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“I walked out and said I’m gonna be on the radio” -BBC’s Jeremy Vine recalls his early experiences working as a reporter

BBC’s Jeremy Vine has grown to be one of the most famous faces in British media, having his own chatshow on Channel 5 as well as a two-hour slot on BBC Radio Two. In this week’s Journalism and Media Week at Leeds Trinity University, Vine explained a regular working day in his life.

“I get up at 4:40 and I cycle in to do ITN. I do a two-hour show there, and then I come to Radio Two to do a two-hour show here so that’s four hours a day, that’s twenty hours a week live, so I feel good, and in the end, it’s not work, let’s be honest.”

He also takes us back forty-five years when he was just twelve years of age, when he got his first taste of the industry he would make his career in.

“At the age of twelve, I wrote a letter to Capital Radio in London and they had a young DJ slot where you did fifteen minutes on a Sunday and I got in and I played some really bad records – I think I played James Galway and Elvis Presley but it was 1977 and I just walked out and said I’m gonna be on the radio.”

Jeremy Vine speaking at Journalism and Media Week at Leeds Trinity University

Jeremy started at the BBC in 1987, with the BBC itself recently celebrating being a century old, and Jeremy recounts his time as a trainee, a time when he was desperate to start reporting. But when he joined the course, he was told he would have to be a producer.

“I just thought ‘stuff that’. So, I started trying to get some reporting work while I was a trainee and I noticed when I was coming from Oxford Circus Tube down the road from here I would go to Carnanby Street and there was a store there that was selling Nazi memorabilia, it was awful.

“So, I started trying to do an interview, and the guy then tried to attack me; he came at me with a piece of wood and hit me with it. He swung it a couple of times and I moved to one side, and he hit the tape recorder with the wood which turned it off, which was really annoying.

“So, when I did the piece on the air, you could just hear me saying ‘the shop keeper has come out, and he’s trying to hit me, stop it’ and that was my first appearance, it was unceremonious…

“But I suddenly realised I started to exist.

“So that was 1987 and I was a trainee and I just hustled, and that’s what your students there are going to have to do.”

Jeremy Vine also highlighted the importance of journalists holding people in power to account – but said journalists themselves are now under scrutiny in the same way as politicians and people in public office are.

“People no longer say it doesn’t matter who’s asking the questions. They’re quite interested – who’s that asking the questions, how much do they get paid, is he a Tory, is he Labour, what’s going on?

“So we have to be prepared for that scrutiny as well, and I think that can be quite uncomfortable actually.”

What do you think?