Scorchio!

By Sam Fraser

Surviving a Stereotype

Feminism | Humour
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Attend a half day, online masterclass on the art of writing narrative nonfiction and memoir, led by Sam Fraser. Plus everything at the Collectable level.
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The role of the weather presenter is an iconic one in the British cultural landscape. It is also one of the most fetishised, though Sam Fraser was largely unaware of that when she took a job as a regional forecaster at the BBC.

Scorchio! Surviving a Stereotype charts her journey, from teenage years confused by mixed messages around womanhood from the media, her mother and her convent school, via a stint at a community radio station, to arriving unexpectedly at the BBC. Here she learns that, thanks in part to Ulrika Jonsson, the world of weather presenting is open to non-meteorologists. But only if they’re in possession of a form fitting dress, a broad smile and a twinkle in their eye.

The chance to work as a BBC weather presenter is irresistible. Sam soon learns, however, that the role is undermined by long held perceptions about it. She discovers a fan base of men who find sexual gratification in watching women present the weather and in whose online forums she is discussed in graphic terms. And wonders, why is she still described as a ‘weather girl’?

Sam turns to stand-up comedy as a creative outlet for her observations and begins to compile the experiences of other women doing the same job. Scorchio! takes the premise of her show, ‘Stand Up, Weather Girl!’, and builds in interviews with many current and former weather presenters. A chat with ITV’s Laura Tobin sheds light on the sexist insults she received from an Australian MP. Former BBC South weather presenter Reham Khan describes the death threats made following her marriage to the Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, the term ‘weather girl’ weaponised against her. Sarah-Leigh Barnett, winner of a BBC talent competition launched when Michael Fish retired, talks about being derided in a Times column by Boris Johnson. Keeley Donovan speaks of being misrepresented by the tabloids and Sian Lloyd speculates on her longevity in the role.

‘Stand Up, Weather Girl!’ ran at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018, sharing Sam’s memories, laughs and some great gags about the weather. But Scorchio! tells the whole story. This is a comic memoir about the conflict between an aspiration for equality and the realities of working in a sexualised role. The material left out of Sam’s stand-up show needs a different vehicle. This book is it.

ABOUT THE BOOK

  • With a foreword by comedian Hugh Dennis
  • A high-quality, demy hardback book
  • Approximately 288 pages and 70,000 words
  • The first book by BBC weather presenter Sam Fraser
  • Exclusive pledge levels available!

*Image credits: Design by Mecob. Images © Shutterstock. Book designs, cover and other images are for illustrative purposes and may differ from final design.

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