I have more than thirty years’ experience of live news and comment on BBC radio and television, starting out as a Radio Leicester reporter in 1985. I was in New York after 9/11, Baghdad months after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Kabul once it was freed of the Taliban, and Soweto as people voted for Nelson Mandela to become president. At home I’ve covered UK general elections since 1987, commentated on Royal events, and described Ryder Cup and Ashes victories.
Thirteen years at Radio Five Live have been the career highlight so far, and during that time I won three Sony Gold awards and two Sony Silvers. Here’s a critique of ‘Five Live Breakfast’ from those Sony judges in 2001:
“Broadcast on the morning of the US Election fiasco, BBC Radio Five Live covered this breaking story with assurance and authority but with the programme’s trademark relaxed, humorous and confident style. Whilst concentrating on the election of a new world leader, the programme managed to seamlessly maintain coverage of the UK news agenda. The presenters and the production team manage to give a great sense of confidence without ever running the risk of sounding pompous and always with humour where appropriate.”
From 2003 I became Five Live’s Sunday morning voice, presenting a mix of investigations, political interviews and wry comment on the events of the day. Gillian Reynolds, long-time radio critic of the Daily Telegraph, seemed to like it:
“In the thrilling Ashes season, this network developed a cricket style all of its own, snappier than that of doddery old Test Match Special.
Matthew Bannister’s calm presentation on the day of the London bombings won universal praise. Julian Worricker’s Sunday show remains superb.”
Since 2008 I’ve floated between BBC World Service where I present ‘Weekend’ on Saturday and Sunday mornings, the BBC News Channel, and BBC Radio 4. On the latter I appear regularly on ‘Any Answers’ and ‘Last Word’, having previously presented ‘You & Yours’ for five years. Critics liked the latter too:
On television news I made it onto a BBC postcard when I was on air on the News Channel as Her Majesty the Queen officially opened New Broadcasting House. Her approach to the news studio, as Sophie Long and I were broadcasting, created an image that made most of the following morning’s front pages. I was, apparently, photobombed by the Queen.