Growing up, Maddie Moate couldn’t have imagined where her career would take her, especially as being a TV presenter wasn’t on her radar.
She said: “I didn’t always know I wanted to work in TV.
“I always knew I probably wanted to do something performative but in terms of TV, it wasn’t really on my radar.
“Everything I did outside of school was to do with performing, so dance classes, singing lessons, it was very much the things I enjoyed and it built on this performative side.
“I think at one point I wanted to be a Blue Peter presenter but I think every one of my generation feels like that,” she laughed.
Moving to London
Alongside performing Maddie’s other passion at school was science, although she admits with few female role models and a lack of after-school clubs she wasn’t sure where this would take her.
“In terms of what I did outside of school there was nothing for me to do, no women I could look up to and who inspired me so I never thought a career in science or tech was something I could do, so I followed the TV route.”
Maddie moved to London with a plan to become an actor and audition for a year before going to drama school.
She said: “But I hated it, so I looked more presenting.
“I started doing YouTube videos for some really big tech companies, reviewing phones and things and do videos.”
The TV presenter added: “I did a lot of work in tech and sciences and became a tech journalist. I did stuff with BBC Earth about natural sciences, so I got to combine my love of drama and my interest in science.”
It was from here that would lead Maddie to being approached to present CBeebies’ Maddie’s Do You Know, where she explores the world around us and discovers how stuff works.
“The producers came to me and said ‘we have this idea, we’ve pitched it to CBeebies. Is this something you would be interested in?’ So the idea was there and I came in and did the finer details.”
For the first series, Maddie wanted to feature items that children saw around their home, that they were used to.
“We go to factories in the UK so the main thing is trying to find these places that still make items in the UK and then asking if they are ok with us filming there,” she said.
“I don’t want to shy away from the complicated bits of explaining something, but just try and find a way to explain it in a way that people can understand.
“I also try not to step away from jargon. Something like magnets, it gets really complicated if you take away like attract and repel, so it is about thinking it through.
“Sometimes I have to just sit on the floor and say to the crew, leave me one minute while I figure this out,” she laughed.
Winning a BAFTA
In 2017 Maddie won a children’s BAFTA. She says the whole experience was ‘mad’ and that the BAFTA is really heavy.
She said: “I looked back at who had won it before and it was people like Dick and Dom, Sam and Mark and Justin Fletcher.
“One woman had won it before but when I was stood up there I didn’t feel like I had just won it for me but for a whole group of women who had never been nominated. I felt like I was doing it for the girls as if I was representing the underrepresented.”
This is something that Maddie feels very passionate about especially in the tech and science world.
She said: “I have dealt with imposter syndrome over the years. I got it in my head that people must think because I’m young, blonde and a woman who isn’t a doctor or a scientist that I am just handed a script and read what I’m given.
“But over the years I have become almost anal about it and just want to be more authentic about it. I don’t just take what I’ve been given and will research and check things out and I am really involved with the scriptwriting.
“When I started out I worked for a company when phones aimed at women were small, pink and had a mirror so we made a comedy series reviewing phones for women.
“When I worked in tech I was often the only woman in the room at the events and did come into contact with sexism and comments.
“I have always felt like I am here for the girls, doing it for the underrepresented.”
How to become a TV presenter
Maddie’s advice to those that want to become a TV presenter is to get experience.
“People want to know that you can get the job done. Get practical experience either self-train. They want people who can be a laugh but are a grafter. Gets loads of work experience, people love people who just get on with it,” she said.
“I always say to people to something you are interested in, if you like animals you don’t have to be the next David Attenborough but if you love giraffes then learn all you can about giraffes and be open to opportunities.
“Do what you love when it comes to science and just be open to other things.
“Before I never felt like science was anything I could do when I was younger.”
Do what you love
Maddie explains that she isn’t a scientist or a doctor but comes to it from a place of curiosity and sees herself as a science communicator.
She added: “It is lovely when parents and girls come up to me and say that they are interested in science and tech now because of my show.
“Being called a role model feels like a lot but I want to represented the underrepresented and show women and girls that they can do it.”