Punam Verma interview

Time Out caught up with the British presenter of Dubai One show Out & About

Interview, Hot seat, The Knowledge

So, Punam, what is Out & About, well, about?
We discover and uncover everything that Dubai has to offer, from the weird to the wonderful, and are always in the know so you know what’s happening in Dubai each week.

Sounds a bit like Time Out! Tell us about the funniest shoot you’ve done.
I was filming at the launch of the Meydan racecourse, and Sting was performing but refusing to do interviews. While on a break from filming, I turned around to find Sting with his back to me, facing hundreds of press people trying to take his picture. I screamed at my cameraman to come over. As soon as Sting turned around to leave, I was there, with a mic in my hand. I got a five-minute interview. When it ended, my whole crew screamed like a bunch of teenagers and the rest of the press weren’t too happy with us! Success!

Most difficult shoot?
When I was little I was nearly thrown off a horse, so I’ve always been scared of them. But as a presenter on Out & About, I have to be a bit of stunt woman and try everything, even if I fear it. Eventually the day came when I had to do a story about horseriding. I tried to stay calm, but my horse started to gallop faster, my cameraman moved his camera quite quickly, and the horse panicked and threw me off. I missed hitting a metal fence by about a metre. After two minutes my producer asked if I was okay, then told me to get back on for the last shot. Getting back on was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do.

Have you always wanted to work in TV?
I never had any ambitions to work in TV, and becoming a journalist wasn’t ever on my list of dream jobs – all I wanted to be was a singer/songwriter. My interest in TV came much later, after I spent a few years working in radio.

What were you up to before?
I was a BBC radio presenter and journalist in the UK.

What is your biggest ambition?
To record a song with my musical inspiration: Prince. He lives and breathes music, it’s not about the fame. He is a true musician/singer/songwriter/producer.

Dream interview?
Prince, of course!

Any exciting plans for Out & About that you can reveal?
The show is now one hour long, so it’s packed with even more info than before. Each week we’ll be hosting the show from a different location, so viewers can join in the shoot. We’ll also have Time Out’s Ross Brown and Becky Lucas making appearances on the show.
Out & About is on Dubai One on Wednesdays at 7.30pm, with repeats on Thursdays at 6am and noon, Fridays at 5pm and Saturdays at 3pm.

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