'When the weather's dramatic I poke my head out the window': Tomasz Schafernaker on anti-social night shifts and abstract art
BBC weatherman on why he plans to swim with sharks - and how there's nothing on TV
RadioTimes sits down with BBC weatherman Tomasz Scharfernaker to ask what's he's watching at the minute (not a lot actually!) and what that little clicker thing in his hand is.
You must look out of your window a lot?
Checking the weather? I have a loft with a couple of windows and when the weather is really dramatic I poke my head through the window. I like lightning and a tremendous downpour, seeing the energy of mother nature.
Exciting, but what are you watching on the TV?
Hardly anything. I’m getting more and more into my hyper-realist artwork and portraits and I listen to music that is linked to the subject. When I was drawing Harrison Ford I was playing the Blade Runner soundtrack. Will Smith was I Am Legend. With Judi Dench, I had Bond in the background. I will do self-portraits, but that will have to be abstract and incorporate splodges of paint.
Is there really nothing on TV?
Well, there is a big picture of a shark’s head resting on the wall beneath it. That’s what I can see from my sofa.
Can I see your trainers in the corner of the room?
I do a lot of running, four times a week. I need something that gets my heart pumping. Without exercise, if I come in from an early shift at two in the afternoon. I would just stay on my sofa until 8pm. I force myself to go out for a long run.
Do you get recognised by people as you jog by?
Hardly ever. When it does happen it’s when I have to say my surname in public and someone looks at me and says, “Hang on, I’ve heard that name before. You’re the sports presenter on ITV, aren’t you?”
What’s that thing in your hand when you’re on TV?
It’s a clicker and it animates the weather graphics. Otherwise I’d have to say hello to the viewers, then excuse myself for three seconds to walk across the studio and press enter on a keyboard and then come back into shot.
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Have you ever dropped it?
Oh yes, many times. Numberless times.
Perhaps you need a beer to steady your hand?
No, that’s one thing I don’t do. And anybody that knows me knows that, these days, I won’t go out on the town if I’m working the next day. It’s not worth it if you’re on air, because you come across as tired and grumpy – you have got to be as fresh as possible.
The voice of experience?
Well, maybe going back a decade. Not anymore.
No more wild days?
I do plan to go swimming with sharks in South Africa – it was a childhood dream of mine. You have to be a bit of a daredevil to swim with them. Sharks are drastic animals, full of energy – and severe weather is the same, so you can see the pattern there...
Any less stormy pursuits?
I absolutely love jazz. That’s one of the first things I do when I get back home at midnight after a late shift – I always ask my [digital] personal assistant Alexa to play a bit of soft midnight jazz.
That sounds a little lonely?
I suppose it is, but a shift worker’s life is like that. It does make me think what other jobs I could have done to minimise the antisocial hours.
It must make you hard to date?
Yes, completely, it’s impossible. There is no dating going on.
Tomasz Schafernaker presents the weather on BBC TV and radio