When Emma Barnett stood in for Andrew Marr eleven weeks after giving birth, her confident performance and tough interview style caused such a stir that viewers took to social media en masse to call for the 5Live radio presenter to be given a permanent slot. On his return, Marr himself even had to break it to an interviewee that he wasn’t going to go ‘full Emma Barnett’ on him.
So, I’m delighted to announce Emma as the first guest for new Spectator podcast Women with Balls. Prior to joining the BBC, Barnett was Women’s Editor at the Daily Telegraph and a presenter on LBC. In the series, I’ll be sitting down with trailblazing women. The podcast will run fortnightly and other interviewees lined up including Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Dame Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at Legal & General.
In the first episode, Emma Barnett talks the pros and cons of being a difficult woman – (‘I have developed a talent for being disliked at times’) and reveals what it was like stepping into Andrew Marr’s shoes:
‘I think if you’re going to stand in for someone, you’ve got to make it your own. And I didn’t really think about it – I mean I’ve watched that show all my life and before that I watched Frost and it’s not good to think how those people would do it, you’ve just got to think about how you would do it.
The most nerve wracking moment of the whole thing was that it was on Gogglebox two days later and I was sitting slumped. And one of them went ‘Who’s this Holly Willoughby type?!’ and then by the end she went ‘God, you wouldn’t mess with her, would you?!’ and then I was like if there alright with me then I’m alright with me.