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2PM: 24 Hours in the Life of 5 live

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Alice Larkman Alice Larkman | 14:01 UK time, Monday, 28 February 2011

Hello, my name is Alice and I am a Broadcast Assistant - which is a great place to start off in journalism if you want to go on to become a Broadcast Journalist and beyond. I work on Richard Bacon 's afternoon programme. My job involves everything from doing all the administration a radio programme needs to run, to meeting some of the celebrity guests my friends are now bored hearing about.

I arrive in at Television Centre at 8am and start the day by checking the web, my emails, the papers and other outlets for good guest suggestions ahead of the morning meeting.

Alice with her childhood hero Andre Agassi

Alice with her childhood hero Andre Agassi

During the meeting we go through what's booked for the programme that day as well as discussing future planning ideas and big guest suggestions. This morning, I saw a great article about Vivienne Westwood and suggested we ask her to come on as Richard is a huge fan of her clothes. Knowing the presenter helps focus your ideas. Richard is always bubbly and engaged (and likes a good chat), so it's not difficult to get to know which interviews he would be excited about and do well.

As the rest of the team get to work and brief Richard when he arrives, I tend to work through some of the day-to-day administration that keeps the programme ticking over - keeping the programme inbox tidy, liaising with programme contributors, sorting out transport, organising studios.

On a Thursday, I am part of the team that produces the Help! item for the show. Help! is a feature on the Richard Bacon programme where some of our listeners ask a rotating panel of experts for advice, on any subject. And, trust me, they can range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Recently, DIY expert Tommy Walsh and the philosopher Alain de Botton teamed up in an unlikely Help! duo to assist one of our listeners. Tim from Stoke-on-Trent called in asking for help to get rid of the moss he had growing on his red tarmac driveway. An obvious question for Tommy - who suggested scrubbing it with a hydrochloric-acid product. However, Alain suggested a slightly more Zen Buddhist approach - learn a philosophical lesson from the moss. Love the moss. Tim was helped.

My day gets busier (and more exciting) in the early afternoon, when the programme's guests start arriving. I make sure they're met in reception and bring them (and sometimes their over-sized entourage) through the maze of BBC corridors to our studio. This often involves passing TV Centre Tours who are pretty excited to see a famous face. Although I can't say the "celeb" is always quite so excited to be included in a tour of the building.

As a result, I've met quite a few famous types. My most memorable guest was Andre Agassi - my childhood hero. It was daunting to meet the sportsman who defined tennis for me. When I was 8-years-old my Dad took me to Wimbledon for the first time and I saw him play. Because of him, I was inspired to pick up a racket and, later, to become a ball girl at the Championships. I've since had the pleasure of working at Wimbledon for 5 live (always wishing that I would bump into Andre). I think the whole of 5 live will remember my bright red face the day I actually got to meet him.

Other favourites include Minnie Driver, who beat me in a competition to see who could keep a Fisherman's Friend in their mouth for the longest. And most recently Dermot O'Leary who, being a big fan of 5 live, asked to have a tour of the newsroom. It's usually a job I do for new members of staff, so some of the looks I received from other programme teams were priceless.

During the programme, I make sure the guests are comfortable and ready to go on air. Sometimes this involves calming some nerves - but has meant that I've played dog-sitter for a very busy and adorable Bichon Frise puppy. Two days at work are never the same for me.

Once the programme has finished, we record Richard's podcast which includes the whole team. The Daily Bacon podcast is a great way to make Richard's programme more accessible to his ever growing audience both here and abroad. Richard really likes to give a behind-the-scene feel to the podcast, so it is a bit like you become part of the team at our post-show debrief. You can even become a podcast hero (though you would have to go and download the Daily Bacon to know what I mean).

As the time nudges 5pm and I've pretty much finished all the post-programme tidying up I need to do, my day draws to a close. But as I said, no two days are the same for me, so who knows what I'll be faced with tomorrow.

Related Links
Check out the time-lapse video of the 5 live newsroom

Read the first blog entry for 24 Hours in the Life of 5 live by Breakfast's Chris Hunter

Read 5 live travel presenter Nick Duncalf's blog post

Read Rachel's blog about working on Your Call

Read Jonathan's post about the Derbyshire programme

Read Rabiya's blog about working on Logan

Alice Larkman is a Broadcast Assistant with 5 live.


  • Comment number 1.

    Help, the epitome of trivial.

    Alice is wasted on this programme.

    A very interesting insight, I was reading it just after hearing Richard repeat Johnny Vaughan's programme title about 15 times in 5 minutes. As I said, the epitome of trivial.

  • Comment number 2.

    I do think Richard Bacon is the weakest programme on 5 Live and is the worst example of trivial dumbed down celebrity obsessed ‘accessible’ radio.

    Simon Mayo was always going to be hard to replace but I don’t think Richard has adapted well to the move from the graveyard shift to afternoons. You would have expected him to have improved after a year but in my opinion he hasn’t. It is clear what interests him and anything that doesn’t seems to be dismissed as irrelevant.

    I can’t see the point of the Moan In and Help is just lazy trivial filler and 5 Live shouldn’t be wasting time on how to get moss off a driveway and dog poo bags hanging on branches.

    Why is the irritating zoo format increasingly been adopted with 80’s Steve Wright style, cheers, laughter and applause?

    The programme should be about the guests instead of talking about Richard and his opinion. Let the guests speak with out continually interrupting and shouting them down when they have a different opinion.

  • Comment number 3.

    I disagree with the previous comments. I had no time for Richard Bacon when he did the night shift but absolutley love his show now. It provides a slightly lighter shade during the day programming of 5live and is a very enjoyable way to spend 2 hours. I try to never miss it and BTW, I'm not a young, celebrity obsessed listener (I combine 5Live with Radio 4).

  • Comment number 4.

    Sarah, I used to love the show when it was on in the evening, I thought it a perfect timespot for Richard and the guests he attracted. There you go.

  • Comment number 5.

    I am always pleased to see brand new people on here so welcome Sarah Bampton.

    However there is something deeply wrong with the BBC's attitude to drugs in sport. There is continual sneering at Dwain Chambers who whatever his faults served his time and therefore deserves some tolerance, however in this article a self-confessed drugs cheat Andre Agassi is praised as someone's hero....

    This is really rather poor did no-one check this?

  • Comment number 6.

    I miss Simon Mayo’s afternoon programme. Mayo is a natural broadcaster and a talented interviewer, his style was relaxed and it felt more like a conversation. He was always well prepared and knowledgeable, a true professional who didn’t push his own views and always tried to get the best from his guests. The programme had a good mix of features and content without being too news heavy or trivial.

    Then we get Richard Bacon whose favourite topic seems to be himself and his quest for fame. There are so many topics that could be covered but instead he wastes time with filler like Help and text ins. I can’t take to his shouty and sometimes aggressive style of interviewing, guests are less likely to open up with this approach. The programme sometimes feels amateur, lacking preparation with Bacon winging it, 5 minutes research on Wikipedia?

    Will Bacon and his ‘team’ be moving to Salford?

  • Comment number 7.

    With all the important things going on in the world at the moment, Breakfast is fast tracked for the 2011 Sony Award for trivia. It beggars belief that anyone might actually expect a true analysis of anything, and Nicky should be ashamed of the aggressive way he interviewed the Minister for overseas aid.

    I just can't believe it.

  • Comment number 8.

    When I first discovered 5Live quite a few years ago now I thought it was a radio station almost too good to be true. Great sports coverage, great news, good variety of programme style, good presentation and presenters, and sock it to you live break ins.

    Sadly all that is good has disappeared, to be replaced by almost all that is bad. Trite presentation and presenters, rapidly disappearing sports coverage, too similar programme styles, and poor quality news (especially on political matters when sharp comment is more important than banal chattering class gossip when discussions ensue). And the 'nepotism' almost shouts at you....

    Sorry 5Live but you lost me as a loyal listener a time ago. Once I would have cried if you had disappeared, now I'll just listen to the many similar alternatives and dismiss the commercials out of my head just as I do the BBC equivalents. Go on BBC save some money and put this station out of its misery.

  • Comment number 9.

    #2 Dom

    I agree with you, Richard Bacon is gross. For me it all started with his self worship facebook enhanced SHH on the late evening shift. What a prat the man is, unprofessional, uninteresting, talentless, and just a throw back as to how the BBC treats its Blue Peter offspring.

    Does the BBC really think its paying audience deserves to be shown such contempt.

  • Comment number 10.

    "....his ever growing audience..."

    So why can't we be told his audience figures please, facts would be nice.

  • Comment number 11.

    I thought this post was quite instructive... "web, my emails, the papers and other outlets for good guest suggestions" ... so that'll be Holy Moly, Heat Magazine and the Daily Star... no mention of the news wires, CNN, News24, Sky News... just pap.

    "This morning, I saw a great article about Vivienne Westwood and suggested we ask her to come on as Richard is a huge fan of her clothes"... fabulous.

    I'm sure that will lead the 6 o'clock news.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes, I'm not sure working on the Bacon show will lead to you becoming a journalist

  • Comment number 13.

    I have to disagree with all the anti- bacon rants on this post, .. I think he's the best thing on 5 live, .. he is witty, incisive and wont let guests off the hook if they are being economical with the truth, .. take Peter Stringfellows comments about Richard Keys on todays show, .. Richard Bacon wouldn't let him off the hook.
    Also, may i say, the live webcam on the internet is superb, i absolutly love seeing the workings inside a live studio broadcast.

  • Comment number 14.

    Bacon is fantastic i used to listen to him every weekend when he hosted the Weekend Phone in, after he left for Capital Radio the Station went downhill he was greatly missed, so they re-signed him for the Evening programme, and he has since been promoted to the Afternoon slot,thats how popular he is.

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm not sure what Richard Bacon has done to deserve these complaints! The afternoon show is entertaining and covers a broad brush of dip in chat, news and entertainment. It isn't supposed to be an in depth news coverage two hour slot! The world has moved on from writing a letter to the local radio station a week in advance of a point you wish to make ..we live in a world of texts, tweets and emails and whether you like it or not (and if you don't I'm sure your radio has a re tune button) immediate interaction from the listeners is a way of making programmes these days. Richard Bacon has a unique style which if you weren't busy taking him so seriously at the wrong times, you might notice that he is quite capable of not taking himself too seriously either! He does however take the programme and his presenting seriously - so leave off the nagging and lighten up a bit!

  • Comment number 16.

    Man I hate that "use the off button" advice.

    I like Richard but in a different time slot he would be so much better, we have all lost alot by saying farewell to Mayo.

    New posters one and all. Hmmmmmmmm. Never posted before.......hmmmm.

  • Comment number 17.

    Sorry, I meant to change this and put a comma after 'one and all', it changes the meaning from the intended one.

  • Comment number 18.

    Its good to have new posters on here, at least we are getting some balance, i hate to say it Carrie but your paranoia regarding new posters is akin to you claiming the the Sony Awards were fixed,and we all know that claim was pretty baseless as well.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ 14, Fedster I did smile at your suggestion that Bacon is the saviour of 5 Live and things were going downhill until his return.

    Bacon is a divisive presenter of the Marmite variety but with his ego I guess he will be pleased people are discussing him.

    I don't think he handled the Peter Stringfellow interview particularly well today. This along with the revelation that until recently he didn't realise a lamb was a baby sheep and thought lambs and sheep were different animals. Clearly an intelligent and well read presenter perfectly suited to handle breaking news and the big issues of the day ;-)

  • Comment number 20.

    I am not paranoid! However I think it odd that with all the comments recently about the station the new posters have suddenly decided to love Bacon, mostly at least.

    And as for the Sony awards, get real Fedster. Seen the pool of panellists? Come off it.

  • Comment number 21.

    The revelation today that Mr Bacon did not appreciate that a sheep and a lamb were in fact the same animal was surely the end!
    Will someone please remove this man from serious news radio....ithe programme is awful!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    "And as for the Sony awards, get real Fedster. Seen the pool of panellists? Come off it"

    Carrie i reckon you should take part in the next segment of the Conspiracy Files on the BBC.

  • Comment number 23.

    Anyway, I heard that lamb comment today too. I actually thought he was joking when he first said it, and then when he said it again, I slowly realised that this man is truly someone of very low intellect, I remember learning stuff like that before I could actually read.

    As far as conspiracies are concerned, I will not believe anything other than that with a very small pool of posibble winners, a very small pool of judges, half of whom have to stand aside if they are judging someone from the BBC because they are working for the BBC themselves, then yes, it is likely to be a very, very comfy result.

    Sometimes though, the right person or programme actually does win.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have no great admiration for Peter Stringfellow but at least he does`nt have the schoolboy attitude of Richard Bacon.Stringfellow should have countered his arguments about Richards Keys loss of job at Sky by asking what other `offences`people should lose their broadcasting jobs for and how they could qualify for re instatement.

  • Comment number 25.

    "The revelation today that Mr Bacon did not appreciate that a sheep and a lamb were in fact the same animal was surely the end!"... Arthur, I think this is what the Controller would call "accessible" radio. Lowest common dominator.

    Then again, it's all about the big personality these days... at least between 2pm-4pm on 5Live.

  • Comment number 26.

    Good morning,

    I thought it was time I came in here having been watching and reading your comments as they come in. There's a couple of things I need to address.

    Firstly, you are more than entitled to your own opinions. But please, keep the tone polite and respect the fact that some people may not agree with you.

    Carrie - there's no need to cast a suspicious eye over new posters (who also happen to disagree with you). Their opinions are as valid as yours. And I would suggest that their presence has something to do with the fact that the blog is being referred to on air quite a lot. A larger community here would be a good thing.

    Amysmythe - thanks for your post. Alice is merely talking about her own personal experience on a day at work, and her post should be read as such.

    I'm going to re-iterate tone here. Please have an opinion, but keep it polite.


  • Comment number 27.

    Well actually I don't disagree with all the new posters. And a larger community would be a good thing, definitely. So could we have a proper blog to comment on "Best Bits" and also one that reflects the phone in on Breakfast?

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi, I asked this question on another blog, but it seems appropriate here too. Is there a policy of including comedians on an almost daily basis on the Richard Bacon show now? There have been lots of interviews with comedians and now they are becoming part of the help and moan in features.

  • Comment number 29.

    I've nothing against Richard Bacon but he seems to be getting worse not better in the afternoons. 3 main points though.

    As someone else said, the clapping of guests names or other segments is particularly irritating. I'm waiting for him to start some whooping and clapping when there's a news item about some atrocity.

    You get the feeling that the powers that be at 5 Live are trying to hide him from important breaking news stories.

    The celebrity guests are appearing more and more frequently. For example, today. I'm sure John Bishop's been on 3 times since the Edinburgh Festival. George and Larry Lamb have been on together in less than a year. Larry Lamb has been on on his own as well. I could go on about others but I'd start boring myself let alone others.

    Oh yeah. The Moan In (bad stand up heaven) and Help. Please stop. And so will I.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well this has kicked off nicely. Good debate.

    On the subject of likes and dislikes noted an interesting letter in The Guardian last week that questioned was it obligatory for there to be scottish presenters on sports broadcasts? The writer dipping his toes into dangerous waters I suspect. Mind you, there is a parallel on Five live with presenters with strong northern irish accents ....

  • Comment number 31.

    Some interesting and rather diverse views here !
    Personally I'm very much at odds with the criticism of the Bacon show. For me, Richard has proved to be a highly entertaining broadcaster (far more so than I thought he might be) and brings just the right tone of freshness and originality to what was always intended to be a mix of light-hearted features combined with relaxed interviews. Yes, he's very different from Simon - who I admire hugely - but that was the point of the change, was it not....
    By contrast, I find standards on the Breakfast show to be declining by the day. This is -after all - there as a serious news programme but the ever-growing level of childish 'banter' and totally redundant trivia exchanged between Nicky and Shelagh, (often on their private lives or thoughts) has no place and is becoming quite tiresome.
    I think Nicky will benefit from a change of co-presenter (Rachel taking over, I believe)which hopefully will restore my interest. But Shelagh's move to the Gabby Logan slot (which I currently enjoy) means that I'll be switching stations from 12-2 every weekday

  • Comment number 32.

    Richard Bacon is essential listening at this time, 2-4.

    He is the ideal antidote following the high-end, serious, in-depth journalism that is delivered by Gabby Logan.

    Just kidding :@))

    PS: I like Dickie Bacon. He's funny in a harmless way, he's not hurting anyone. He doesn't have a serious thought in his sweet-celebrity-head. Read his tweets.

  • Comment number 33.

    " the high-end, serious, in-depth journalism that is delivered by Gabby Logan."

    That made I laff, f-and-p.

  • Comment number 34.

    What a waste of space Sherrie Hewson appears to be. Anecdotes about vomiting all over Steve MacQueen are pretty vile, and the other insight is that despite being at RADA she didn't know how important the place was for training actors. She must be a little on the slow side.

    Boring and unpleasant.


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