Wednesday, 28 November 2012

On the Mic - Surrey Life - November 2012

Surrey Life's December issue is out, which means I can put my column for November's issue (below) up here.

"I’ve been presenting the breakfast show on BBC Surrey for the last three years. It’s been great, but I’ve decided to move on.
Thankfully the lovely people who look after BBC Surrey have very kindly agreed to let me continue presenting my Saturday show, but my part in hosting the weekday breakfast programme will come to an end. It’s time to give someone else a go.

Presenting BBC Surrey breakfast has been a gas. It really has. The best job I’ve ever had, bar none. In the last three years I have met hundreds of extraordinary people and learned a vast amount about our stunningly beautiful county. I have had the opportunity to visit some wonderful places and record some fascinating stories. 

Here are a few highlights...

- Meeting Dame Judi Dench, the wildlife artist David Shepherd and Springwatch’s Chris Packham at the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield. Dame Judi has been described as the world’s greatest living actress. She also has a thing for red squirrels, she told us, as she officially opened the centre’s new enclosure. 
- Trudging through a eighteen inches of snow to our Guildford studios at five in the morning during the winter of 2009/10. At times like this people rely on BBC local radio, and making sure we were able to get to our own buildings was a major logistical operation. The breakfast team had been gathered from all corners and we were holed up in a nearby hotel. When we awoke and saw the amount of snow which had fallen overnight we realised using our cars to make the half mile trip to the station was out of the question. We got on air on time, and as the morning progressed, it became apparent we were playing a critical part in sharing vital information about the state of our snowbound county.

- Presenting BBC Surrey breakfast live in the morning sunshine from the 2011 Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Our open-air studio consisted of two computers and a picnic table, five floors up, next to the breakfast bar on the turfed roof of the media centre which overlooks the grounds of the All England Club. It was as glorious as it sounds.

- Having a testicle examination live on air. It would be the sort of thing that would make anyone nervous at the best of times. Providing a running commentary into a microphone whilst a doctor had an important part of my body in his hands certainly made for an interesting experience. 
- Interviewing a gentleman in my studio about an amateur dramatic production he was directing. I was convinced I had met him before. I had. He was my old headmaster from when I attended West Byfleet Middle School in 1983. I hadn’t seen him for 29 years. I love the way that radio can bring you into contact with the most unlikely people at the most unexpected times. 
- Providing a live commentary on the Olympic torch relay as it made its way through Surrey for the final time. Our position on the media bus gave us a grandstand view of everything as it happened. It was surreal, moving, inspiring, emotionally draining and the most fun I think I’ve ever had with a microphone.

There have been many more memorable moments, and though part of me is loath to say goodbye, I think it’s the right time. I’ve got a few more things I want to do with my career which just aren’t compatible with getting up at 3.45am six days a week.

I will remember my time doing the biggest show on BBC Surrey with considerable fondness. It’s been a privilege doing this job, and I would recommend it to anyone. If you fancy it… there’s a vacancy. Give the boss a call!"


December's edition of Surrey Life is on sale now for £3.15

You can find some of my previous columns below:

October 2012 - on trying to engage brain and mouth in harmony
September 2012 - on my BBC microphone
August 2012 - on the Olympics
July 2012 - on being on holiday with three small children
June 2012 - on joining a gym
May 2012 - on making live radio
April 2012 - on being ill

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