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A day in my life

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Dan Walker | 19:21 UK time, Tuesday, 6 October 2009

I have received a few letters and emails from regular Focusites over the past few weeks, wanting to know what actually happens before the programme goes out on a Saturday.

I have therefore decided to address that very issue in this week's blog. What follows is not a journalistic masterpiece but rather a one-day diary. We shall begin when the clock strikes midnight on the Saturday, 2 October...

00.17: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button finally ends. Is it the longest film in history? I think my wife Sarah and I started watching it on Thursday! Off to bed to dream about the programme.

02.13: Susanna, my eldest daughter aged two-and-a-half, wakes up after a bad dream. Cuddle required.

05.11: Jessica, my youngest daughter who is only three months, has decided it is time to rise from her slumber.

05.13: Feed Jessica and chuck on last Sunday's Match of the Day 2 for entertainment.

06.00: Iron shirt. Gone for the plain blue this week. Simple yet sophisticated... sort of.

Ironed and ready for action

06.15: Destroy two pieces of toast and a mug of tea. Read Jessica a book about frogs. Select trousers from the wardrobe without trying to wake Sarah up... epic fail.

06.25: Take a shower.

06.45: Susanna decides to join the fun. First requirement is to help her build a farm. The farm is very much the toy of choice at the moment. Last week, it was a miniature plastic golf club.

07.05: Family breakfast. Another piece of toast for me and a bit of scrambled egg goes down a treat. Slightly concerned that we might have to reshape the whole programme if the rumours about Harry Redknapp prove to be true. Listen to Harry on Radio 5 live saying he's not going anywhere.

07.15: Read Susanna her favourite little book about the man who built his house on the rock rather than the sand. She sings her own interpretation of Twinkle Twinkle. I flick through the book about frogs again.

07.35: Leave for BBC TV Centre at Shepherd's Bush.

08.02: Arrive at the Beeb. Perhaps the best perk about being the presenter of Football Focus is that you get a car parking space right out front. Run the gauntlet of people waiting for the arrival of Strictly Come Dancing types and head for the BBC Newsroom.

08.10: My first duty of the day is to speak to the presenter of the breakfast sport bulletins on BBC 1. Today it's Mike Bushell. I have to go on the programme at 8.35 each week to talk about what's coming up on Focus. Mike is keen to play in the clip of Robert Plant talking about his love of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Dan gets a makeoverMy first makeover of the day

08.18: Head downstairs for the day's first application of make-up. The first time I appeared on TV was an ITV evening bulletin back in 2003. I remember telling the producer that there was no way I was putting any gunk on my face. When I watched the bulletin, back I looked like a polar bear who'd had cranberries sellotaped to various parts of his face. Make-up is a necessary evil.

08.25: Wait outside the studio and spot the catering trolley. Destroy a chocolate croissant and a little lemon puff thing. Jot down a few notes and head into the studio to get my microphone on and wait in the wings while Mike does the first bit of the sports bulletin.

08.35: I sneak in after the package about England getting mullered by the Aussies in the Champions Trophy. Mike throws to me and I talk about our big investigation into the Gael Kakuta situation and how a number of clubs are exploiting loopholes to sign young foreign talent the minute they turn 16.

08.36: I tell Mike that Simon Grayson is on the programme and he gets a little excited and reveals that he is a Leeds fan. Mike has managed to keep his allegiance a secret for his entire distinguished career but now the truth is out.

08.37: Hand back to Charlie and Susanna on the news desk and decide to throw Charlie my pen live on air. Still can't really explain why. He drops it.

08.38: Remove make-up, steal another lemon puff and head for the Focus production office.

08.45: Arrive in the Focus hub to find Mark Cole (editor), Kelly Faulkner (director) and Katherine Morgan (producer) busy at work.

08.50: Time for the Focus tradition of bacon sandwiches. I don't tell anyone I've already had two breakfasts and conquer the bacon with another cup of tea.

08.55: Talk to Coley about what's in the papers. There is a nice piece about the deepening mess at Newcastle and a quote from Arsene Wenger about Lee Dixon being a potentially brilliant manager.

09.02: Lawro arrives. His pre-programme ritual involves reading every single Saturday paper.

09.03: Head down to VT, which is where all the pieces for Focus are edited and then played out from during the programme.

09.05: The Wenger montage to celebrate his 13th year at Arsenal is still being edited but everything else is ready to view. We watch all the pieces, including Dan Roan's eight-minute epic on the French academies. Coley and I watched a half-finished version at about 19.30 last night but this has now been polished up and looks a lot more interesting than The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

09.30: After watching everything, Coley suggests a few last-minute changes and we head off back to the production office. But not before pocketing a three-pack of Jammy Dodgers. The humble Dodger is definitely in my top five of biscuits and, were it not for the Fig Roll and Garibaldi, would challenge for top spot.

09.45: Spot Joe Calzaghe in a lift. The poor bloke looks petrified about his Strictly performance. I assure him that everything will be all right and offer him a Jammy Dodger. He declines, complaining that his trousers for the night are already too tight.

09.50: Back in the office, it's now time to make alterations to the script and discuss the talking points. The French piece takes a bit of getting your head round but eventually we settle on a cue.

10.00: Katherine prints the script and gives a copy to everyone who needs it.

10.15: Head off to make-up for the second time. Dorota is the lady in charge today. She is Polish and each week asks me to give her a new word to add to her vocabulary. Last week's was 'plethora' and today's offering is 'myopic'. She writes it down in her diary.

10.29: Lee Dixon arrives and is looking for a cup of tea.

10.30: I disappear for some essential pre-match preparation.

10.45: One last check on the scripts and then it's into the studio for the rehearsal. This is crucial not only for the director to practice all the shots they want to use but for the presenter and editor to do a final check. Sophia is the autocue warrior today. You may have seen her waving frantically at the camera on The One Show recently.

11.30: The opening link to the programme needs to be recorded this morning, so both Lawro and Lee are needed on the studio floor to look interested in the background. Lee is still looking for a cup of tea.

Gabby Logan chats to Lee Dixon

11.35: Coley and I talk Lee through the various discussions we want to have on the programme. Lee is more interested in the lack of beverage and is now considering an official complaint.

11.45: Lee finally gets his tea and all is right with the world. Lawro has started tucking into a box of Celebrations on the table. I eat a Crunchie and jot down a few questions that I want to make sure I ask the boys during the programme.

12.00: Final check that everyone is happy.

12.05: Last powder from Dorota before taking my seat on the sofa and plugging in all the necessary leads.

12.10: Lee and Lawro arrive on set. Coley checks that everyone can hear talkback. That enables him, the director and anyone else to chat to us all during the programme if needs be.

12.15: Coley tells us all to have a good one. I say I'll see him on the other side. The red light goes on and we're off.

13.00: Quick debrief with Coley. He seems pretty happy with it all. Gabby Logan and her Final Score panel have arrived in the building to watch the early kick-off in the Championship. Steve Claridge, Garth Crooks and Les Ferdinand are on the sofa today. They are all impressed with Gabby's papal gown.

Garth, Steve, Lee and Les ready for the day's football actionGarth, Steve, Lee and Les ready for the day's football action

13.30: Shake hands with Lee and Lawro, take a handful of Celebrations and head home ready to do it all over again.


  • Comment number 1.

    Like we care!

  • Comment number 2.

    It's interesting how much junk food you eat!

    And that's Lee on the couch, not Lawro.

  • Comment number 3.

    Fig roll, now there is a true biscuit !!

  • Comment number 4.

    Mate you eat a lot...!!

    If Gabby Logan wasn't married to the monster that is Kenny you would have thought you had walked in on something there in that photo!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Bit harsh for the first comment! I quite like behind the scenes stuff like this, so thanks Dan. But what were the rumours about "Harry Rednapp" in the 7:05 entry - anything similar to the rumours about Harry Redknapp? :-)

  • Comment number 6.

    #1 I think we DO care. You obviously read enough to care, and even went to the effort of commenting. Well done.

    I certainly found it an interesting run down of the day, so thanks, Dan, for giving us an insight into how the whole program comes together.

    And yes, you do seem to eat a lot - is it down to nerves, or just general snacking? Surely nothing beats a 12-pack of Jaffa cakes?

  • Comment number 7.

    #1 can do one! Don't like it, don't read it.

    I agree with #5. I like behind the scenes stuff like this. It's interesting to see how programmes like this are made.

    But you do seem to "destroy" a lot of food! :-)

  • Comment number 8.

    Re: Bottom picture....did Dorota make Lawro up to look just like Lee Dixon? She is a genius.

  • Comment number 9.

    ummmmmmm bacon sandwhichess......

  • Comment number 10.

    Destroying Toast!!

    Conquering Bacon!!

    I wonder how you would describe climbing Everest???

    Gentle stroll perhaps? (i think not)

  • Comment number 11.

    .. yummy blog


  • Comment number 12.

    Lee & Gabby look like they're about to go on Strictly Come Dancing set....

  • Comment number 13.

    So, half a day at the office and the other six days a week, you do nothing?

    Not a bad life.

    Good for you.

  • Comment number 14.

    Where you do you disapear to for your pre match preperation at 10:30?!?

  • Comment number 15.

    Any jobs going there? Sounds Cushy.

  • Comment number 16.

    well, i began reading this bloke with one eyebrow raised cynically to the skies, ready to admonish you and your employers for publishing another irrelevant blog. And yet, following your journalism disclaimer what follows is interesting enough, probably more so than phil mcnulty's repetitive stuff.

    Dan is a seemingly good bloke too so good luck to him. I'd imagine most of the naysayers are just jealous of what is certainly a cushy number.

  • Comment number 17.

    Sadly the picture of Lawro did not make the final cut. Thanks for the comments so far. Here are some early responses.

    joffonon. I think the 'k' must be broken on my keyboard!

    Blogcabin. I do eat a lot. It's not nerves it's that biscuits are my weakness... and bacon.

    mikestar01. Trap 1!

    LABSAB9. I think the correct adjective would be to 'monster' Everest.

    Long live the Fig Roll.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm so glad that our licence fee goes on people stuffing their faces all day with bacon rolls, sweets, tea etc, etc.......but then again it is the BBC why am I not surprised?............oh and before anyone says, no I don't believe that for one minute that they bought this stuff themselves

  • Comment number 19.

    Dan, thanks for the insight to studio life, an enjoyable read.

    Due to being overseas a lot, I don't see as much of the show as I would like.
    However, what I do see (and hear) is an almost begrudging reluctance to say something positive and supportive about my team, Sunderland.
    A certain Mr Shearer, Lawro and Le Tissier are the worst culprits.
    And please don't get me started about MOTD (the big 4 fan club).
    A little more 'focus' on those further down the table would be greatly appreciated.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the insight don't understand why people decide to read blogs that other readers have requested then leave rude comments but anyways...

    Good to hear that you still have plenty of time for family in the mornings before you have to leave for work.

    Keep up the good work and the enjoyable articles.

  • Comment number 21.

    If you could not conquer Everest, surely you could claim?

    Fascinating blog, and as the father of a toddler myself I'd remind other readers that being a Dad means that a cushy day job is not so much desirable as required!

    As an aside, Bourbons are the king of biscuits and any attempt to champion fig rolls is foolhardy in the extreme.

  • Comment number 22.

    While we're on the subject, I happened to see your truly ridiculous pen-throwing incident with Charlie State on Breakfast. While the originality of the idea must be applauded, the look on Charlie's face when the camera cut back to him suggests that you had just taken a dump on a photo of his kids. Will you still be welcome in the Breakfast studio in future?

    I always liked Mike Bushell, who seemed the perfect antidote to the too-good-to-be-true smarm of 'Strictly' Chris Hollins, but as it seems he follows that mob up the M1, I now will no longer champion him. Celina Hinchcliffe is a Wednesdayite - get her on as a sub.

  • Comment number 23.

    I quite like the blog, reminds of the days when I would read shoot and match before pulling out the posters to stick on my bedroom wall.

  • Comment number 24.

    Very good Dan, and I know you value my opinion greatly. How re the panel for such shows chosen, is it through those looking for a career in entertainment and broadcasting, or are certain individuals head hunted? I'm assuming it's the former as I am unsure as to why C grade footballers such as Mark Bright would make it onto our television sets. Possibly the list should be refined to international footballers only, who are qualified to accurately cover all aspects of the professional game.

  • Comment number 25.

    #18 - GROW UP! Would you prefer that they ate nothing all day?! If you're worrying and getting wound up by BBC Presenters spending licence fee money on bacon sandwiches and biscuits, then you lead a very sad life indeed. Lighten up! I pity you.

    Great blog Dan. Keep them coming! Maybe have 2 bacon sarnies next time just to cheese #18 off a bit more. :-)

  • Comment number 26.


    As long as the list of international footballers excludes Ian Wright I don't mind.

  • Comment number 27.


    Mark Bright is an EXCELLENT footballer who more than justifies his position as a pundit. All we need is David 'Thirsty' Hirst to team up with him once again...

  • Comment number 28.

    so ye.... what do you do the other 6 days a week

  • Comment number 29.

    don't get me wrong, I find Mr Bright utterly charming and an excellent pundit. However, would a perfect combo of charm and pedigree be more sufficient? I think Alan Hansen epitomises this. also i think the guy is unfairly type cast into punditry for the african nations cup, something i find slightly racist on behalf of the BBC. The guy is english born and bred is he not?

  • Comment number 30.

    couldn't agree more on the ian wright issue #26. Provides opinions and analysis that we could find in any pub at closing time accross the country.

    #27, Hirsty, if only. The old fashioned centre forward, and one hell of a player too in his prime. But I don't think he'd get involved in any of this fancy dan television palava. A regular Joe who likes his Joe regular

  • Comment number 31.

    Brothers and sisters let me assure you that Saturday is not the only day I work. I sometimes go in on Tuesday's as well!

    Only kidding. I do put the hours in I promise but I am also fully aware that it's a great job for which I am very thankful.

    Can't believe you've thrown the Bourbon in there Sausagearms... surely outside the top 5 on anyone's list. I do agree with Blogcabin that the humble Jaffa is always a winner but did the EU ever get to the bottom of whether it was a cake or a biscuit?

    And as for David Hirst. Everytime I have interviewed him he has been exactly as described by Tomefccam... an all-round good bloke. On top of all that isn't he the guy who struck the hardest shot ever? Surely you must know the answer to that Sausagearms? I sense a Hillsborough bias.

  • Comment number 32.

    I Usually like your Clomun, but this was just a little pointless for me,all i got from it was that you eat a lot of biscuits/sweets and the BBC sounds like a lads club. Just makes people who work 9 to 5 all week (like me) envious and a bit let down.

    will look forward to next weeks.

  • Comment number 33.

    Column i meant!

  • Comment number 34.

    Guilty as charged, TV's Dan Walker. I have been an Owl since birth, and am indoctrinating my young son into the Ways Of The Wednesday. Some might call that child abuse, but as is so often the case, the abused have become the abusers...

    I believe you're right about Hirsty's shot - if I remember correctly it was away to Arsenal in the 1996/97 season and almost snapped the crossbar. I hold a hockey record, you know. I once took off my skate and tried to stab somebody. I'm the only guy who ever did that.

  • Comment number 35.

    I like the blog.

    On a typical Saturday...

    12:15: Awake feeling slightly hungover, watch football focus.

    This is a comfortable routine, but not when I get rudely cheated by the Formula 1 and find out FF started 45 minutes earlier!

    If this happens then Soccer Saturday saves the day.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why would you ever willingly eat a fig roll??!!??

  • Comment number 37.

    Great blog, love the show. Keep up the great work.

    Oreo's take some beating though Dan. End.

  • Comment number 38.

    HI Dan.
    Thanks for the behind the scenes look & entertaining blog, IMHO they're getting better each week.

    You wrote, 10.30 I disappear for some essential pre-match preparation...

    Is this just a polite way of saying you had to "destroy" the men's room after eating so much?

    p.s. No longer living in the U.K. I really miss the excellent biscuit assortment

  • Comment number 39.

  • Comment number 40.

    Dan you'll be glad I am here for this one. Apparently the difference between cakes and biscuits are: Cakes go hard when stale, biscuits soft. Therefore by this classification, the humble jaffa is indeed a cake. For the hardest shot, I believe this was struck by a guy named Ronnie/Ronny/Rony for sporting lisbon I think, or maybe againbst them. It was only a couple of years ago, and well worth a look. Perhaps it is something you could run on football focus, as the only footage of this is available on youtube, and the quality does not do the shot (GOAL) the justice it deserves.

  • Comment number 41.

    As a student i envy the amount of times you get to have breakfast...i usually have to make do with a packet of crisps and last night's pizza..great blog.

  • Comment number 42.

    What happened between 13.30 and 23.59?

  • Comment number 43.

    I agree with Fig Rolls and Garibaldi!! They are my 2 favourites also!!

  • Comment number 44.

    everyone has failed to mention Custard Creams....

  • Comment number 45.

    I love the "how dare the BBC spend MY money feeding their staff!?" comments. Ah the licence fee and it's ability to make people think anyone cares what they think. I pay council tax too, surely I should be king of the council and only have my money spent on my dwelling?

    Nice blog Dan. You've got a good job, I've got a job that allows me to read about your job when I should be doing my job. Each have their perks, no idea what mine quite are yet.

  • Comment number 46.

    Interesting Blog Dan you really are lucky to do a job most on here would kill for also i know that by reading previous blogs this gig did,nt just drop in your lap well done to you and anyone who seriously thinks custard creams should be mentioned in the same breath as fig rolls well!

  • Comment number 47.

    interesting that you spend 20 minutes in the shower in the morning...

  • Comment number 48.

    nice blog Dan. I love this sort of stuff; gives a real insight into something i'd like to go one day. But i'd have to agree with #6, Jaffa Cake are infinitely superior to the Fig Roll.

  • Comment number 49.

    Hi Dan, just read through all your blogs as first time I have seen that you are doing them and found them very interesting/informative! Been watching football focus weekly this year for the first time in about 5 years, think you are doing a great job getting the best out of the pro analysts well...

    Have also read some of the comments on the blogs...tomefccam...I agree it is fair enough to have an opinion but I see on the last blog you called Dan arrogant...hmmm...I think he comes across as the opposite (my opinion!!) and the fact that these blogs are about what goes on at football focus etc I guess it is hard for him not to talk about himself...also if Dan had written that "actually I have a very well paid job" as you put it, then maybe he would be but can't imagine him ever writing that! Then you seem to be "brown nosing" (as you like to put it) in this blog when he is talking about a day in the life of himself...why praise when you obviously think it is self indulgent?!!

  • Comment number 50.

    Dorota's new word of the week should be 'gluttony'

  • Comment number 51.

    Why has no-one mentioned those crunchy ginger cream biscuits. They are the best. But Dan, you can have mine because, as a diabetic I cannot eat them

  • Comment number 52.

    #25 obviously works for the BBC, as why else would you get so defensive over the eating of bacon sarnies bought with taxpayers money........quick, quick stop the tea lady you need to fatten up before winter is upon us!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    pidley80, all fair points, none of which I can argue with. I just feel that all comments before mine offered no discussion points at all. I don't find Dan arrogant, just some of his comments ahve been suspect at times. Maybe that is just a droll sense of humor that is difficult to acquire over text as opposed to speech. well there you go.

  • Comment number 54.

    On a related topic, I find that Rowntree's chocolate is vastly superior to that produced by either Cadbury's or Mars. The Yorkie truly is the king of chocolate bars.

  • Comment number 55.

    It has to be the fig roll!!

    I didnt realise they were so popular!!

  • Comment number 56.

    This is great news. I am glad so many of you enjoyed the post. Having read all the comments I believe we should put this one to bed with an all-star top 5.

    1. Fig roll
    2. Garibaldi
    3. Jammy Dodger
    4. Jaffa Cake
    5. Custard Cream

    Honourable mention goes to...

    Crunchy Ginger Cream and (regrettably) the Bourbon.

  • Comment number 57.

    Any presenter who gets "epic fail" into their blog has my utmost respect.

  • Comment number 58.

    dan, you're a disgrace.
    choc hobnob?????????????
    crincle butter crunch???????????

    sort your biscuits out!

    enjoyed reading how you "work" for 4 hours a week. we're all jealous!


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