A few weeks ago I did a tryout for LBC to present a show with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. We spent forty minutes in a tiny studio doing a mock show. To be honest I wasn't sure that it went very well. Anyway, something must have sparked.
I had an important meeting this afternoon to decide on which new titles to commission for Biteback Publishing so I didn't get to LBC until just after 5, so there were only two hours to prepare. We decided on the subjects and then I had to record a couple of trailers and do a live taster on James Maxx's drivetime show. Having not eaten since breakfast I popped out into Leicester Square to get something to keep my energy levels up - not good for the diet!
In the last hour we decided to cover the subject of assisted suicide - way outside my comfort zone. They had lined up MS sufferer Deborah Purdy to talk about why the law needs to be clarified. I suggested getting Nadine Dorries on to put the counter point of view.
And before I knew it, it was time to go into the studio. One and a half minutes to get my papers sorted out and off we went. No script. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end. We spent the first 45 minutes talking about the LibDems and asking listeners: "What's the point of the LibDems?" Mike Smithson from PoliticalBetting.com came on and was fairly scathing about the conference and LibDem strategy against the Tories, as was virtually every caller with the exception of the ever loyal Mark Thompson who called in having just got home from Bournemouth. People really don't like Vince Cable's mansion tax.
In the second hour we did the regular Wednesday night panel with guests Will Straw, Baroness Ludford MEP and James Broeknshire MEP. We had a lot of callers and talked about Baroness Scotland, Gordon Brown and climate change. The hour went by very quickly indeed.
In the final hour we talked about assisted suicide, following today's clarification of existing law by the DPP. I hope people felt I treated it with the sensitivity it merited. I interviewed Debbie Purdy, the MS sufferer who had forced the law to clarified. She was a brilliant interviewee and rather inspirational, I felt. I then interviewed Nadine Dorries who thinks the law should remain as it is. She pointed out the dangers of the state condoning assisted suicide. We had quite an abrasive interview although she remained very calm. I think she felt I had given her a bit of a hard ride.
The last part of the show was the stickiest as there was a problem with the phones so I had to extemporise like mad. But I think I just about pulled it off.
And before I knew it, it was all over. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. To be honest I felt totally at home. A professional radio presenter friend of mine twittered me afterwards and said...
That was the most laid back debut I've ever heard. You're a natural.
That meant a lot. But it was the text from the LBC MD which I was dreading. But I needn't have. It ended with the words.
Consider yourself part of the LBC team.Job done!