Jay Blades speaks out on toughest challenge for new show as he learns to read at 51

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Jay, 51, has become a fan favourite since he started hosting The Repair Shop in 2017 and has gained a huge following ever since. What viewers of the BBC show might not know is the furniture restorer has always struggled to read and he is going to combat the challenge of learning to in a new documentary for the broadcasting giant. Fans of the father-of-three will see a completely different side to the beloved presenter as he candidly opens up about how difficult it has been to not read for most of his life.

The documentary, entitled Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51, will be a one-off hour-long instalment airing on both BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Viewers will watch as the furniture resorter opens up about keeping his inability to read to himself until his early 30s.

For most of his life, he managed to avoid writing and reading to ensure he kept his secret harboured and the film will explore just how hard it was.

Due to his inability to read, the presenter left school with no qualifications and one challenge he will face in the documentary is whether he could turn the results around later in life.

Some of the research which will be shown in the programme highlights how eight million adults in the UK have poor literacy skills.

A quarter of children, much like Jay did, leave school unable to read at the expected level and half of the people serving sentences in prison also have an inability to read.

Taking on the challenge, fans will see the presenter learn to read with a charity coaching adults through literacy and he will be supported through the process by others in his position.

The father-of-three will also venture back into his past to understand why he found it such a struggle to learn when he was younger.

Addressing taking centre stage in the documentary, Jay said: “Learning to read is going to be the toughest challenge for me.”

Going to be the toughest challenge

Jay Blades

The furniture resorter added: “On this journey, I’ll be meeting people who can’t read, for whatever reason, and hopefully helping them.

“I’d love this film to inspire the millions of other adults in the same situation as me,” the presenter concluded.

Executive producer Dan Baldwin said: “This is going to be a gargantuan task for Jay. He will have to work incredibly hard and this film will see Jay completely out of his comfort zone.

“This will be an inspiring, influential and important film for many people who struggle to read,” he shared.

Head of Commissioning, Science and Natural History Jack Bootle, said: “We all love watching Jay on The Repair Shop.

“But very few of us know about his long-term struggles with reading. To achieve what he’s achieved with very limited literacy is amazing.

“I’d like to thank Jay for his bravery in sharing his story with BBC viewers and I hope his journey will provide support and encouragement to other non-readers.”

The documentary is being produced by Hungry Jay Media, a production company Jay set up alongside Juliet Denison Gay and Holly Willoughby’s husband, Dan Baldwin.

Having been diagnosed with dyslexia, the presenter has previously spoken out on the difficulty this brought to reading scripts for the BBC show.

The furniture restorer said: “I am heavily dyslexic and if they send me a script I can’t read it. They tell me who is coming on and we do it one take.

“We have formed as a family (workshop staff) and you take the Mickey out of each other so you do what a family does.

“That is what the production company has done,” the father of three said, according to The Sun.

Jay Blades: Learning To Read At 51 will air later this year on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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