BBC sports presenter Jake Humphrey revealed he was once fired for a “lack of communication skills” before launching the TV career which has now earned him an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia.

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The Norfolk-born star is best-known for his Formula One motor racing coverage but will be covering the track cycling events as a key part of the BBC’s Olympic team this summer.

He said he was proud and humbled to receive his Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law in his home county – and his journey to the university ceremony reminded him how far he had come.

“I worked in McDonalds when I was doing my A Levels and it was decided, despite the fact I spent most of my time standing on my own frying chips, that I didn’t have the right communication skills to do that job, so they let me go,” he said. “It was a tough time; you’re 17 years old and you get booted out from that and you think: ‘Blimey the world is hard out there’.

“I hadn’t really thought about it until we drove here today, we came around the corner and there was the very restaurant where I worked and got fired from and I thought: ‘That’s a nice piece of symmetry, the fact that happened to me and yet here I am on my way to get an honorary doctorate.

“I don’t think you ever really feel that you’ve earned something like this. It’s a real feeling of pride. I’m really humbled that the university has decided that what I’ve achieved over the last ten or so years has been enough to be worthy of being here today.”

Jake, 34, attended Framingham Earl High School and then attended sixth form at the Hewett School, but he did not study at university before launching his screen career with Anglia TV.

But after finally earning his place alongside the academic elite, he said it would be a proud moment for his parents, his wife and his in-laws.

“Of my four parents, three of them were teachers, so there’s a real academic thrust in my family,” he said. “My father-in-law was the head teacher of Great Yarmouth High School and my mother-in law worked there, and my mum was head of food technology at the Hewett School for over 20 years. So for them to see me standing here today with my gown and cap on is really something.”

9 comments

  • Dear "V" I can't see how it could be your age that prevented you studying. I am 58 and am graduating this year

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    bonnellio

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

  • Where is my comment EDP ?. .... Sorry. I forgot. we are not allowed to criticise on here are we !.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

  • Nice to see that a university can give away useless degrees but when I applied to City of London Polytechnic I was told I was too old to study (at 24 years old).

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    "V"

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

  • Oh what a surprise. All the family in teaching. Keep it in the family eh UEA ?. Pathetic.

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    "V"

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

  • Bonnellio. I still have the letter to prove it, even though I had all the qualifications for entry in the letter they still deemed me too old. I am 53 now. All I wanted to do was study for a Welding Metuallurgy & Material Science degree, which they did in those days. So you can see my resentment.

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    "V"

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • Why do the beeb keep hold of these 'stars' when there clearly still at the Mcdoenut stage.

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    nrg

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

  • Try as I might I cannot see the merit or benefit of an honorary doctorate and I would have thought that Mr Humphrey had no need of one, having genuine talents and abilities a plenty as he has ably demonstrated. But no doubt he felt it would be discourteous to decline?

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    midupper

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

  • Jake stole the show at the ceremony with an impressive speech which was well received. I'm sure the new graduates were inspired by his words.

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    bogbog

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

  • Dear "V" I can't see how it could be your age that prevented you studying. I am 58 and am graduating this year

    Report this comment

    bonnellio

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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