Why BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin loves her job

Louise with her 2020 BBC Breakfast colleagues: Dan Walker, Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt
Photog

Louise with her 2020 BBC Breakfast colleagues: Dan Walker, Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt Photograph: Steve Schofield - Credit: BBC / Steve Schofield

Louise Minchin on loving news, getting up early and the BBC

Wow, time flies doesn’t it.

I know that I love my job at BBC Breakfast, but until the programme recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, I had no real grasp of what a fundamental part of my life it is has been, or even how long I have been doing it.

For me, there has always been something very special about getting up in the early hours of the morning ahead of most people, finding out what the latest news is and being able to tell everyone all about it as they stir from their slumber and put on the telly to see what kind of world awaits them. Along with many thousands of our loyal viewers, I have always felt part of a huge BBC Breakfast family. That feeling seems especially poignant as we face a winter that will be deeply affected by coronavirus and all the associated restrictions and difficulties.

I have always been what I would describe as a news nerd. From an early age my bedtime listening was BBC Radio Four’s The World Tonight, and one of my most important childhood milestones was being allowed to watch the BBC’s 9 O’clock news, as it was back then.

News has always been part of my DNA and now I realise that BBC Breakfast is too.

Before I became a permanent resident of the famous red sofa I worked as a journalist and presenter in radio and on the BBC News Channel, but, if there was ever a programme I wanted to part of, Breakfast was top of my list. I have always loved the eclectic mix of stories the programme covers. Just look at the past year: we have reported on a global pandemic, a general election, a contested American election, and the twists and turns of Brexit, (remember that?), as well as stories of heroism, bravery and resilience, such as Captain Tom’s epic fundraising.

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When we came to have a mini celebration of the programme’s 20th birthday, I was asked to look back and check when I started. Off the top of my head, I thought it was probably a decade or so ago, as a stand-in for one of the main presenters.

I was genuinely staggered when I found out that my debut was in fact, on Christmas Eve 19 years ago. It is no wonder my children do not remember a time when I was not getting up in the middle of the night to go to work.

Nearly two decades later it is strange watching the recording of me on that first day and see how I have changed. Back then, I was sporting a pixie-style haircut, wearing a serious looking aubergine suit and was clearly nervous, speaking very slowly and deliberately. I had no idea that many years later, in 2012 when the programme moved from Television Centre in London to its new home, Media City, in Salford I would be offered my dream job on a permanent basis.

Anniversaries are good, as they can give you a chance to look back and get some perspective. This one has made me realise I am extremely lucky to have done the job that I love for so long, and as much as I might grumble about the hours, they clearly aren’t that bad for me. I will plan my own 20th anniversary celebration for Christmas Eve 2021, and can make one solemn promise, given I am 52, I won’t be presenting the programme for another 20 years. You will probably breathe a sigh of relief!