Entertainment & Culture

We speak to disabled BBC weather presenter Lucy Martin

Lucy Martin, who was born without her right forearm and hand, is the first visibly disabled BBC weather presenter. In 2015, she took part in a BBC initiative that offered disabled people with a passion for weather and the environment the chance to learn about the job. Following a three-day workshop, Lucy was offered the opportunity to start training to be a weather presenter.

Our regular writer, Emma Purcell, interviewed Lucy to find out more about how she got the job, the highs and lows of presenting, and what impact her disability has had on her career and life.

What was it like for you growing up with your disability?

I was born with only one hand, so it is all I have ever known. It’s therefore totally normal to me. Kids are really straightforward, so although I was frequently asked what had happened to my hand, that was usually the extent of it – they just saw me as Lucy.

I did everything that the kids around me were doing, and I never felt it held me back. I rode bikes, swam, played musical instruments and did lots of dance and drama. I was perhaps a bit over capable – in nursery, I used to tie the other children’s shoelaces for them and cut up their lunches!

My family just expected me to would get on with things and not hide away. I think that helped my attitude to life a lot. We were also members of the charity Reach, which supports children with upper limb differences. It was great for me to be able to meet so many other children like me through the charity.

Lucy Martin as a child

Have you ever tried or considered a prosthetic or bionic arm?

Yes, I have. It’s advised that you get fitted for a prosthetic arm as soon as possible so that you can learn to use it as you grow. Because of this, my mum took me to get one as a baby. I have very vague memories of this, but I never really got on with it – my mum says I spent most of my time taking it off and putting it in the toy box.

In primary school, I was fitted with a movable prosthetic hand. Before taking it home, I had to go to appointments to learn how to use it. Once home, I took it to school and did a ‘show and tell’ of it to pretty much the whole school!

But, by the next day, I had decided I didn’t want to take it to school again as it was too heavy and I felt I didn’t need it.

What got you interested in weather/meteorology?

I have always been interested in the weather – I’m British! I also love geography and the variety and breadth of topics that come within it, so I decided to take a degree in it.

As part of my geography degree, I did meteorology. It’s one of those subjects where the more you learn, the more you want to know.


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How did you come across the BBC initiative and what was involved in the workshop?

I was at a school friend’s house and her mum saw an advert from the BBC about the initiative. I didn’t hesitate in applying. To my excitement, I was offered a space on a three-day workshop in July 2015.

The workshop was quite intense – there’s a lot more involved in weather presenting than perhaps initially meets the eye. There were lots of different sessions, including voice coaching and storytelling. I meet with a mentor to help guide me through the day and tell me more about what the job is like. I also got to spend time with a make-up artist and be in the studio actually practising presenting.

When presenting the weather, you don’t have autocue or a script, and you mostly use a green screen, so you have to get used to talking without being prompted and pointing at the right place!

Have you always wanted to be a weather presenter and found it hard to do so because of your disability?

Not really, if I’m honest. I always thought presenting looked great fun, but imagined I’d end up working in an office.

Weirdly, it’s perhaps the reverse – my disability led me to the BBC initiative, and then I was lucky enough to be offered training. With a lot of hard work, I have ended up doing it fulltime.

Disabled weather presenter Lucy Martin

Have any viewers made comments on your disability?

Yes, I have had a real mix of comments, 99% of which have been positive. A lot of people have said that they find it inspiring or refreshing to see me on screen, and are supportive of what I’m doing. There has also been a lot of interest in what exactly happened to my hand.

Sadly, as always with a career in media, I have had a few nasty comments. But they have been few and far between.

How did it feel to be nominated for an Icon Award, which recognises people who champion diversity?

I was really chuffed to be nominated. I personally feel that, despite lots of good work to improve representation, disability is currently underrepresented on TV and in the media. I am really happy to be a part of changing that.

I have received lots of lovely messages of support from people saying that my work has had a positive impact on them or people they know, so to be nominated for an Icon Award by the public really solidified that.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the ceremony as it was my granny’s 80th birthday and I couldn’t miss that!

What is your least favourite thing about weather presenting?

The early starts! My alarm regularly goes off before 4am. Also, presenting is also a high-pressure job, which can be pretty exhausting and am not great at functioning on little sleep.

Disabled BBC weather presenter Lucy Martin

How do you see yourself going forward in your career?

I’m not really sure. I hoped to do the national forecasts and have been lucky enough to do so on occasion. I am very happy with where I am at the moment – I love presenting the weather and am learning new things every day. I didn’t expect to be where I am, so I’m going to continue as I am and see what comes up next and where it takes me in the future.

To find out more about inclusive careers at the BBC for disabled people, visit the BBC’s Extended Hub.

By Emma Purcell

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Emma Purcell

Editor & Writer at Disability Horizons. Blogger at Rock For Disability. Loves live music, comedy, acting, chocolate and is a Harry Potter fanatic.

27 Comments

  1. I feel physically sick when this young lady appears without warning presenting the weather; I am not alone in being unable to watch or listen to medical, vet or visually / descriptive of human / animal deformity, death or physical issue. Other tv productions provide a warning to those who are unable to accept such problems and it is clear that political correctness takes a precedence here, I wish I could handle this, but I cant, I pay my tv licence fee and believe that the BBC provide the best weather reports which come from the MET office, they have trained many retired and current weather presenters, but not this young lady who replied to an advert where no experience was necessary. How fair is it to the many who could not apply, discrimination applies here, to the educated who were not allowed to apply because they are not disabled.

      1. not a phobia, many, many people appreciate the warnings given prior to a tv show advising of content that some viewers may find disturbing, upsetting etc, as seen and legally required on a dvd. I am sure my GP has a busy time dealing with disabled people

    1. Just because you’re a sick puppy CM, don’t take it out on Lucy because she was born without a limb. Physical deformities are a part of life–DEAL WITH IT!! Lucy’s disability has NOTHING to do with her professionalism, her knowledge of the weather or how she presents the weather. She does her job extremely well. Plus, she’s an extremely pretty and attractive girl. I wish her the best in her career. You’re the one that needs to seek professional help CM, since your disability is between your ears. Don’t delay in getting help and if you don’t like seeing Lucy, go change the channel on your telly.

      1. I am much the same as millions of other viewers who pay to watch tv, this is why we have warnings to viewers of many types about aspects of programs that they may find upsetting, why should I change a channel that I have viewed since I was a child, that I pay for? Take a look at the packaging of dvd’s with the various warnings about content.
        The BBC took the view that some of the female presenters of the news, CountryFile & Strictly were too old to present, I had no issue with this, seems unfair that you have to be easy on the eye for some presenting, even though they were highly qualified and experienced. So wrong that this organisation can advertise for a disabled weather presenter, I quote “No experience necessary”. How is this even legal?

    2. Nobody is perfect, we all have our faults and disabilities.
      You have just informed us of yours, and it appears to be considerably more debilitating than Lucy’s.
      She copes admirably with hers, but you obviously need help.

      1. me and many millions of others appreciate the prior warning of most tv shows when there is something upsetting or offensive

        1. Presumably you never watch news programmes that show children suffering and made homeless because of bombing? Grande National, with horses having to be put down? Jim Davidson can be quite offensive, so guess you would not watch him? Heaven forbid that you should see any of our troops returning from combat!
          I think that this lady, who manages admirably, would be extremely offended if a ‘warning’ were issued before she appeared on our screens, and rightly so.
          From your comments, it would appear that Your problem is greater than hers.

        2. You are just ignorant!. She’s a lovely girl, very educated and attractive. You need to get some help!

        3. C, do you freak out every time you see Lucy doing her work? If, so why do you keep watching her?

    3. sorry you feel sick, maybe you should see a doctor for this.Unfortunately they do not have a cure for the uneducated ignorance. You may have to go to a dictionary to look up this as you are unable to comprehend that this lady has an education which you do not. I pay my fees too and i am glad to see that the BBC is not discriminating against this lady after all she has worked hard to get her job and is very good at it. If you had looked up the lady’s name she has all the qualifications that all the others have, why can’t people like yourself see past a disability and see the person. Maybe you’re the one with the problem, take a look outside it’s a big world out there, if we were all the same it would be one very sad place.

    4. Good grief, what a snowflake you are! Anyone with any kind of backbone doesn’t need a warning about content. If you’re that concerned, get rid of your TV. Well done Lucy, you’re an excellent presenter.

  2. CM I am sorry that you feel this way. As The other Ian suggested, go and see your GP and deal with this phobia. Lucy is one talented and beautiful young woman who has achieved so much in her life and I think we should be celebrating that instead of being nasty and negative

    1. sadly she got this job without any qualifications, as the post was advertised with no experience necessary. The BBC normally expect their presenters to be educated to degree level in their respective field. I am not being nasty, just questioning why and how this went ahead, as I have stated in reply to other posts here there are a number of female presenters who have lost their jobs due to their advancing ages, not as easy on the eye as the younger ladies who replaced them, you will recall that one of them was brave enough to challenge the corporation and won her case. Had she been disabled perhaps they would have kept her on. Shameful.

      1. Crusty Molecule, you’re entitled to your opinion and I’d like to offer mine. I think Lucy is more than qualified to deliver the weather commentary. What exactly, is her disability? Love Mags, Cumbria.

  3. Lucy Martin WEATHER GIRL

    NO LONGER SHOWING HER RIGHT ARM ?? TODAY SATURDAY 5. NEWS

    I THINK SHE IS BRILLIANT BRAVE COOL

    SHOW IT ALL GIRL …. THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE SUPPORT YOU AND

    TAKE COMFORT IN YOUR COURAGE AND INSPIRATION…IGNORE ALL NEGATIVITY
    WAYNE

  4. CM should read the article. Lucy has a degree.
    She is doing a very good job , which I doubt that CM is up to.
    CM must live a miserable life , with such an attitude.

  5. Wow she’s a very attractive woman. Set many mens pulses racing. Stunning, hot even.

  6. If CM had been born with part of his arm missing, I’m sure he would not take kindly to any prejudice being shown towards him. I’m sure Lucy Martin has a good heart and that’s what counts! Her cheerful disposition makes a rainy day seem brighter and she is a great inspiration to disabled people everywhere.
    Keep up the good work, Lucy!

  7. Just want to say how pleasing it is to see Lucy on our television
    screens. Particularly pleased that she makes no effort to disguise or
    hide her missing limb. What a brilliant break-through. Good for her!

  8. CM, perhaps we should also introduce a warning in the comments section, stating that there may be uneducated, uninformed and bigoted idiots who may post here and you could be upset if you read their comments !

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