Jerry Hayes

Jeremy Vine’s survival guide

I first knew Jeremy Vine as a very young, charming, earnest and totally driven political correspondent for the BBC in the 1980s. So when I started reading It’s All News to Me, I was dreading a rather worthy read. I was delightfully disappointed. This is a wonderful bitchfest of not quite malicious gossip and the power struggles at the BBC. In politics it is dog eat dog. At the beeb it is the other way round. Any aspiring broadcaster should use this book as a survival manual.

There are some wonderful quotes. From former political editor Robin Oakley:

‘The people at the top of the BBC don’t have very much power, so when they act, it tends to be very violent.’

The legendary John Sergeant has some crackers. When Vine was very pleased to be one of the youngest stand-ins on the Today programme he warned the young pup:

‘You don’t want to be the youngest, Jeremy. You want to be the oldest.’

And when the seriously delightful Oakley froze on screen Sergeant:

‘Wearing an expression that he was suffering terrible pain over the incident himself Sergeant told Oakely, “Don’t worry Robin. We’ve nearly all done that.”

And be wary of the words of Sergeantian praise:

‘Jeremy’s scripts are so good , sometimes you wonder if the story even matters…….his sense of judgement will come.’

When the young Vine was dispatched to cover an Ashdown temper tantrum, Sergeant rang the other correspondents:

‘You need to know, there’s been a row. Paddy’s gone into full SAS mode. I’m afraid it’s Jeremy again.’

And when there was a piece in the Times suggesting that Vine or John Sopel could be the next political editor, Sergeant opined:

‘The person I feel most sorry for is Huw (Edwards). Not even mentioned.’


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