Neil Sleat began his career in radio as a trainee engineer at the BBC World Service. One day, after a particularly unsuccessful experience with a soldering iron, which involved lying on his back in the newsroom, trying to avoid getting hot solder in his eyes and enduring the occasional kick from passing journalists, he decided a change of direction was in order.
A stint as a studio manager followed and he spent several happy years tinkling tea cups for radio dramas and juggling tapes on news programmes. On air, Neil cut his teeth as an announcer/studio manager on BBC for Europe. This was the technical equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your stomach while riding a horse backwards and reciting the Gettysburg address. And at times it probably sounded like that was exactly what was happening.
Neil joined the Radio 4 announcing team in 1998. He's also made the occasional foray into making trails for the network. Last year he cast his fellow newsreaders Corrie Corfield and Peter Donaldson as parting lovers in spoofs of Casablanca and Brief Encounter to promote one of the comedy slots. Somehow he got away with it. And he's keen to do more.
He says, "People think being an announcer must spoil Radio 4 for me. Not a bit. I'm still a Radio 4 junkie."