Celebrity Interview - October/November 21
Heard It Through The Great Vine
Recently celebrating 30 years at the BBC, broadcaster and TV presenter Jeremy Vine talks up the modern era of ‘I-power’, and how as individuals we hold more sway than at any time in the past.
Jeremy Vine may most likely be seen pedalling around the London suburb of Chiswick, but the broadcaster’s affinity with the UK extends far beyond the confines of the capital city. For even though Vine’s current job affords him a swish studio from which to interact with his dedicated audience, he is usually the man called upon by the corporation to hotfoot about the country in search of opinion.
“I think we are a great nation for radio, for argument, for discussion, for culture… possibly the best in the world,” the 56-year-old enthuses. “I think there’s something about being British. Take, for example, the twitter account called Very British Problems - it’s hilarious.
“I love the British humour; I love the fact that if I say ‘Bruce Forsyth’ or some such to someone they have immediately got a whole catalogue of memories going back years. I love that.”
As far as Radio 2 goes, Vine has spent the last 18 years very much in the eye of the storm, and no more so than now with a host of social issues making his weekday lunchtime radio show a hotbed of discussion.
Since assuming control of the slot in 2003, taking over from long time host Sir Jimmy Young, the broadcaster has put on air over 30,000 calls on all manner of current affairs from agricultural legislation and world politics to bizarre health problems and animal encounters. “I have learned a lot over the years,” he says. “I’ve learned about all sorts of things, all sorts of places and people.
“I think what has dawned on me most though is the fact we are now firmly in an era of ‘I-power’, as I term it. The concept is that lived experience now holds a greater sway over so-called ‘expertise’ – and has been at the centre of some huge shifts in politics and society over the last couple of years.
“It’s a new idea in the sense it has been accelerated by social media, but in reality it has been at the heart of human nature going back centuries.” Vine elaborates, “I-power is tremendously strong, and it’s everywhere.”
In spite of his connections to the capital, any listener of the Jeremy Vine Show wouldn’t begrudge the broadcaster a break from the occasional craziness of his Radio 2 studio. And when that time arises, there’s only one place in mind for Vine - Devon. “As getaways go, it’s unparalleled,” he says. “It was, after all, the county where I met my beautiful wife...”
Or was it, because spouse Rachel Schofield seems to recall differently, and at this point in the interview there is a shout from the kitchen, “You didn’t meet me there!” is the interjection. “That’s where I’m from, but we didn’t meet in Devon!”
“Well, I met you somewhere else and you took me there, then.”
Irrespective of the final details, the 6ft 2in BBC stalwart is certainly looking forward to reigniting a bit of geographical freedom now the spectre of Covid is moving on. “I love to travel, I love to be outside, and I think that’s something we’re all looking forward to getting back to,” he says.
“The job of a radio DJ can be pretty lonely at times despite the fact you’re talking a lot, it can be a one-way street.
“A true broadcast journalist is someone who loves to converse with people, not to a microphone, and for as long as people can stand having me around, I’ll still keep talking!"