Why Jeremy Vine Loves Chiswick
Festivals, curries and football are part of his life in W4
Jeremy Vine is a dedicated football fan but these days rarely gets time to watch the Euros or even pay too much attention to his beloved Chelsea.
Fresh from the launch of his first book ‘ It’s All News To Me’, the Chiswick-based BBC presenter is currently doing the circuit of festivals and interviews, from Hay-on-Wye, to the sleepy town of Melrose on the Scottish Borders, and even Althorp Castle, home to Charles Spencer, brother of Princess Diana.
Jeremy at the Chiswick Summer Fair
It’s a new experience for him, but with customary enthusiasm he’s finding the whole business exciting rather than exhausting – a chance to connect with the public in person, rather than through the radio.
“I’m delighted that books seem to have somehow survived despite the digital age. The whole festival world means the public can have close contact with the author at readings, and book signings. It’s been brilliant”.
“It’s All News To Me” tells the story of his 25 years with the BBC, with plenty of anecdotes and gossip from his days working in the Westminster political office, and ranges over his time on Newsnight and the Today Programme as well as working abroad.
He also writes about the characters he encountered as a foreign correspondent based in South Africa and about how he came to succeed Jimmy Young as a presenter on BBC Radio Two. The Jeremy Vine show, which is broadcast at noon, has six million listeners and captures the zeitgeist of public mood from the quirky to the political.
The book took six months to write and he did it in snatches of time, mostly on his phone
“I jotted down things when I had a minute but in truth I had been mulling it over for years .”
Jeremy moved to Chiswick about five years ago with his wife Rachel Schofield (who is a BBC News presenter) and now their life is happily centred around a quiet tree-lined street with their two young daughters.
“We had lived in Brackenbury village, which was lovely, in a street which was so quiet you could hear your own footsteps but then we needed something a bit bigger when the children came along and wanted a garden so Chiswick seemed ideal, and we love it here”.
He enjoys cycling along the river, taking the train in to the South Bank and walking around, or just wandering along the High Road and into the bookshops.
“We do lots of ordinary things, have a pizza in Franco Manca, or a curry in Annapurna. I’m a member of High Road House, and sometimes I just pop in to a pub on the High Road to watch the football.”
Other high points about Chiswick?
“The festivals, like the Bedford Park festival , or the Chiswick Summer Fair which I’m opening again this year, or Artists At Home, (his sister Sonya is an artist living in Chiswick) the only thing I’m not happy about is that there’s now nowhere to buy music”.
Born in Epsom, Surrey in 1965, (his younger brother is comedian Tim Vine) he studied English at Durham University, and joined the Coventry Evening Telegraph as a trainee reporter “in the days of typewriters and hot metal”, before getting a job with the BBC in 1987.
Amongst his several awards are two Sony Broadcast awards, one for Interview of the Year in 2010 prior to the election when the Prime Minister Gordon Brown put his head in his hands when Jeremy played a recording of him calling a voter a bigot. He also took over the Swingometer on election nights from Peter Snow.
Well-known locally for his charity work, Jeremy Vine is also a fan of ChiswickW4.com and reads it every week, to get up to speed on local stories.
“I’m a fan of the site. My favourite is the property section. Let’s face it, we all love to know whether our house has gone up or down in value”.
What lessons has he learned from his 25 years with the BBC?
“Well I think firstly, life, and certainly my career, is a series of accidents. Secondly never join a programme if the presenter is also called Jeremy ( a reference to his time in Newsnight when Jeremy Paxman referred to him as ‘ Mini Me’). And lastly that presenters are not as important as they think and the listeners have far better stories.
“I think I’ve only recently realised how unique radio is , it has pulled through the whole technology thing and not been killed off by pod-casts, or destroyed like the newspaper industry seems to be”.
Does he ever miss life on the road as a foreign correspondant?
“Sometimes but then presenters always envy reporters and reporters envy presenters. That’s just how it is.”
And with that it’s off to catch the train to Reading for another book reading and to meet more fans.
June 22, 2012