Meet the people behind your favourite radio voices

We interviewed some of the winners of our radio poll...

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The winners of our Radio Times voices poll were announced this week, after over 32,000 of you voted for your favourite voices of the airwaves.

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You may wake up with and go to bed with these people every day, but have you ever wondered about the faces behind the microphones?

We spoke to some of the winners so you could get to know them a little better…

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You are our readers’ favourite radio voices – how would you describe your style?


KIRSTY I hope I don’t have a radio voice. It’s a bit like having a telephone voice, isn’t it? I think you just have to talk to people. I always think of it as a three-way conversation with the listener as a silent partner, so I’m just talking the way I would over lunch. But, I guess, I’m not swearing.

EDDIE I’d say I’m calm, slightly slurred.


KIRSTY If only it was a morning show, you wouldn’t have that problem.

So many of the voices the readers picked were Scottish or Irish – why do you think that is?


KIRSTY It’s a fashion. There’s also the classless thing – to an Irish or Scottish person, that voice has class and they can place it, but to most English people they can’t place an Irish or Scottish accent in class terms.

So can you two judge each other’s class?


KIRSTY We have quite neutral Scottish accents, don’t we?


EDDIE I always assumed you were a commoner.

KIRSTY Well, you assumed correctly. [Laughing].

When did you two first meet?

KIRSTY BBC Scotland. Eddie was working in the news-room as a presenter and I’d go in and read bulletins. I remember the first Gulf War [1990–91]. There was a lot of massing on the border at Khafji and we had to say it properly. Eddie sat opposite me, I’d say it three or four times in the bulletin and each time, Eddie mimed flicking the phlegm off his tie. So he’s always been very supportive in that way.

EDDIE I’ve recollections Kirsty was the cleaner – but the story she tells now is she was presenting… I’m happy to go along with that, but my memory is different. The place was spotless, by the way, so there’s no criticism. [Kirsty gives him a playful shove.]

So Radio Scotland is a good training ground…

KIRSTY I got a great piece of advice when I was standing in for Lesley Riddoch. I was a baby presenter – I wasn’t even a presenter, really – and she said, when people talk to you, listen to their answers and watch their body language. So when I’m interviewing people – because obviously listeners can’t see – I’ll say, “Are you sort of wincing there?”


EDDIE Do you remember when you were on Good Morning Scotland doing the news and STV made you an offer? You asked for my advice and I said, “Kirsty, don’t
do it. No one will ever hear from
you again.”


KIRSTY You said, “You’re mad to
leave the BBC.”


EDDIE Terrible advice. Thankfully, you
didn’t take it.

Which radio voices do you love?

KIRSTY Edward Stourton’s and Charlotte Green’s, always. I used to read the fish prices on Radio Scotland and I always think that’s a good test…

EDDIE Always without a script. What she knew about the price of fish. It was amazing. I’ll say Dame Jenni Murray, because she’s very powerful.

What changes have you noticed over your career?

KIRSTY Well, with our archive online I now have noticed the people who talk to me about Desert Island Discs are very different. I have really, really young people – students, people doing their finals – who might listen to it just to switch off a while.

You both bring a certain lightness to interviews.

KIRSTY It’s like anything, you reflect the society you’re in and people are slightly less deferential. There were times when interviewers would say, “Tell me how marvellous it is being marvellous.” And people would answer how marvellous they were. That doesn’t work now.

EDDIE It sounds highfalutin but we’ve got a job to do. James Boyle [former R4 controller] wanted the network to sound unbuttoned and so I think it’s our job, as the hired hands, to deliver that.

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How would you describe your radio style?


The people who listen to me have said I have a slightly husky tone to my voice. Our breakfast show presenter keeps calling me “the British Suzi Quatro”. For a joke, I hope.

Which radio voices do you love?

When I was growing up, the Friday night rock show with Tommy Vance. He had a really deep, bassy voice — authoritative and commanding. By complete contrast, I really like Vanessa Feltz, because she’s lively and bubbly. I love her enthusiasm and how she can make ten different points in one sentence.

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Who do you wake up with
 in the morning?


The overnight presenter on LBC, Darren Adam. I wake up at 1am…

Who do you go to bed with?

I don’t — I’m not really a radio person. I’m on it but don’t know anything about it. I’m always amazed when people come over and say they listen to me and I go, “Oh, right… weirdos.”

Describe your radio style.

Sometimes I can be very caustic, I can be very bitter, I can make myself cry… The one thing I can’t do is listen to myself. My idea of hell would be somebody saying, “You’re going to listen to yesterday’s programme.”

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Which radio voices do you love?

All of my Today colleagues of course. Newsreader? Definitely Corrie Corfield. And all of Sunday afternoon on Radio 3.

Describe your radio style.

I think I’m possibly over-friendly. A little timid and nervous. I’m always worried I might upset someone. If anything, I err on the side of obsequious.

Who do you wake up with?

Radio 5 Live at 4am for the early news bulletin.

Who do you go to bed with?

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I go to bed around 6pm. I firmly believe that if you’re going to sleep well, speech radio helps lull you to sleep. Assuming you’re alone, of course…