This summer we took a (virtually) sunny stroll down Dragon Lane with ITV’s Neil Thompson (OD 1975), creative commissioner, factual, news and entertainment producer and Editor at ITV’s Good Morning Britain. With 35 years in broadcast journalism, Neil began his career as part of the GMTV launch team in 1993, and has been a part of ITV’s early morning programming ever since. We asked him to reminisce about his days at the Dragon, and that all-important superpower question …
A Walk Down Dragon Lane with …
Neil Thompson (OD 1975)
My time at the Dragon School in three words
Seize the day! Another three words of course, arduus ad solem.
When I grew up, I wanted to be …
Variously, join the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery (after a trip to the Royal Tournament), the Met Police (ironically Cressida Dick was in the year above) and a newspaper reporter (after a trip to the Oxford Mail).
The superpower I wish I had
Able to render Piers Morgan speechless with a kryptonite enriched weapons grade putdown.
Tea or coffee?
Tea for pleasure, coffee for performance.
My inspiration growing up
Three ODs, my mother Priscilla & her two elder bros Stewart & Sandy, Dragons to their bootstraps.
At the top of my bucket list
I was born in Cornwall, so to walk the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path in one slog.
My most memorable moment at the Dragon
A midsummer night’s party in the Barge on the banks of the Cherwell between younger members of staff and the matrons. Thirty of us from Leviathan – School House’s senior dorm – coated ourselves in war paint made from boot polish and toothpaste. Then, clad in makeshift loincloths we gatecrashed and whooped our way through the very lively gathering as uninvited latecomers. Losing our TV rights for the rest of term and being caned by an apologetic Inky was a rather less memorable consequence!
My biggest achievement
Helping to build Fort Stink.
Advice I would give to my younger self
The same thing my father said as he dropped me off at Stradlings, Dick Chadder’s junior house. As he kissed his rather bewildered eight-year-old son goodbye, he whispered in my ear, ‘Neil, make sure you get on with Matron’. Whatever this Matron thing was, I knew I had to find it and then to get on with it. Everywhere you are in life, there is always a ‘Matron’. They may not officially run the place, but it falls apart without them. Find them, get on with them, they will be absolutely invaluable in all sorts of ways. The rest of life somehow seems to work itself out.
What’s next for Neil Thompson?
Walking the South West Coast Path, slowly …