PROFILE: David Bull, IncrediBULL Ideas - Bull to take comms and TV by the horn. Watch out world, David Bull is on a five-year mission and he means business

David Bull is almost unbelievably self-confident. He is also

charming and prone to self-deprecative humour - the anecdote about being

pinned to a wall and threatened by two angry viewers is a case in

point.



For Bull is not just David Bull, nascent PR and event management agency

owner - he is also Dr David from Watchdog Healthcheck. 'I am a presenter

with a medical degree, not a TV doctor,' he says quickly. He is also by

his own admission 'a complete show-off and natural entertainer'.



And herein hang the question marks. IncrediBULL Ideas, the company he

set up in November with Richard Parkinson, formerly consultant at PA

Consulting, looks to provide a full PR service for its clients.



But does Bull always remember that, in PR, it is the clients who need

the publicity? And he is also a client, since the agency does his own

PR. This is a simple question of difference between David Bull the man

and David Bull 'the product', he says.



Okay, but while we're on the subject of blurring boundaries, even the

least cynical would struggle to accept that there is no potential

conflict of interest between his role as medical consumer champion on

BBC TV and his role as co-owner of an agency which numbers the Cystic

Fibrosis Trust (CFT) among its key clients. Bull rejects this, saying:

'I am very up front about what I do.'



For the record, the trust even features in the new series of Watchdog -

although neither Bull nor IncrediBULL was involved. Parkinson counters

these points by saying that Bull is not involved in the day-to-day

running of the PR side. 'CFT was dealing with watchdog directly,' he

says.



'I'm an ideas person,' Bull says. He is also the unabashed figurehead of

a company looking for investors and new accounts.



Parkinson rejects the notion that IncrediBULL is an events company with

a minor celebrity and some PR activity attached. Of the agency's pounds

250,000 projected fee income in its first year, 60 per cent is PR and 40

per cent events, he says. In addition to CFT, there is work for another

charity, Suffolk Cancer Care, as well as the internet design business of

Incepta Online.



Parkinson brought the Hewlett-Packard account with him from PA, while

design, TV production and a talent agency will be added in due course,

all feeding off each other.



'We can PR the talent and the talent can come along to the events,'

Parkinson says. 'David brings the vision of the company and where it's

going to be, knowing the right people to move it on.'



These people - mates, Bull calls them - include Vanessa Feltz, Charlie

Dimmock, Jools Holland and, of course, Anne Robinson.



There is certainly more to Bull than is immediately apparent. He has two

medical degrees and says he could have become a consultant, but that was

not the plan. 'I always knew I was never going to be a 'normal' doctor,'

he says. The lure of Sky TV, children's BBC and, finally, Watchdog

became more pressing.



Bull was prompted to start his own PR agency because, unsurprisingly, he

was dissatisfied with existing service. 'Friends of mine who are quite

well-known people - very well-known people - said it's a waste of

money,' he confides. He is determined to change all that, setting

'realistic targets' and combining 'honesty with optimism'.



CFT marketing and fundraising director David Stickels is more than

happy: 'David has been great for us. He's in your face, he is what he

is.'



Bull has a bulging contact book and he is definitely not afraid to use

it. He has a nice line in well-practised bon mots: 'I did my time

sitting on the sofa talking about haemorrhoids.'



He writes books (on teenage sex). He works out regularly: 'My work is so

intellectually demanding, it's really good to do something physical.'

And he has a five-year plan: 'I want to be a main face of BBC1', i.e. he

will be the presenter of a big primetime show.



Since his personal credo - which could have been lifted from a teenage

problem page - is 'belief creates reality', you wouldn't bet against it.

This is not someone who just fell into TV in the first place - he leapt

in with his own jet pack.



On a children's website, Bull recently admitted to being bullied when

younger. He has seen one or two of his tormentors since his relentless

ascent to TV Heaven pushed him towards the light entertainment

firmament. 'Even people who hated me pretend to be my best friend now,'

he says thoughtfully.



HIGHLIGHTS

1993: BSc, St Mary's Medical School, London Uni

1996: Presenter, Newsround

1999: Reporter, Watchdog

2001: Founder, IncrediBULL Ideas



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