REVIEW – Nick Robinson, Politics, Power and the Media, Durham Town Hall

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IT WAS a little like our very own broadcast mixed with good-natured stand-up as Nick Robinson made his appearance at Durham Book Festival.

The last time he was in the city was at its Big Meeting two years ago.

Here, we were captivated as the BBC’s political editor offered an insight into his career and those who inspired it at the Sunderland University-supported session.

But it was his explanation about why he files reports on location which helped him tie in the reasons why he decided to write his book, Live From Downing Street. It’s because he can, thanks to the fight for the right to report on Parliament in the days when its business was only known by its MPs.

His point that the job of the media is to question, hold to account and spread the word about the country’s politics and more helped lead into plenty of anecdotes about the big names and what they are like to deal with.

From the threat he could be fired after upsetting Peter Mandelson, who later turned into one of his most valued contacts, the effort put in by David Cameron’s team to put him across in the best light, to his run-ins with George W Bush, they raised both eyebrows and laughs.

Funny, interesting and engaging, it put his book firmly on my book list.

If he was as daunted as he said he was by the sight of his audience, rather than the millions who tune into his TV news and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme reports, he didn’t show it, and it was interesting to hear him talk about his working ways and his family life too.

A word to the wise for when next year’s festival programme is announced – book early to avoid disappointment. I’ll see you in the queue.

Fiona Thompson