Cheltenham Literature Festival: Jeremy Vine – It’s All News To Me

Signed Copy of Jeremy Vine's Book

Its not often that I’m away from home on a Saturday night, but this weekend I spent an extra night at my house in Cheltenham in order to go to the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

I’ve already been to three events this year – Meet the Controller of BBC Radio 4, Tweets and the Streets and the BBC World Service at 80. But the event I have been looking forward to since I booked my ticket to it in August, was Jeremy Vine’s talk ‘It’s All News To Me’ (named after his book).

As an avid listener to BBC Radio 2, including Vine’s own programme, this looked like the perfect opportunity to hear from him, to hear what he has to say, and an opportunity to get a copy of his book – It’s All News To Me: How I Got Locked Inside the BBC for 25 Years.

It was a very enjoyable evening; Jeremy read a few extracts from his book and spoke about his Radio 2 show, his time on Newsnight, as a BBC trainee and as a journalist/reporter for a newspaper in Coventry. Some bits were serious, some bits quite funny – the fact you can’t get in to the BBC without a pass, the mistakes he made when he first started out as a newspaper journalist, as a ‘junior’ reporter for the Today programme and some of the things callers to his Radio 2 programme say.

After the main talk was over, the floor was opened for questions from the audience. This was interesting too, as Vine recalled meeting a friend at the BBC R2 studios and they walked past 3 radio icons: Sir Terry, Steve Wright and Chris Evans in the space of 20 minutes. And there was one question – ‘If you were working on Newsnight last December, would you have shelved the Jimmy Savile story’? – I thought he handled that well, explaining that he doesn’t have any inside knowledge, but that the new BBC DG, George Entwhistle will find out if there is any truth in the allegation that it was shelved because there was a tribute programme due to go out on the other side at the same time.

Then there was a book signing in the Waterstone’s tent. I went over, got a copy of his book and now I have a signed copy sitting on the desk in front of me. But I can’t read it until I’ve finished my current book (Jeremy Clarkson, in case you’re wondering. I finished Sir Robin Day’s memoirs about 2 weeks ago).

I enjoyed the evening – it was great to hear from someone who I listen to on the radio most days talking about himself for a change, rather than about what’s going on in the news.

I haven’t got tickets to any events at the Lit Fest today, but I’m looking forward to next October, and seeing who will be appearing at next year’s literature festival.

Now… Wogan’s on Radio 2 in 10 minutes, and I have a lot of e-mails to get through as well. So I’ll write again on this blog soon.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,


Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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