I spent all of my childhood in one institution or another. Children’s homes, boarding school for ‘maladjusted kids’ (whatever that meant) and, eventually, youth custody.
I can still remember how hopeless I felt and frustrated at decisions made in my best interest. With only social workers on my side, I was a typical example of a kid who spent his childhood in care.
It was drummed into me that I would never make anything of myself and, because of this, leaving care into custody was no big shock to me.
The fact that I went on to have a great career working in television and achieved more than most people I know as an adult makes me quite proud.
I was always the kid being told to be quiet but now I charge hundreds of pounds to talk to social workers and other professionals.
I sometimes wish I’d come from a perfect family where I would have been encouraged and supported, rather than being a child who needs to be ‘contained’ by the system.
All of the things I achieved I did by myself after I left custody. Voluntary work was my key as it gave me a chance to prove I was not all bad. I have travelled the world, hung out with princes, had dinner with the Queen (3 times) and enjoy a really rewarding adult life. Something no-one believed I could do. But I did.