An Evening with Stacey Dooley, Birmingham Town Hall - review
Stories of women on the frontline, women surviving domestic abuse and how a girl selling perfume in Luton Airport became one of TV’s most loved journalists and documentary makers.
Walking onto the stage to the girl power anthem, Spice Up Your Life, Stacey Dooley, one of BBC Three’s most popular presenters, greeted the packed Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday night.
After spending all day practising the foxtrot for this weekend’s Strictly Come Dancing, the broadcaster was asked questions by author and comedian Viv Groskop discussing everything from gender equality and domestic violence, to sex trafficking and sexual identity.
The night weaved these global strands together in an exploration of what it is to be women in the world today.
Despite a few technical difficulties and a mishap involving a cup of tea, the event was a success.
Stacey’s informal, warm and witty manner detailed her serendipitous start after taking part in her first documentary Blood, Sweat and T-shirts, an investigation into the backstreet workshops of India, to the successful career she could never have predicted.
It is clear that her trip to India sparked something in Stacey, after leaving school at 15 and working in Luton Airport her immediate concerns were becoming assistant manager rather than than filming the documentaries that we know her for.
Describing how she couldn’t comprehend the Indian labour laws but also the feeling ‘what now?’ that she underwent on her return to Luton.
It is clear that Stacey experienced a dual culture shock from both her arrival in India to her return to Britain after realising where her clothes came from and understanding how privileged her own start in life had been compared to the rest of the world.
Video clips from Stacey’s impressive back catalogue of work were played, demonstrating how the journalist has evolved her investigative style, which was followed by a question and answer session that covered everything from how she winds down after filming such intense environments to her beloved bull-dog Bernie.
An important message to take away from the discussion was the luxury of morality and the theme of western guilt.
Stacey described the complex and murky situations poverty forces people into and the strange scenario of how we watch all these scenarios through the comfort of our homes, forgetting about these people as we turn our television off, when the reality is that these things continue to happen.
An informative and thoughtful night that not only looked at Stacey and her work but also the wider context of the issues, An Evening with Stacey Dooley, was eye-opening as well as inspiring for men and women alike.
By Eleanor Forrest