Going into the late shift at Up All Night didn’t seem most exciting, at the time especially when it meant leaving at half six to get in the evening for work at 8pm while you see people returning home. It was dark when I left home for my shift and the same when I arrived in the morning.
No sooner I got to the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, I was taken to the Up All Night news desks where the programme is finalised and guests confirmed before the programme is to go on air for 1am BST.
It’s my fifth time on a shadow shift with the Up All Night team and I absolutely love working on it. The show is a good three hour broadcast and covers most global issues, sport , health news from the US, Europe, Mid East to the Pacific
Often before booking guests I am checking time difference between countries to ensure I am calling them at a time when they are not asleep or in the middle of a meeting or so
For the late night show I was working on, pretty much everything was organised. I just had to re-confirm one more guest from the Guatemala City to talk about the El Salvador rains and the tremendous impact it has been having on the country economically and socially. On speaking with a Daniel Prentice who resides there, I hear that more damages have been caused lately due to the misappropriation of funds and the country’s roads and highways have been neglected making it difficult for tourists
I further tackle the Pacific and Asia as I move into the wee hours of the morning. By then I have spotted a story on a law being passed in Burma that will allow for trade unions and strikes. I quickly try to look up either the Myanmar Times newspaper editor or Stephen Marshall from the International Labour Organisation.
Speaking to countries in the Pacific and some parts of Asia can always be daunting if you understand nothing of the language. Unlike calling countries in Europe, if you had basic or intermediate knowledge of French or Italian you could still get away understanding other European languages like Spanish and Portuguese. But when it comes to Japan, China, Korea, you are in for a shock and clueless where to start.
I usually speak very slowly; keep my sentences short and very simple. Sometimes its almost like I have to dumbdown and get my English to a level where they can comprehend me. And its always hilarious for a fellow colleague who is listening on. For example I was trying to get an interview with Stephen Marshall from the International Labour Organisation, I was on the line with his secretary, who didn’t understand me too well at first. So then I had to just say the key word s like ‘Stephen Marshall’ ‘there’, ‘call from BBC London”, “interview’ and repeat and so on until they finally put me to Stephen Marshall. The lines are a bit unclear, and I finally get through. We exchange a couple of emails and an interview is confirmed for the following day. It does feel like an achievement.
Its 5 am in the morning. Well atleast some relief a few of the tube lines are working. I hop on to the Circle line hoping to make my way home on a very unusual route.