest of the famous panel, will take place live on Virgin Radio from 13 July – 16 July.
Winners will be invited back to the show on 17th July to receive their prizes.
The Chris Evans Breakfast show continues weekdays at 6.30am on Virgin Radio.
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