The Radio Times logo

Simon McCoy: 'Everyone thinks I'm not a fan of the royal family – but I still watch The Crown'

The nation's favourite sarcastic BBC newsreader says the monarchy enjoyed his 'matter-of-fact' royal baby reports

Published: Wednesday, 24th October 2018 at 10:57 am

We’re used to seeing you on BBC News, or outside a hospital announcing a royal birth. Do you have time to watch TV?


It’s on a lot. In the mornings, I get up and I put on the news and when I get home I’ll watch again just to make sure I haven’t missed anything in the last hour or two. And I’m a binge-watching fiend.

What’s the view from your sofa?

I have quite a big telly with two large surround-sound speakers either side. When all the lights are off, it’s the only thing I can see in the room. “Cinema experience” may be overstating it, but that’s what I’m aiming for. I have an old leather sofa and for me the perfect evening would be sitting on this battered old thing with fish, chips and ketchup – and catch-up.

What’s the last thing you really enjoyed on TV?

Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime is fantastic. If you’re a Tom Clancy fan, it does it justice and doesn’t disappoint. I also loved Killing Eve – it was just the best thing I’ve seen for ages. Jodie Comer is superb.

Do you watch The Crown?

I do, yes! Everybody thinks I’m not a huge fan of the monarchy. I really am, there are just bits of it I think we don’t necessarily need to know.

You’ve gained notoriety and gone viral on the internet plenty of times – notably for your very honest coverage of Prince George’s birth, from outside St Mary’s Hospital. Do you know if the royals saw it?

I do know they were watching in the hospital when the Duchess of Cambridge was giving birth to Prince George and I was outside. Someone told me the family thought I’d got it absolutely right. They were watching and wondering what on earth was going on outside. Nothing was happening, and I said as such – and it’s much better than some of my rivals who were speculating on the level of dilation. I think once you get into that realm of commentating, you’ve lost the plot.

What did your bosses at the BBC say? Did you get a ticking off?

Not directly. There were perhaps a few raised eyebrows, but it’s enough to say, “No, nothing’s happened,” rather than spending ten minutes saying why nothing’s happened. I think that’s what people want. They want to believe you, to trust you and they don’t want you to fill for hours on end. I’m not brilliant on birth. I was at the birth of my son and that’s enough for me. And it was at the same hospital! But I wasn’t going to say that on air, because they’d have asked me what cutlery they use in there and I didn’t want to go into that sort of detail.

What did you make of being a viral sensation?

I’d rather that I was than I wasn’t – I think it’s great that people see there’s more than one side to anybody who reads the news.

Is your subtle cynicism genuine – or are you actually quite happy-go-lucky?


I’m totally happy-go-lucky. It’s not so much cynicism… I think it’s more understanding what the viewer may be thinking. I don’t want to pretend that we at the BBC think that dog surfing is a big news story, but we’re as much about light as shade, and if we’re seen to be able to do both, that’s not a bad thing. There’s so much grim stuff going on, I think it’s important that every now and then we all have a bit of a laugh.


Sponsored content