Well, I was in the belly of the beast last night, doing the Paper Reviews on 5Live. Thanks for all your suggestions and thought I might explain how it actually works.
Basically you are presented with the A4 front pages of most of the daily papers 30 minutes before you go on-air. A few of the papers have some more pages, last night the Indie and Express did. That’s a challenge as I believe most of what is worth reading lies inside the newspaper, not on the cover. Anyway, you select a few stories you want to talk about and then off you go. There is no coercion and no censorship. The only thing I couldn’t talk about before midnight was the details of those being honoured in the New Years List. Didn’t bother me as I oppose the Honours system.
I chose Nanny Statism and the Collapse of the Euro as my topics. I found the host, Jonathan Overend, pleasant and he did not challenge me so I really can’t complain. My co-reviewer, David Banks (former editor of the Mirror) was a pleasant guy who I enjoyed talking with. I got in one dig about the entire public sector needing to take cuts and he did not come back! All in all, it was a pleasant if somewhat insubstantive experience. This time of the year is news silly season and so I hope I get the chance to repeat when we have real news issues to debate. The BBC in Belfast were very accommodating to me and the only problem was I didn’t get home to about 1.30am. Hope that let’s you know how it all works. Tired the morning after!