Wednesday, 2 March 2011

So that's it, then

After 33 years minus a year and a half at ITN in the 1980s I leave the BBC at the end of the month.

Hard enough to think about, let alone actually do it.

When I first walked into Broadcasting House in October 1978, Jim Callaghan was Prime Minister and Jimmy Carter President of the US. The Shah was still in power in Iran, the Berlin Wall was intact and the IRA had yet to murder Lord Mountbatten.

I've worked with amazing presenters Sir Robin Day, Nick Clarke, Eddie Mair and editors Julian Holland, Jenny Abramsky, Roger Mosey. And hundreds more.

My first assignment on the road was the Iranian embassy siege - a very minor role that included keeping the phone box free on the corner by the Royal Geographical Society.

The first programme I edited was an edition of The World This Weekend the Sunday after a recalled parliament had voted for the task force to go to recover the Falklands. Our interview with Foreign Office Minister Richard Luce ran out of time before we could ask 'will you resign?' Within 24 hours, he had resigned.

All of these things happened, of course, before some of the people I work with were even born. My own children studied as GCSE history events I had covered as a journalist.

Time to go.

I've done all of the jobs I want except one, and I'm pretty clear that I was always temperamentally unsuited for it. And one that I didn't want - ditto.

I'm resigned to a lifelong association the Hutton inquiry, report and fall out. Maybe one of the first things I'll be able to do outside the BBC is something I was unable to do inside it - finally give my own account.

So there'll be books ... more teaching ... columns .... coaching.

And life on the cold outside. Scary.