Television presenter Nick Knowles has leapt to the defence of Rhod Gilbert who stood in for him on Tuesday night’s emotional episode of DIY SOS: The Big Build in Hull.
Many fans of the programme turned to Twitter as the programme began slating the Welsh comic and demanding Nick’s return.
The Children in Need Special aired on BBC One at 9pm and saw a team of volunteers turn an empty field in Brandesburton into a purpose built adventure camping site.
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The DIY SOS team, with the help of trade volunteers, had big plans to transform the two-and-a-half acre field for St Michael’s Youth Project in Hull.
The episode saw guest presenter and comedian Rhod, standing in for Nick, and the team of Mark, Chris, Jules, Billy and adventure playground engineer, John O’Driscoll, join with “kind” local tradesmen and volunteers to embark on a build to improve the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people in Hull and the surrounding areas.
But rather than focus on the incredible work and the impact it will have on children in Hull, many in Twitter moaned about Rhod standing in.
Niallo said: “Just not the same without Nick Knowles.”
Matt Toomer added: “Is this Welsh bloke speaking normally? His voice is extremely irritating!”
Jessica Simpson decided she was not going to watch the heartwarming show.
She said: “Just not the same without [Nick Knowles] – He is a much better presenter. I’m afraid I’m not going to bother watching the rest of it.”
Nick, 59, had to miss the special episode because he played a builder in the Shreddies advert.
Under the BBC’s editorial guidelines, actors and artists who appear in its shows are prohibited from appearing in promotional work “in a way which mimics or replicates their on-air roles for the BBC”.
Nick, who has presented the show since its inception in 1999, will return to DIY SOS in 2022 and has already filmed a forthcoming episode at the Southmead Adventure Playground in Bristol.
He stepped in on Twitter and defending his replacement.
He said: “Rhod is a lovely chap, was properly emotionally engaged, did a great job and it really is about the kids and raising funds for [BBC Children in Need].
“I appreciate people being loyal to me but I really urge you all to support this build and Rhod and donate if you can Smiling face with smiling eyes. Thanku x”
Indeed, as the show went on and Rhod’s emotions showed, support seemed to grow on Twitter.
The show captured the intense race to get the job done in just over a week.
The impressive build features a landscaped campfire; a pizza oven to teach cooking; an exterior covered classroom; a circular mountain bike course – duel skill level about 1 km; a bird watching tower, a low walk rope, an adventure playground, a toilet/shower block; and a storage unit for 20 tents/20 bikes.
It was completed in ten days and the programme followed the trials and tribulations of the team, tradespeople and volunteers as they navigated supply chain delays and difficult weather conditions, as well as Covid-19 restrictions to complete the build on time.
For over 30 years, St Michael’s have been working with children and young people in Hull and surrounding areas to deliver a variety of activities that improve children and young people’s emotional and physical health and wellbeing whilst supporting them to build their confidence and self-esteem and raising their aspirations for the future, encouraging them to reach their potential.
The project works with more than 500 children and young people who have “little to no access” to gardens or greenspaces, and through their programme of support gives them the opportunity to “enjoy the benefits” of, and learn from, the natural world.
St Michael’s organise a small number of camping trips throughout the year at sites that are at least three hours away, which means that not all of the children they support are able to access them currently.
St Mike’s worker Jo Lorenz, said of the centre: “This goes beyond what we could have even dreamed of because we wouldn’t have even known where to start.”
“It’s going to make those kids feel wanted, rather than getting moved on. This is their place.”
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