A Life in Question
Four decades of interviewing nine PMs, a score of Scottish Secretaries, and all four First Ministers has been the easy bit. Talking to people for A life in Question is the hard part.
As a political journalist I was on first-name terms with cabinet ministers. But the chances are I don't know anything about the people the programme's producers find.
So the programme stands or falls when that mic comes on and I say my initial "hello". Sure, I'll have the producer's copious research notes; but I am coming 'cold' to this man or woman - and the first laugh, or even a smile in the voice, is a welcome sign that any ice has been broken and we are on the way to another thought-provoking discussion.
Take Rob Parsons, who kicks off our new series on Sunday morning (25 July at 8:05): he advises people how to sort out their often troubled relationships with their children (as a father myself, I know whereof he speaks), but is very frank about the difficulties in his own marriage that gave him deeper insight into the plight of others. And if you want to know why the man who came to stay the night with Rob and his wife is still there thirty-three years later - well, tune in on Sunday and you'll find out!