James Martin is without doubt one of the UK's most successful TV chefs - and now, he's opened up about a condition he's lived with since he was a child.
Speaking to w&h, the popular cook discussed the fact that he has dyslexia. And amazingly, he confessed that his condition even meant he failed cookery at school - but clearly, it hasn't held him back! He confessed to us, “I failed cookery in school because I was dyslexic, still am. Severely dyslexic. I’ve never read a book in my life.
The 46-year-old shared that a couple of critics have however commented on the fact that his dyslexia impacts him from reading autocue on his popular cooking shows.
"A couple of mean tweets, they started slagging me off about the way I read autocue", he said, "But I can’t read autocue. If I read it I make a mistake."
James went on to reveal that his inability to read autocue on his programmes has however lead him to develop a very impressive skill - memorising what it is he needs to say in a matter of seconds!
He admitted, “So I basically look at the autocue for a second and then say, right, switch it off. As long as it’s there in your head, just let me go.
James also revealed that a BBC boss even sent him on a course for his learning difficulty, where he learnt a very handy way of dealing with it.
He said, “The BBC deputy head of daytime actually sent me on a course, and without her, Saturday Kitchen wouldn’t have been what it was, because the teacher of the course taught me how to walk and talk." Fans of the show will of course remember James' signature presenting style. He continued, "The teacher said, ‘Don’t stand there reading like a presenter, because you can’t do it. And not many people can walk and talk, but I can’t stand and talk!
"So on Saturday Kitchen with James Martin, you’ll see, all the links I do are walking and talking. But I can do it in one take!"
In a past interview with The Sun, the popular chef also revealed that he's also opted for a different method to help him write his cookery cooks, in the face of his dyslexia.
"Dyslexia hasn’t hindered me when it comes to recipes, though, as they’re a learning process. And I use a dictaphone to write cook books", James revealed.
And his methods have clearly worked well - as James has penned over 15 cookbooks during his career, all of which have gone down a storm with fans.
Previously, James Martin revealed that his dyslexia even spurred him on in his determination to succeed in life.
He confessed, "I think it’s because you’re proving yourself all the time. It’s not financial. It’s about proving to yourself that you can do it because when you were younger you were five to ten years behind everybody else at school. I’ve always had to fight for everything.
"I still feel like I’m fighting now. I will never think I have it all and sit back."
Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.
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