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Great news for Drive

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John Cary | 15:54 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010


Amid all the helter-skelter activity on the production desk as the team strived to get Drive on air last night, a sudden and spontaneous round of applause broke out. Peter Allen had just walked into the newsroom. Now, greatly though we cherish our presenters, it's not normal practice for Peter's entry to provoke such enthusiastic acclamation. But yesterday was a bit special - Peter was clutching the trophy he'd received for being named Broadcasting Journalist of the Year by the London Press Club.

It gave us all a good opportunity to pay tribute to a man who has been a central part of the 5 live team since our first day on air back in 1994. Peter has contributed enormously to the station's achievements over the years, and as his current editor on Drive, I'm hugely grateful that he continues to play a big part in our news service. Every programme we make reflects in some way Peter's journalistic insight and judgement. And if you think he's good at asking the hard question on air, let me tell you that every Drive producer will be familiar with Peter approaching them about an upcoming interview to quiz them on their understanding of the story with a very direct: "Why are we doing this?"

I know that Peter particularly values this award, because it comes from his fellow journalists. At heart, he's a hack who's happiest when he's pursuing a good story with the rest of the Fleet Street pack. But Peter also values the interactive relationship he has each afternoon with the Drive audience. So thank you for the kind messages you sent to him. And for those emails and texts that gently teased him, such as: "Congrats to Peter on his award. I assume he is off today to give the BBC time to widen the studio doorways so he can get his head through?"

Actually, the one thing we didn't give him was time to rest on his laurels. My job as editor was to tell him he'd need to be on the first train to Birmingham this morning ready to spend the day on the road travelling with David Cameron. At which point, Peter realised the celebrations were over - and he was back chasing the next big interview.

And while we're on the subject of award winners, congratulations are also due to Aasmah Mir. Gay Life After Saddam, a documentary she presented on 5 live, has won the Radio Programme of the Year Award at this year's How-Do North West Media Awards . The programme was made by an independent producer, Made in Manchester Productions, so the Drive team takes no credit for this one. We merely bask in the reflected glory of having the skills of both of our presenters recognised in one week.

John Cary is the editor of 5 live Drive

  • Drive is on 5 live weekdays from 4pm - 7pm


  • Comment number 1.

    Let me be the first to write that in my view, Radio Five Live would be nothing if Peter left. He is outstanding and a head above many if not most of his colleagues.

    Many congratulations Peter, from someone who has been listening to you since Day One of the station.

  • Comment number 2.

    Peter is one of the best radio broadcasters in the country. I just hope that the BBC doesn't decide to replace him with Colin Murray!

  • Comment number 3.

    Excellent news. Congratulations Peter.

  • Comment number 4.

    Congratulations to both Peter and Asmah.

    Wish that John Cary ran the Station as he's obviously doing an excellent job with Drive.

    Cannot believe that Murray is taking over MOTD2 ....

  • Comment number 5.

    Congratulations to Peter, I've listened to him since Radio 5 started. He's the best broadcaster on the station.

  • Comment number 6.

    Congratulations Peter, well deserved.

    I listen to Drive in my office in New York, back in the UK and wherever I travel. You and your team never fail to brighten up the day, however depressing the news.


  • Comment number 7.

    What mawkish blubbering nonsense. He's only doing his job albeit no doubt a very nice guy.

    They're all in it together!

  • Comment number 8.

    Yah boo Nick.

    I'd rather have Peter on air than most of the others put together. I just wish he could be given a news insight programme, a kind of PM for Five Live, to present all on his own, or maybe the news hour at lunchtime.

  • Comment number 9.

    Carrie. Yes no doubt Peter Allen does come across as a decent avuncular 'man of the people' type of journalist and no doubt he is a decent and honest citizen privately. That's my guess. I haven't met him. Have you?

    At the end of the day Peter is employed by the establishment via the BBC to ensure that nothing untoward or radical ensues in his broadcasting style during his liaison with well-healed parliamentary politicians and selected interviewees they put on the 'Drive' programme.

    Hence why his talents would be far better deployed on a 'Drive' pm spontanious 'phone in' hour disimilar to the heavily moderated morning 'phone-in' hour normally presided over by Nicky Cambell (or 45 minutes once all the trailers and the time alloted to braindead emotive wafflers have been extracted).

  • Comment number 10.

    It's really hard imagining London Press Club members getting up off the floor long enough to vote for another round, let alone a Broadcasting whatever it was! But, hey, Peter! Allen did you say? Congratulations Old Boy! Funny, can't seem to remember what I was going to say next. It's a bit fuzzy, if you know what I mean. Oh well, Cheers!

  • Comment number 11.

    It is nothing to do with whether you have met someone or not. I don't know what he is like in his personal life and that wasn't where my comments came from. In the interviews that matter, rather than some of the fluff he is forced to present on Drive, he is very insightful and persistent, which is what is lacking in many of the other station presenters. It comes from years as a political journalist and after a long career of cutting through waffle and getting people to face up to the point of his questions. I don't think he is an establishment man at all.

    I think he would be awful on a phone in but if he was on a PM type programme - I am sure he would do a good job.

  • Comment number 12.

    Well done Peter. It's well deserved recognition.

  • Comment number 13.

    Any mainstream journalist can cut through waffle when all the politicians are yes men and paid, via MP's expenses, not to be too radically opposed to the economic status quo!

  • Comment number 14.

    Steve Bowbrick, the least you could do would be to provide a general comment thread, I am sure it could be kept in order by you or Aaron and not abused.

    Sorry everyone for reminding Steve .....................

  • Comment number 15.

    Call me stupid but a thread titled "Your Questions Answered" and tagged accountability, presenters, schedule would suggest to me that you could talk about questions, answers, accountability, presenters and the schedule.

    Unfortuately AGAIN "our" blogs editors (who doesnt seem to be listening to "our" requests) closes a thread which his alledges goes off topic (which it didnt).



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