Nicky Campbell talks Made In Chelsea, Long Lost Family and why Newsnight isn’t on his watchlist

The Sound of Music still brings emotions out in the radio presenter who has a very organised evening schedule

How do you wake up?


At 5am I put on Morning Reports on 5 Live and drink far too much caffeine. I love that latte buzz. People say, “Oh, you should go coffee-free for a month, it’s amazing.” It would be an absolute nightmare: I’d have the shakes.

How do you wind down?

On a school night, I have a routine: Channel 4 News, a bit of pottering, a book, and lights out at ten to ten. And I do a lot of box sets. One of my favourites is Curb Your Enthusiasm; I find Larry David very funny.

Do you and your wife share similar tastes?

I find it relaxing to watch gardening programmes with my wife, although I wouldn’t be seen dead with a trowel. And she likes watching golf with me although she’s got no interest in golf. My wife and my four daughters enjoy things like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife, so I see those from behind a crossword.

Four daughters, aged ten to 16! What else have they introduced you to?

I know all the ghastly characters in Made in Chelsea. I was told by a cameraman who used to work on it that it’s all made-up: they do multiple takes, and tell them what to say. I tried to tell my daughters but they put their fingers in their ears and went: “la-la-la-la-la”.

You’re a big fan of musicals
– how did that start?

The Sound of Music started it off. 
I remember my sister going to
 see it about 25 times in the cinema – as everybody did – and then the whole family sitting down to watch it on TV at Christmas in 1976. I still can’t get through the overture without crying.

When did you develop 
an ear for radio?

When I was 15, I used to call in to radio phone-ins and pretend to be members of the public: self-confessed vandals, vets advising on rabies, businessmen, all sorts. I did it with my friend Iain Glen, who’s an actor now. We’d record it on a cassette and play it the next day to a crowded classroom.

You recently broke down during a phone-in about Coronation Street’s suicide. Do you often wrestle with your emotions?

That was just so raw and people were so honest, it was incredible. It inevitably happens because there’s an intimacy to radio and people come on and tell you their innermost experiences.

Is Long Lost Family as emotional to present as it is to watch?

Yep, I’ve cried many times but
 they cut those bits out, thank God. It’s a privilege to be with those people at those moments in their life. I’ll never do anything again as magical or special.

Five Live celebrated its 20th birthday in March. What is the secret to its success?

I think the combination
 of news and sport is a dream ticket. Giving sport the same significance and importance as news is absolutely right, because the British public are incredibly knowledgeable and articulate about sport.

If you could have any guest on your show…

That’s a long wish list. It’d be nice to do a couple of minutes with Obama.

Quickfire Q&A

Coronation Street or EastEnders: Coronation Street

Newsnight or Have I Got News For you?: HIGNFY – Newsnight is past my bedtime

BBC3 or BBC4?: My daughters have introduced me to BBC3

I’m a Celebrity or Britain’s Got Talent?: I’m a Celeb – you’re drawn to it when someone is in meltdown


Nicky Campbell presents the Breakfast show on 5 Live