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Sunny outlook for Bill
AFTER years of predicting the British weather on television, the changeable climate in this country still annoys former BBC weatherman Bill Giles.
"The time I get annoyed is when I am trying to plan something. I look at the weather and it is looking good, so I arrange a barbecue. But then three days before, it has changed, and I have 20 people coming over."
Bill, who lives with his wife in Chinnor, led the BBC's weather team for 17 years, and was one of a group of well known weather presenters, including Michael Fish, Ian McCaskill and Suzanne Charlton.
He says: "We became personalities deliberately. The BBC made personalities of us.
"There are a group of us, some of whom haven't been on television for five years or more, and people still know our names.
"Now, there are so many channels, and so many forecasters that you don't see them enough to get to know them."
Bill was awarded an OBE for his work in broadcast meteorology, and is coming to Norden Farm Centre for the Arts next week, with his Weather Show.
"I hope it will be a fun and humorous evening. It's not going to be a Met Office lecture," he laughs.
"I will be showing people how they can do a forecast themselves, talking about climate change, cock ups on live television, and answering questions."
Did Bill ever have any bloopers' during his time on television?
"Once I pressed the button and nothing came up, but then I have also had the reverse, where I have pressed the button and every map came up in three seconds," he recalls.
"When things go well you take the praise, but you have to take the blame when things go wrong.
"And, of course, all the men have to wear make up, which when you go to the pub for a drink and forget to wipe it off, asks a few questions."
Climate change is something Bill has felt strongly about for nearly 20 years, and he was once warned by the Met Office's chief scientist to stop talking about it.
"Everything I said back then is now common knowlege," Bill says. "I will also be showing a video I made back in 1998, where we were predicting things that are happening now.
"But not all freak weather is down to climate change, and we musn't overplay the issue otherwise people will get fed up with it."
Bill's time at the Met Office was very varied. In the early stages of his career he was sent to the South Pacific to observe H Bomb tests, and look at the meteorological effects of the bombs. He also worked with the RAF and taught at the training college before transferring to the London Weather Centre to become part of the team forecasting for BBC Radio in 1972. Bill moved to television forecasting in 1975.
"It was great," he says. "You could do lots of different things within the same organisation."
Bill now spends a lot of his time giving talks on climate change to local authorities and councils.
"My job has always been to take scientific data and turn it into a language that people can understand," he explains.
And his retirement in 2000 has allowed him to dedicate more time to his hobbies of golf, cricket and gardening - all of which are outdoor, and of course, dictated by the unpredictable British weather.
Bill Giles: The Weather Show is at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead on Friday, June 15 at 7.45pm. Tickets: 01628 788997.