A busy few days
What a week! Or rather, ten days. To start, we have to go back to 1975. My mum found this photo and sent it to me because I asked her, “What was I doing in June 1975?” The answer was that I was ten, and wearing trunks on a beach…
…and this is why I asked. When I was in my swimming trunks, my colleague David Dimbleby was in a studio in his suit presenting the 1975 EU Referendum. 41 years later…
Here we are together. Okay, a bit self-indulgent to mention it, but as a broadcaster you do live for moments like this: a historic broadcast in the company of an all-time great. We are together, along with my pal Emily Maitlis, for the BBC Referendum Results programme. David only slightly spoiled it when I asked him what he remembered about 1975, and he said: “Nothing at all.”
Somehow the photographer got into the ceiling and took this picture of the green ocean I swim in. Introduce CGI and this becomes Downing Street, or the House of Commons, or anywhere you want really. The great step forward is that an overhead projector now shows me a ghostly image of the graphic they are superimposing, so we no longer have to ask a man to paint outlines and crosses on the floor.
I seem to remember once using this hat for a graphic about the Lib Dems. Well, after no-sleep Thursday and my programme on Radio 2 on Friday ― discussing Brexit, of course ― I head drowsily with my family to Kings Cross for the train to Grimsby. Martha, 12, carries the cowboy hat. To be explained!
Grimsby, I am in you! Yes, we are here to meet Karen and Kevin. Onstage with my other child Anna, 9, who has been invited by them to dance in their show. The cowboy hat is needed for a certain tango… yep, this really is shaping up to be a crazy week.
And this is probably my favourite photo from it. Even though she is hyper-busy, Karen finds time to do Anna’s hair. What a great experience for my little one (as I still think of her!) ― she has been rehearsing and rehearsing her two-minute dance to Lukas Graham’s “7 Years”. It’ll be her first time in front of a really big audience and I can tell this is a huge day for her.
Just before the curtains open, Karen and Kevin give us all an encouraging talk. The two nearest the camera are Giovanni Pernice (who danced with Georgia on Strictly), and Patrick Helm, one of the Strictly choreographers who became a great mate while I was on the show.
Cue raise-the-roof cheering! What I hugely admire about K&K is that this part of the year, the non-Strictly months, they have to run completely by themselves ― and it’s a massive thing to book and sell tickets for two nights in a place this size. That’s 2,600 seats and people have come from all over the country.
And what dancers. The way these two work together ― as husband and wife, but also a dancing couple ― is so instinctive. Now I know a tiny bit about about dancing, I can pick out some small things: Kevin’s foot speed (how does he do that?) and the cleanness and precision of Karen’s arm movements. Oh, and that high kick. Amazing, amazing.
PS Anna was nervous ― but her dance went brilliantly and she got a standing ovation.
After Grimsby, back to London for five days of Radio 2 ― reflecting on Brexit, of course ― and then my spiritual home, Durham. This cathedral blows my mind every time I see it.
I am here to support the Master of Hatfield College, Professor Tim Burt, a hugely popular figure who has now done 20 years in charge of the college. He has kindly put me on his table with his wife Liz. It’s a dinner with 30% students (or recent graduates) and the rest drawn from alumni from years gone by. The atmosphere is ― good, to say the least.
As you can see from the selfies!
Heading from Durham to Glasgow for another block of Eggheads-recordings. So now I have to parent long-distance ― my wife Rachel is doing the heavy lifting close up ― and I send my eldest this quiz question based on all the trouble in the Conservative party. Go on, Martha, have a go. Your prize will be an Agatha Christie…
Glasgow. It’s a bit unusual, this Eggheads series. We are meeting new male and female quizzers who might have what it takes to be permanent Eggheads. Forty people whittled down to two. Lots of quizzing, lots of Eggy fun.
It means I have to introduce the programme slightly differently, so I change the famous words at the start. This will be called MAKE ME AN EGGHEAD (its forerunner, presented by Dermot Murnaghan, was ARE YOU AN EGGHEAD?). It breaks the normal Eggheads routine and is brilliant fun to do.
My daughter got the quiz question right — the answer was Sarah Vine — so I have sent her the prize! No spoilers please! When I was 12, I also read loads of Agatha Christies. It is a great tribute to the Queen of Crime that her writing has survived across the generations.
Have a great week yourself