By The Making of Black Britain

Diane

Listen to Diane's story as part of The Making of Black Britain oral history project

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Diane listening as someone shares their story for The Making of Black Britain (2021)The Making of Black Britain

Diane is of Jamaican heritage. 
She was born in Britain. 
Diane was the first black presenter on Blue Peter and is founder of The Making of Black Britain. 

Diane was interviewed by storyteller Vera for The Making of Black Britain on 19th November, 2021.

Diane (2021) by Vanley BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Diane talks about choosing her stage name
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And thought "crikey, I've got to find a new name."

I kept putting the decision off, and it was getting closer and closer to the time of making the decision.  
...and I was just watching something and I thought "right okay, when the credits come up on this programme, the first name that comes up with a J, I'll choose it." And the first name that came up was Jordan. That's me.

Diane in a press shot for her role in her first Panto as Maid Marion, Babes in the Wood, Buxton Opera House, 1990, 1990, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane, during her years as an actress with Theatre Centre, 1984, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane and best friend Teresa Rider and two friends on Margate “Soul Weekender”, 1977, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane as a student at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, 1982, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane (2021) by Vanley BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Diane discusses getting married
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I actually always thought that I would be married.

I've never worried about age or running out of time, or my biological clock ticking away. I've just not thought about those things.

Diane and her husband, Giles, London Coliseum, 2009, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane (2021) by Vanley BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Diane talks about career opportunities
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That would catapult my career... I just couldn't do it.

There are people who were using a substantial amount of their benefit money to buy lottery tickets, because that was the only hope of them getting out of that situation. It’s absolutely a tax on the poor. And they saw me for whatever, whether I like it or not, I have a reputation of being a trusted person.     

Diane and Anthea meeting Princess Anne for Blue Peter, with programme editor Lewis Bronze, London, 1993, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane (2021) by Vanley BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Diane talks about how she became a parent
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I had a feeling that I maybe would never have a baby.

I remember having a conversation with her where I said that, “I don't think I'm going to be able to give birth, I don't think I'm gonna have children.” And she turned around to me, this was not that many years before she died. And she said, “Well, don't worry, I clearly am popping them out. So if you can't have a child, I'll have one for you.” 

Diane with her daughter, Justine, 1993, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane (2021) by Vanley BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Diane discusses her work ethic
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I've always had a sense of responsibility.

If you've committed to do something, do it 100%. If you can't give 100%, don't bother doing it. So that's always been my mindset. If I'm mucking about, I'm doing it 100%. If I'm having fun, I'm doing 100%. If I'm working.. If you ask me to do something for you, I will do it 100%.

Diane with the Her Majesty, the Queen, and Sir Terry Wogan, BBC Broadcasting House, 2000, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane (2021) by Vanley BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Diane talks about experiencing racism as a child
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I was conscious of my colour, from the age of three.

And my mum and dad worked out that if a brick came flying through the window, it's likely to come land somewhere in the middle of the room as opposed to right under the window. 
Yes. And so if we slept right under the window, that was the safest place for us to be.

Diane with her sister, Jay, and a neightbour, Hatfield, 1964, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane aged 3, with her sister Jay on swings in Palmers Green, London, 1963, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane (2021) by Vanley BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Diane talks about being observed
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I always feel as if I'm slightly on show

I’ve just always been conscious of being a black person in a situation. So I suppose it's, well, it's weird. It’s like, because so many people would say to me things like, “Oh, I don't like black people, but you're different.” And then I realise, I was the only one they’d ever met. 

Diane and Blue Peter fans supporting a Christmas charity appeal, 1997, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane and HRH Prince Charles, for Songs of Praise and BBC Radio2, The Sunday Hour, 2015, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Diane (2021) by Vanley BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Diane discusses the importance of listening to others
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It's about the human heart.

My hope is that we understand that we probably have more good in common with each other than what we think separates us. But we won't know that until we get to know each other.

"Here's my life, here's a little snippet of my life. 
Here's a bit of my heart."

Diane with her father Harold, at his home in Welwyn Garden City, a few months before he died (2011)The Making of Black Britain

Diane with her father Harold, at his home in Welwyn Garden City, a few months before he died, 2011

Credits: Story

Now listen to Vera tell her story as part of The Making of Black Britain oral history project.

Credits: All media
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