Q&A with BT Sport presenter Jules Breach
It’s a sunny Wednesday afternoon in February. Britain is experiencing its ‘Indian Winter’ and I’m walking to the Market Place Bar in London’s Fitzrovia to meet sports presenter Jules Breach, fresh off the train from Liverpool.
I’ve known Jules for just over a year and I’ve been able to see her grow as a TV presenter but also as a person. I wanted to interview her to get her own insight into her life and hear her views and opinions on challenges in presenting sport as a female.
As I arrive, she’s got a little suitcase and is wearing a tiger print shirt, which makes her even easier to spot in a relatively empty bar.
She orders a hibiscus and peach tea and is frustrated at me when I paid the bill for the drinks.
As a child you were pretty well travelled: has this helped with the travel now involved with your job?
“I was born in Brighton then moved to Mauritius when I was six months old, then I moved back to England when I was about five, and then moved to Jamaica when I was eight. I moved back to Brighton when I was 15 to stay with my aunty and uncle as the schools were better here.
“Definitely, I look back at my whole life and see that it’s just preparing me for what’s to come.
“It’s funny. I never imagined I would be working in football when I was 15, I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. I loved journalism, I loved TV, I loved performing but I never knew that it would be a career when I was 15.
“I was playing tennis at quite a high level and I still had dreams of being a professional athlete for a living in that just didn’t work out.”
Moving to the UK without your parents: how was that?
“It was terrifying. My mum slightly bribed me by telling me that I could be my only female cousins’ best friend and that we’d share a room together. We had a little den in the third-floor attic conversion and it was great!
“I did miss my parents and it wasn’t like it is today where you can Facebook, WhatsApp or Skype all the time. We genuinely wrote letters and the phone calls were only every so often. It was a different world to what it is now.
“It was hard at the time, but whenever people ask me about that period of my life I didn’t know any other way. It is just normal that I didn’t live with my mum and dad and we lived on the other side of the world.”
You work regularly on the Premier League, you’ve covered a World Cup, you work on the sidelines at Champions League games and done some presenting at the Rugby World Cup. What’s next? The Cricket World Cup – I ask as a bit of a joke…
“Funnily enough, I am actually doing something for the Cricket World Cup but just for a charity. I’ve recently become an ambassador for Street Child United; it’s a phenomenal charity that helps street children through their love of sport.
“They have a really big presence in the Philippines, which is where my family are originally from, so it’s a really lovely thing for me to be involved.
“They have some amazing people that are coming over to play at Lords Cricket Ground in the summer, so I’ll be there with the charity and hopefully help raise money and awareness and play a little bit of cricket. Obviously, I have no idea how to play cricket, but I’m so excited – it’s going to to be great fun.
“To work at the Champions League final is definitely on my bucket list – I don’t know if it’s going to happen this season, so fingers crossed.
“On a serious note, I just want to keep enjoying myself. I know it sounds cheesy! But I just want to work and have fun and enjoy my job.”
You host BT Sport’s Score programme with Mark Pougatch. What has working with him been like?
“Mark Pougatch has been an absolute legend to me. Before I worked with him, I knew Mark from his radio work, and he has been the most incredible person to work with.
“He is so helpful and is so understanding. He’s worked in this industry for a long time but he was paired with someone who is completely new to it, but yet he has so much patience and understanding with me. He’s always wanting to help me in every different area of our work.
“It was an insane achievement for me to go from a screen test to actually getting the job, and then work with Mark, and for him to kind of mentor me has just been amazing.”
Recently, female football pundits have faced sexist abuse from trolls online. What has been your experience with this?
“Whenever I saw these Twitter trolls, the small-minded people, I have kind of always just let them go over my head
“Rachel Brown-Finnis did that piece on BT Sport and it really got to me. It upset because it was such an attack personally on her and because I know her, and I know how great she is and how phenomenal her knowledge of the game is.
“It’s just wrong and unfair that those kinds of opinions still exist in this day and age.
“She didn’t deserve it, and BT Sport decided to have a piece on the abuse female pundits get, only for it to be greeted by more abuse.
“One thing that’s nice is working for BT Sport as they are one of the channels that want to give more women an opportunity to work in different sports.”
Before we leave, I make her promise me that she’ll take me to the World Cup Final in Qatar in 2022 as the final will be held on my birthday. She laughs and says she will.
Feature image courtesy of BT Sport.