Richard O’Smith was watched by millions as he was interviewed on the popular BBC1 show on Friday afternoon.
Richard was picked by the show’s producers to be an expert on Sadler, having written a biography about him in 2014. The book also contains an autobiographical chapter about growing up in Boston.
He explained: “I was motivated to take part by wanting to tell the story of James Sadler – a barely educated pastry cook who somehow managed to design, build and pilot the first-ever hot air balloon successfully launched by an English person. Whilst researching my biography, I discovered our area of Lincolnshire features in Sadler’s story.”
On the show Richard describes how Sadler ‘took off in a fierce gale in Birmingham in 1811 and ended up in Boston’, adding: “He flew from Birmingham to Boston in one hour 20 minutes. This made him the fastest human in history at the time – albeit unintentionally.”
The journey ended when Sadler crashed his balloon into a church tower near Heckington.
Former Boston Grammar School pupil Richard has written a number of comedy books, many on the subject of sport, and Oxford, where he now lives. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 2013 animated family film The Unbeatables and writes for BBC Radio 4’s Now Show.
Speaking about his experience, Richard added: “I enjoyed being in the show.
“Delivering my pieces to camera was fun but also demonstrably difficult.
“There’s no autocue, and when you’re reeling off a load of fact-heavy anecdotes with historical and scientific details, there’s a lot to remember - alongside the obligation to be entertaining and erudite.”