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News. On Tour. In Toon Town.

“Where are you?” exclaim several emails in my inbox today. Honestly, you go ‘away’ for four days and everyone starts to nag. Then you wonder if people do actually take in things that I write because I quite clearly wrote “I am going to Newcastle with BBC News on Tour and don’t know when I will blog next let alone read my email”.

Millennium Bridge GatesheadAnyway, I’m back – for one day – and am now heading off to Leicester for the next leg.

So what is BBC News on Tour? It’s about getting in touch with the dear license paying public to show them what we do.

The event in Newcastle/Gateshead was the Tall Ships Race, and we were there for three days amongst other stands / stalls / market crafts / entertainers, etc.. down at the quayside with several thousand people.

The backdrop was the rather amazing millennium footbridge, which raises itself by tipping back to let boats and ships through.

BBC News are touring seven locations this summer, and taking with them a marquee full of fun hands-on things for people to pitch up and try.

You can have a go at presenting a TV news bulletin, a TV sports bulletin, read weather news, try out at being John Motson and doing sports commentary, or get a news story & graphic done (the bit I’m working on) in the interactive area. This is quite a popular one with the kids, as they get their photo taken and we make up a ‘fun’ story for them in the style of a BBC News webpage telling how they’ve won the world cup, discovered dinosuar bones or have won an ocsar, and other such stories – and print it out and laminate it for them to take home.

There’s a whole team of BBC people on hand also happy to talk to you about the digital switchover and other interactive issues, or to fend off the question that I got asked most “How did you get your job at the BBC?”.

And it’s the most fun four days of work I’ve ever had – talking to people continually all day, young and old, intelligent questions and stupid ones (to which you must smile to and answer politely anyway).

A few BBC ‘names’ pitch up as well to attract interest – Ray Stubbs came out on Monday to help people with the Sports News as well as several presenters off of News 24, and some local ‘celebs’ from Radio Newcastle as well.

You’d accuse me of just saying this anyway, but I can sincerely say that all the locals are the most genuinely nice and friendly people that I’ve had to the pleasure to speak to, and that the whole city is a great place.

I could waffle on about it for ages. About how you’d spot the same ‘anorak’ people that turned up all three days in a row. Or about the gay bar that we found ourselves in on Tuesday night and witnessed a rather excellent scuffle between two jealous blokes.

Or especially about how my flight home last night was diverted to Manchester (after circling above Heathrow for an hour), and ended up in the end with us escaping at 1am this morning with me (driving), another guy and a rather well known TV News correspondent as we hired a car and shot down the motorways in the early hours of this morning to get home.

I even managed to get caught up in Tooting at 05.30 this morning in the latest round of terrorist suspect arrests. It’s been a knackering week, and it’s not even over yet.

This evening I am heading up to Leicester, for three days – so if you’re anywhere near Leicester Friday or Saturday then come out and find us (find me!) and join in the fun. After that it moves onto Edinburgh for two days before dropping back down to Anglesey in Wales to wrap up the run.

I’ll be back on Sunday …

20 responses to “News. On Tour. In Toon Town.”

  1. tami says:

    Glad to hear you are having a little fun! I was wondering where you were. I figured that you were taking a vacation from us..

  2. Jono says:

    Licence payers. We’re not the 51st state quite yet.

  3. Can you explain to the presenters the difference between an email address and a web site?

  4. geofftech says:

    Dominic .. totally agree with you. It also bugs me to hell when we (and other news channels) also say things like “Logon to our website at…”, and then give a web address.

    Er, hang on … you browse or go to a webpage, and not immediately ‘logon’ to it, unless there is an option there for doing so.

    Re: your niggle though, I believe BBC Breakfast started it off when they wanted people to email in their feedback, and they did it my giving out the /breakfast website where they said “Our email is there” – i.e. they try and get you to look at some of the content at the same time, but yes – there are a lot of producers/presenters who should know better, and they don’t …

  5. Ian says:

    And as for Anglesy, you crazed comment deleter, you will have find out the spelling yourself! 🙂

  6. geofftech says:

    All spelling now checked and corrected Ian – your English teacher would be so proud of you.

    May I award you a gold-star, and a free invite to “BBC Pedants on tour 2006” next year.

    love, the CCD (Crazed Comment Deleter) 😉

  7. Ian says:

    Ooh! A star.

    so how did you get your job at the BBC?

  8. You haunting a gay bar? Well that doesn’t surprise me somehow.

    And you’ll be happy to know that in your absence, I’ve found out some info about Ian, since he won’t reveal anything but that dog picture. Turns out he’s not only the spitting image of David Beckham, he’s got a heavy Manchester accent. And he’s a Microsoft expert. What a combination.

    Have fun the rest of the leg, you are a great ambassador for the BBC! I’ve always thought so!

  9. ian says:

    I’d take anything said by a woman who smells of salad dressing with a pinch of salt. And maybe a dash of balsamic vinegar.

  10. Kathleen says:

    spelling corrected it think not..

    id really like to win an ocsar


  11. Ian is also, at 63, older than Geoff and I combined.

  12. Roland says:


    I missed you mate

    I tell those who want a job at the BBC how to get a job look in the GUARDIAN and APPLY – I spent 2 spells at the BBC (the second I was invited back via email while I was on holidays in Australia) I was there for a total of 7 years, I think and got the opportunity to travel to Asia, the Middle East (its not all play working 15 hour days setting up computer equipment), the bad bit was having to work alongside this idiot Marshall a few times – lol

    Political bollocks gets most people in the end, plus in my case the appetite for one final world adventure – China was waiting to be seen.

    But we did have fun with our fottie teams, long night shifts and nightly drinking in the BBC Club Bar . . . .

  13. Does the BBC work with freelance writers who live on tropical islands?

  14. Adham says:

    Mr Marshall has entered the city.

  15. geofftech says:

    Mr Marshall has now returned from the city. Mr Marshall is completely fucking knackered and needs a good night sleep. My Marshall was practically in tears on Friday due to one of the punters that we had visiting us. Big blog day tomorrow …

  16. ian says:

    Mr Marshall might want to note Mrs Lanai’s tale of the encyclopaedia before identifying a licence payer too specifically!

  17. Geoff's Mum says:

    I have to admit to being Geoff’s biggest fan,having given birth to him! I have to look at his blog to find out what he’s been up to lately,he never fails to amaze me. I always check his spelling as I’m a spellophobic.(Just made that up)

  18. Ian: My final commission check is safely in the bank, now I can go back and say whatever I damn please about them on the blog! Actually, they discontinued all independent reps, not just me, so I can’t take it personally. I did net a pretty pence from them over the course of a year so I am not complaining. Talk about easy money.

    HI GEOFF’S MUM! I have sent you some chocolates from Hawaii (c/o G.)These were the boxes I couldn’t fit in my luggage. Make sure he gives you at least two of the boxes. 🙂

  19. It’s officially Monday, and no iBlog update.

    Must stay calm…

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