Posted in Family, Type 1 diabetes, Writing

Sharing the Love of Books on BBC Radio Gloucestershire

A post about my most recent appearance on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, including a link to enable you to hear the show if you missed it

Debbie Young at BBC Radio Glos studio
Photo credit: BBC Radio Glos receptionist!

“Every Saturday we like to talk live to an interesting guest between 1pm and 2pm” said an email from BBC Radio Gloucestershire that popped up in my inbox last Thursday, inviting me to appear on Manpreet Mellhi’s show last weekend.

I’ve blogged previously about my appearance on this regional BBC radio programme, and it’s always been a pleasure to be asked.The presenters are pleasant, genuine and passionate about the local community, and the station is highly regarded.

My answer to this latest invitation had of course to be “yes please!”

And so it came about that late morning saw me heading north in my car, through glorious sunny Cotswold lanes, with my satnav pointed in the direction of the Gloucester city centre studio, having spent part of Friday mulling over the stimulating list of questions sent in advance by the programme’s researchers. Pet hates, personal philosophy, favourite place in Gloucstershire – answers to all of these and more were requested, to help Manpreet, whom I’d never met before, prepare for our live on-air chat.

A Technical Hitch

So far, so good – until, with five minutes to spare, and a couple of minutes way from the BBC studios, my satnav switched itself off without warning, leaving me floundering as to which way I should be heading. Naturally, this had to be right at the point where one-way systems and the no-stopping zones kicked in, making it tricky to pull over and solve the problem.

Making split-second decisions, I veered off into the first side-street I could find with a safe place to stop and to give my satnav a firm rebuke. Using about the only technical piece of knowledge that I have about motoring, I realised that the problem was a blown fuse in the cigar lighter, into which the satnav lead is plugged. Fortunately, the only repair I’m capable of making to a car is to change a fuse, and I happened to have a couple of suitable sized fuses in the glove compartment. (Just as well there were a couple, as the first one blew straight away too.) Trying not to look at the clock, I plugged in the second replacement fuse, snapped the cover back on the fuse box, and fired up the satnav again. I reached the studio seconds before I was due to arrive, heart pounding, adrenalin still flowing.

Luckily for me, I was welcomed by a calm and sympathetic member of staff who plied me with a much-needed glass of water in the waiting area while the on-the-hour news report ran its course, and one of the station’s reporters, Joanna Durrant, stopped to catch up on each other’s news. (By chance, she’d been reporting that morning on a farming issue from a field near the village in which I live!)

“On Air”

Then I was welcomed by Manpreet herself into the cool, air-conditioned, sound-proofed studios, where all was calm. I started my interview with a big smile, triggered by the introductory music they’d chosen for me: the theme from “Murder, She Wrote”!

Cover of "Coming To Terms With Type 1 Diabte
Now out in ebook – paperback to be published later this year

Manpreet is an avid reader and we had a wide-ranging chat about books and the nature of reading, about favourite childhood books and the importance of also reading outside your comfort zone. While we had heaps in common – including a deep respect for the wisdom of independent bookshop staff – there were also new things to share. She was particularly taken by the idea of flash fiction, which she’d not come across before, and in how self-publishing is democratising the publishing process for authors. Manpreet also took an interest in my book about Type 1 diabetes, and I appreciated the opportunity to raise her listeners’ awareness of what it is and how it affects everyday life for those with the misfortune to contract it (like my husband and our daughter).

And We’re Clear…

As ever, I was impressed by how simple these professionals make it look to guide lively, wide-ranging conversations, within very precise time constraints, interspersing scheduled interruptions such as time checks, weather reports, news bulletins and alerts for later programmes – all while talking naturally and with as much warmth as if you were just sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend. By the end of our appointed hour – just the middle hour of Manpreet’s three-hour broadcast marathon – I was exhausted! But I left the studio with a smile and a skip back out into the sunshine, and when my satnav went haywire again on the way home, I didn’t care – I just enjoyed the scenic journey home in the sunshine, feeling grateful as ever to live in such a wonderful part of the country, served by our fine national broadcasting station.


Listen To The Interview Here

UK residents may catch the programme on the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service till the end of this Friday, but thanks to kind help of the station’s staff, I am also able to share the broadcast with you here via an .MP3 file, preserved here for posterity.

Thanks again to Manpreet, Zoe, Gemma, Joanna and team for their hospitality and help, and to BBC Radio Gloucestershire for their kind permission to share the recording via my website.


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

7 thoughts on “Sharing the Love of Books on BBC Radio Gloucestershire

  1. As ever, a brilliant blog filled with information and humour. I would have had a Fawlty Towers moment with the satnav and found a branch to clobber it.

  2. Why, oh why, does technology fail us when we need it most? That sounded positively harrowing, although I laughed that you had spare fuses in the glove box. I’ve skipped the satnav systems and gone straight to using my smartphone maps, which haven’t failed me yet… but now I’m sure they will because I’ve just jinxed myself. Well done with this latest radio interview, Debbie!

    1. Thanks, Laura! What I find particularly fiendish about satnavs is that they lull us into a false sense of security. We rely on them to get us there without engaging our brains properly, leaving us in the lurch when they fail. I’ve done that same journey several times, but always using my satnav. If I’d done it once without the satnav, I’d have remembered the way and not needed it again. Wish I’d never bought the wretched thing – give me an old-fashioned map any day! Particularly ironic as I’d previously written a post called “How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Satnav!”

  3. Sounds wonderful, Debbie (apart from the satnav disaster – very impressed you can mend fuses in cars!) How lovely to be given an hour to chat and it looks as if you covered a whole range of topics. Wonderful!

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