BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker gave a small insight into the life of a morning TV newshound and to say it’s an unenviable lifestyle is an understatement.
He told The One Show that his alarm was set at 3.11am, a quirky time but one that has worked for him in his five years on the BBC Breakfast sofa.
“It’s a quirk, it’s my small brain. Ten past 3 seems like too early and 12 minutes past 3 feels like too late and I’ve got it perfectly timed… 11 minutes past 3, a quick wash, trousers on, out the door, here we go.”
As tempting as it might be to stay up for the US election results, it wouldn’t be happening in the Walker household this year.
He revealed he’s only ever done two all-nighters and he’s “regretted them both”. He was reporting the Hillsborough Inquiry findings from the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool and there was so many names and so much information to remember that he stayed up the night before to prepare for the live broadcast on BBC Breakfast.
The other one was when Englishman Danny Willetts won the US Masters golf tournament in 2016.
Walker said: “I stayed up all night celebrating and went into work the next day and it was awful. But it was worth it!”
Walker was promoting his new book, Remarkable People, celebrating the inspiring individuals he had met through his journalism career, most notably as a presenter on BBC Breakfast and Football Focus.
A publisher asked him to write an autobiography based on his last 20 years. “That sounded horrific,” he said. “Only my mum would want to read that, so that’s when I asked if I could write about some of those people I’ve met, those people who stick in your mind… Those people who’ve been through really difficult, trying times, who’ve been through the darkness and yet have found a way out the other side.”
Hopefully they will inspire other people in the way they’ve inspired him, he said.
The only famous person in Remarkable People was the late Leeds and Wales footballer Gary Speed, who took his life a day after an appearance on Football Focus in 2011.
Walker spoke to his sons, Eddie and Tommy, who were young at the time but in their early 20s now. They had come through the horrendous time and emerged as two “incredible young men”.
Another remarkable person who appears in it is Tony, an ordinary man from Sheffield who Walker encountered out walking his dog in a park last year. It emerged that Tony would regularly sweep up the leaves from a memorial to the fallen US airforce crew who had crashed and died in the park during World War II, an event that Tony witnessed at the age of eight.
The only thing Tony wished for was a fly-past to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the crash and the book retells how the event came together and was ultimately captured live on TV with thousands of Sheffield locals to witness it.
Remarkable People is on sale now.