Tip: If BBC Phones, Get Your Knickers On Quick!

Jenni Murray

I shared this story last week with my specialist RenewYou trainers on our specialist web site. They liked it; I hope you do too.

Last week  I was woken by the insistent ringing of my mobile at 7 am. My alarm was set for 7.15 but I was deeply asleep.

I leapt out of bed, fearing it was my mum who’d had a fall or something and the alarm care people were calling me. ‘Yes‘, I rushed into the mouthpiece, ‘Jane Woods here’.

Good morning Jane, apologies for the early call but I’m from BBC Radio London and we noticed that you were unhappy about Julien Blanc coming to this country. (Watch what you tweet out, it will come back to haunt you). Paul Ross and Penny Smith are discussing this on the breakfast show; would you be prepared to contribute?

Me: “Yes” Always say yes and worry about it afterwards is my motto. But I didn’t have any time to worry because his next question was:

What do you think about it, his not being allowed to enter the UK?

It’s now 7.02am and I am beginning to wake up and realise that this is nothing to do with Mum at all.

I reply: “Well, for once I applaud the decision of a Tory Led Government and think they did the right thing.”

Researcher: “Good, that’s great. We’ll call you in 10 minutes if that’s OK.” He hangs up after I say a dazed yes, it is OK. I stare bemusedly at my phone for a few seconds. Did that just happen? I’ve done radio quite a few times now but usually I know in advance I’m going to do it. I don’t usually do it only wearing a nightdress…

Ten minutes! What should I do? Get dressed? Research the ghastly Julien Blanc? Do I remember what he said that incensed me so? (I do, as it happens). Have tea?

I settle on going to the loo, wrapping my dressing gown tightly around me and going into the office. After a few moments the office phone rings.

Jane, I’m just going to put you through and you’ll be talking with Penny and Paul.” Oh, I think, a few words with them off air to brief me. Good.

Then I hear “And we’d like to welcome Jane Woods to the show. Jane was a social worker in Bermondsey and now runs her own company training women in confidence building. Jane, what do you think….”

And that was it, I was on. I can’t even tell you for how long. I think I made some reasonable points but just to be sure I’ve blogged on my views too. Certainly, if I’d had more time to think I might have been more erudite, but there you go. There was no time to think or even to get dressed.

So, my advice is, always be prepared, and get your knickers on as fast as possible as it makes you feel more professional!

Update: On Tuesday, a charming BBC researcher called me and asked if I would be happy to talk on BBC Women’s Hour in a segment about Listener’s Week with Jenni Murray. Dame Jenni Murray! My hero. I tried not to be too eager sounding as I replied that yes, that could work…

I got off the phone, skipped out of the office downstairs,  and danced around the kitchen, much to the amusement of my husband. ‘I do believe you’re happier about this than you were about going to Graceland’ he said, wryly. Err, YES! It’s Dame Jenni Murray!

How civilised of BBC Woman’s Hour, to give me a whole 3 days notice. You can be sure I will be wearing all essential items and very fully clothed for this one. I’ll let you know how it goes. But then again, maybe you’ll tune in…


Posted on November 26th, 2014 by

8 Responses to “Tip: If BBC Phones, Get Your Knickers On Quick!”

  1. Bridget Beer says:

    This is great and reminds me of doing a live piece about flooding on R5 kneeling on my bed with wet hair and dryer at the ready as soon as the interview was over!

  2. Inge Woudstra says:

    Thanks for sharing Jane. Ten minutes is very short, I have always had a few hours notice. Just sufficient to Google the item in the news, and come up with some sort of coherent view. Always say yes. Do agree.

  3. What a great story Jane, and looking forward to hearing you on R4 this Friday.

  4. Carmen says:

    Your story made me chuckle!

  5. Another tip – be ready for them to phone you and say “we don’t need you after all!” Been on BBC Breakfast a couple of times live and pre record, Radio 5 and regional stations. Been ‘phoned another couple of time by BBC who said they wanted me then get back and say “not this time”. Must have said something wrong on the telephone (I think mentioning someone else’s website as good was possibly a no no?!) and the latest was for a pre record and they couldn’t find a film crew to get to me (and I’m London!) You live and learn.

    Once did a phone in for a radio station given half hour’s notice, I’d already started on the wine… Luckily I think it went ok!

    • Jane says:

      Ha ha. The wine may have improved it! Yes, I’ve had the ‘we don’t need you thing’ and was half expecting this time when P.D.James death was announced, as she was a Woman’s Hour regular. I am very grateful to local BBC Radio Bristol for ‘teaching’ me how it works. Let us know when you’re next on!

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