Christine Lampard is one of the most well-known faces in British television, having been seen in such programmes as The One Show, This Morning and the upcoming The Nature of Friendship.
Her latest role is as ambassador for BT Call Protect, fighting nuisance calls. It’s a subject she’s very passionate about, as we found out when we spoke to her at the launch in the BT Tower.
“I think it’s a real invasion of peoples’ home lives to have your phone constantly going with someone saying, ‘I only need a moment of your time to sell windows or PPI’ - which is one of the major ones,” Christine says.
“When we were in New York, my mum was constantly picking the phone up, thinking it was us, and it would be one of these random calls. My parents get more than the average – the research that was done recently was that there were four to five nuisance calls per week for most people. My parents definitely get more than that and it’s just a total nuisance. You get to the stage where you don’t want to answer your own phone. That’s not on.”
One piece of advice for dealing with nuisance calls is to hang up the phone, something Christine says goes against her nature: “I can’t be that rude. But the second I hear and I realise that’s what it is, I just put the phone down, but I’ve had a few when they phone back. It’s not like putting the phone down makes them go away, they do call back.”
BT’s research found that older and often more vulnerable people, particularly grandparents, are worried about nuisance calls, something that makes Christine very angry: “A landline is a lifeline to an awful lot of elderly people and for that to be in any way abused is ridiculous.
“How dare someone do that to an innocent person sitting at home? They’re just talking and trying to be nice to them, but we know it’s all about money, which I think is just awful. I know the Government is taking it very seriously this year too. So if we can stamp out the nuisance call thing, this to me is a huge, huge step towards doing it.
“I think it’s really important, BT Call Protect makes it very easy for all age groups.
“BT Call Protect is a really good initiative, it’s free, it’s easy to get sorted, which I think is a major issue. You don’t have to fill in lots of forms - that just puts people off. This is a really easy initiative, everyone has to have it.”
Although Lampard is best known for being in front of the camera, she started her career behind the camera working for BBC Northern Ireland.
“My love of television came about because I loved cameras. When I was eight or nine I asked Santa for a camera. My parents have got hundreds of VHS tapes at home - I’m not in any of them as it’s me doing all the filming.
“When I started to work in television I wanted to be a camerawoman. I was obsessed by it. From a technology point of view, television to me was the be all and end all. I love the idea of someone sitting way, way over there, watching what we are doing in this room. That to me still excites me. When I walk into a studio I still get a bit of a buzz from the technical side. It’s not talking to the camera, it’s what goes on behind it.”
Technologies such as Ultra HD/4K and HDR are improving the quality of pictures, which is changing sports broadcasting - something that excites Lampard: “We were watching BT Sport yesterday, it’s just brilliantly done, it evolves all the time, but those big stadiums, from a technology point of view I think it’s fantastic.”
More us have smartphones, with the capability to broadcast our lives using features like Facebook Live. This is something Christine thinks will change the way we watch television.
“I get my news most of the time on my phone, whether it’s on Twitter or one of the news broadcasters. I follow them on social media, so I’m getting pings from BBC News or something - it’s on you constantly,” she says.
“Everyone is broadcasting everything, whether you agree with it or disagree, the ability is there. So anyone can be ‘on the telly’. It wasn’t the case ten years ago.”
Lampard is stepmother to husband Frank Lampard’s two children. She says like many children they go to YouTube to watch TV.
“I remember years ago, you got back from school and you knew Blue Peter was on at 5pm. Everything is instant now - if they want to watch an episode of Jessie, they’ll watch it whenever they want, it’s at their fingertips on their iPads
“I was explaining to the girls last night what we were doing. We were saying, years ago your home phone, your landline was all you had. They looked at me like, ‘you are so ancient!’ It wasn’t even that long ago! When you think of how things have evolved even in the past five to ten years particularly, it’s mindboggling to keep up with.”
Kelly Barlow, Director of Voice and Mobile at BT talks about BT Call Protect on Which? Conversation.
BT Call Protect is a free service available to landline customers, which automatically diverts nuisance calls to your junk voicemail. Find out more