Hey, cool cats! This week’s blog post is a little bit different. Recently, Tim had a lovely chat with Lois of Fish Face Publishing. Lois is an accomplished author of books for kids and a big fan of our learning videos and our storybooks, too! She even featured our story ‘A Tiger’s Tale’ on her website. So awesome!
In case you still do not know, we recently released our own Tiger and Tim children’s books on Amazon. Yup, you read that right! The original stories we feature on our videos for kids are now also in e-book and paperback versions which you can read with the whole family. Now your Tiger Cubs can watch our funny videos AND read our storybooks for kids – a great way to learn through reading!
Have fun reading the interview and check out the Tiger and Tim books for kids after. Don’t forget to catch our latest show out now on our YouTube channel! Talk to you again soon, kids and grown-ups!
Tim’s Interview with Lois of Fish Face Publishing
Tim: Hi Lois, it’s great to be here! Thanks for having us, and thanks for everything that you do around literacy.
Lois: Can you tell us a little bit about your interesting background? When did you become a BBC presenter and show host?
Tim: In 2010 I was selected by the BBC from around 3,000 applicants and became part of the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme. It was a great privilege for me, and one of the highlights of my life giving me opportunities that I had only dreamt of – to be a sports journalist on television. I got my first job soon after that in sports broadcasting as an assistant producer, very much an early stage entry job which evolved and led to an application to the BBC. I was employed by them full-time from 2011 and was there for eight and a half years. I used my training to become a Presenter, Reporter, and Journalist, focusing on national and international news. As a BBC broadcaster, I worked on TV bulletins on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC News and BBC World, as well as on BBC Radio and BBC online. I have also worked for NBC in America and the English Premier League as a freelance reporter.
Lois: I believe that ‘Tiger and Tim’ were born from the Covid-19 lockdown, to heal and help people, especially children, from the effects of loneliness and isolation. What sparked your idea of being best buddies with a tiger, and did the books or the shows come first?
Tim: That’s a great question! I’ve always been a fan of Wimbledon and loved watching Tim Henman who was known as ‘Tiger Tim’. As much as I liked watching him and wanting him to win, I never thought of him as a tiger! But it made me think that it was a cool name, and obviously I’m Tim, which got me to dream about a book series – the adventures of Tiger and Tim, which I never did anything about. But then when I was in lockdown I thought this is exactly what kids needed. I looked at literacy stats and I was truly shocked. 20-25% of primary school kids leave not being able to read and write! I thought I could transpose my ideas into a show! I saw a gap in the market for kids’ learning, which evolved into a part human and part animated show. My background in broadcasting and journalism was well suited to this, and when I was younger I did a lot of acting which stood me in very good stead. We are now looking to get the show licenced all over the world to address the global literacy gap.
Lois: You have some wonderful titles in your book series. Where do your ideas come from?
Tim: I have lots of ideas! Too many! It’s about choosing the right ones. Seeing the kids react and love the show is very rewarding. The names of the books, well that’s my thinking, plus I have two educators who work with me and help with some of the ideas. We call the kids who read our books and watch the show, Tiger Cubs, because ultimately we are a vehicle to make them into great young people.
Lois: I know that you feel very strongly about the literacy problem that exists around the world today. Did you always have this passion, to tackle the literacy gap and educate in this way?
Tim: I don’t think I have always had this passion because I didn’t know about it until 2020. When I came up with the dream of the adventures of Tiger and Tim over ten years before I actually implemented it with the show, I didn’t know about the literacy gap. Covid 19 changed everything for everyone, and it brought forward digital learning by at least 10 years and has massively impacted the literacy standard and the literacy gap. I haven’t always been a fighter for literacy equality until 2020, but I have always at heart been an educator. I have a 1st class honours in History. I know the value of education. There can be no more important message than reading being the gateway to all learning. I’m the son of a speech and drama teacher who very much inspired me to become a broadcaster and journalist, and actor when I was younger. I truly believe that Tiger has a chance of trying to close the literacy gap because he represents the children. He is a child prodigy himself who has learnt everything himself. When he left the jungle to come into the “real world” Tiger couldn’t read or write, he learnt it all, and any child can do the same. That is what he stands for, he stands for all of them, and I’m just here to help him on his way, to deliver on that.
Lois: It’s obvious that you are a complete natural when it comes to entertaining! What is your first love? Being an author, or an actor presenting the shows?
Tim: I’m definitely not a complete natural, I’m very shy underneath, but like all actors, you perform for your audience. My mum taught me really well when it came to acting, and that’s how I started when I was 7 or 8, I began acting. I sat the LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) exams. Many of the most famous actors trained with LAMDA including Dame Judi Dench. I carried on for about 11 years taking the exams until I achieved the gold medal in acting. But definitely I was trained. And I’ve always loved the written word.
Lois: What is it that you find most challenging in your work?
Tim: That is definitely time! I’m always late Lois! To help all the millions of kids who I want to help is a big commitment. It’s not easy and takes time.
Lois: What is it that gives you the greatest sense of achievement in your work?
Tim: The vision that I have, to help millions of people. Consider how bad literacy statistics are in the UK, and then imagine how bad it is in other countries where children don’t have the resources of the UK. There are kids around the world who don’t have a single book in school or out of school! That’s wrong. It’s not going to be an overnight change. It needs to be a global movement, and Tiger and Tim is the vehicle for that social movement, and Tiger ultimately is the vehicle for that. I’m just his sidekick. He is truly the star. He really is a star in the making. We need someone like him to change the narrative, because if we don’t, things are going to get much worse.
Lois: Thank you Tim, for giving us a fascinating and inspirational insight into the world of ‘Tiger and Tim’! Before you go, just tell us what’s next on your agenda. Is it another book or a show?
Tim: It’s both Lois! We’re always releasing new shows as regularly as we can, but it comes down to financials, unfortunately. We’re looking for an investment raise for the show to be commissioned on TV, and ultimately for it to be taken all over the globe as a result of that commission. That’s our next plan. For every show we now make, we make a book. Education is best when it doesn’t feel like education. Reading and video are not to be separated. You have to go to where the kids want to go, to take them to where you want to go. Ultimately that is what Tiger and Tim is all about. So books and shows are going to be here for the foreseeable future including formal learning. In my dreams, it is to be known in every country around the world and by hundreds and millions of children and helping, more importantly, hundreds and millions of people and Tiger Cubs around the world. Thank you Lois, thank you everybody, appreciate your support, and I hope you will join us on the journey and support us.
Please subscribe to our YouTube. Please follow the links! Appreciate your time Lois. Appreciate everybody who is reading this. We’re on the homeward stretch of Covid now. Out of every dark situation always comes light, and I believe that Tiger offers more light than most, and I hope others will agree with me. Thanks everyone!
Check out other books by Lois here!