The One Show

The One Show - 29 March 2018

I knew it was approaching the anniversary of the Babylift.  Since I’ve been searching for answers I’ve been very conscious of this time of the year.  This year was no different.

Until now…

Out of the blue I receive an email from The One Show.  I must admit, to begin with I thought it was a bit of a hoax.

He explains his name is Glen and he’s a researcher for The One Show.  He explains he’s covering a story on a man called Vance from Northern Ireland in his search and the fact that he is in Vietnam currently, having found his birth mother through a DNA test.  He was a baby on Operation Babylift in 1975 and all of a sudden it starts to fall into place.

I met Vance just two years ago when he did his own documentary and I even introduced Vance to Brian Freemantle, the instigator of Operation Babylift, all those years ago, when he was the Foreign Editor of The Daily Mail in 1975.

So I call him back and this Glen is a right laugh!  I found him really easy to talk to and really enjoyed our conversations, telling him all about my past and what I know (and more importantly, what I don’t), and he’s so interested – bless him, I know he needs to pay attention but I can wax lyrical about my story, my sure his eyes glazed over at some point, but being so easy to talk to I’m sure this has secured my place on the show.

So, before I know it, I am firming up details of appearing on The One Show and now they want Brian to be on the show as well since I have told them I will be bringing him as my guest.

That evening, Wednesday 28 March 2018, I will never forget.  I am being interviewed next to Brian Freemantle by The One Show’s Matt Baker and Alex Jones right next to Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans (Miss Saigon) talking about my former life – such a surreal experience.  Other guests on the show included Mariella Fostrop & Rev Richard Coles and George Ezra singing his new song, ‘Paradise’.

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Author: Viktoria Cowley

Viktoria Cowley has a birth certificate to prove she was born, however, the date of this she knows not to be true. In fact, she knows very little about her first few years of life before she was adopted by a British family, father Douglas and mother Jennifer and brother Jonathan. What she knows about life before this is still a mystery, Viktoria was in the Lam Thi Ny orphanage in the district of Gia Dinh, Saigon, having been supposedly 'abandoned' by her mother. Viktoria does not know her birth name as it was changed when she entered the orphanage to Lam Yen Hang, neither does she know when or where she was really born. Her parentage is also a mystery - having been told two conflicting stories, however, following a DNA test, both stories have been proven to be untrue, and instead of being 100% Vietnamese, is only half Vietnamese so can only assume she is the product of a serviceman and Vietnamese mother. Viktoria's adoptive father worked for the British American Tobacco company in Vietnam at the time and had chosen her from her orphanage and started the adoption process back in 1974. Douglas had finished his tour of duty at the end of 1974 and had made arrangements for Viktoria to be accompanied by a friend to the UK in June of 1975, however by that time, Vietnam was coming to its end and the careful arrangements were no longer going to work. Operation Babylift started and Viktoria was flown to the UK when the then-Foreign Editor of the Daily Mail, Brian Freemantle, instigated the UK Babylift, helping to bring 100 Vietnamese orphans to safety. She quite often refers to herself as being "the baby in the middle" of three on the front page of the Daily Mail of 7 April 1975. Viktoria lives with Paul and they have a son, Harry, named after Brian Freemantle (Brian's middle name) in recognition of Operation Babylift. She often states she doesn't know whether she would be where she is today if it hadn't been for him as all records and information had been destroyed and she wonders if she would have even made it to her 'forever family' had he not stepped in. Harry still remains Viktoria's only genetic connection that she knows about to date. Viktoria has appeared on many media programs over the years, including BBC One: Inside Out South East (2009), BBC One 'Airmail Orphan' (2010), BBC One South East Today (2009), BBC News 24 (2010) BBC The One Show (2018) and has done various radio interviews, including BBC Radio Five Live with Nicky Campbell (2010); BBC World Service, BBC Radio Scotland. Viktoria has various online resources for collating and sharing information with others and is attempting to write a story based on her Operation Babylift beginnings.

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