BBC Radio 4’s fabulously engaging series My Teenage Diary series returns at the end of this month, and first up to confess past embarrassments is ITV political editor, Robert Peston.
Peston agrees to share his diaries from his younger years with the Radio 4 show, and the picture he paints of his younger years is quite surprising.
In the programme, Peston admits that he drank a lot of beer, wine and cider as a teenager, and smoked what he describes as “a lot of dope”.
“We also, if I’m honest, smoked a lot of dope,” he tells host Rufus Hound in the programme which airs on 31 May. “I didn’t do hard drugs but from about the age of 12, 13 onwards there was a lot of dope around and we smoked it.
“I’m not remotely saying it’s a good thing to smoke any of that kind of stuff,” he added. “I’m just saying that it happened, and if I look around the people that I grew up with, I don’t think it did any of us any serious harm. It certainly didn’t do me any serious harm.”
He adds: “There was a lot of beer drunk, there was quite a lot of wine and cider drunk. One of the reasons I left talking about my diaries until this age was my youngest kid is now 18, so I can’t be a bad influence on him by talking about quite how much we drank in the early 70s.”
The journalist also talks in detail about his bohemian north London upbringing as the son of the revered economist Lord Peston. It involved canvassing for the Labour Party as a teenager and hobnobbing with various political grandees.
There’s also an amusing moment where Peston reads a diary entry wondering whether then Labour politician Roy Hattersely likes him and complaining that he ignored him during a visit to the family home.
“I personally found him a very friendly chap and I can’t understand why he’s not in the cabinet,” says the slightly pompous Mr P of himself when – like fellow diarist Adrian Mole – he was aged 14-and-three-quarters.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.