I’m proud we have equal pay on BBC Breakfast
New game show Chase The Case sees players answer questions to win visits to a secret vault. Presenter Dan Walker, 41, talks to GEORGIA HUMPHREYS about the show, the challenges of working away from home, and gender equality in the workplace
Can you sum up how Chase The Case works?
THERE are five cases – one’s got the jackpot. Your job as a contestant is to, via your general knowledge, decipher where the dosh is and how to get it across the line before anyone else.
What made you want to present the show?
I HOSTED our first family quiz when I was seven. We’re quite a big family, and so is my wife’s, so still, even now, I’ll play the question master.
I get to be sport bloke, BBC Breakfast host man, and now I’ve got a game show as well. They are quite different in pace and tempo but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. This felt like the right project at the right time.
You don’t have to be quite so serious on Chase The Case. Was that refreshing?
OH yes. There’s a time and a place for news. When you’re presenting Breakfast and there’s been – as there was 18 months ago – a horrible bomb in Manchester, there’s a huge responsibility of delivering that news in the right way. But when you’re hosting a game show, you can be far more relaxed and let your personality out a little bit.
Did anything ever go wrong during filming?
I WOULD say 25 of the hundred contestants couldn’t open the case first time. At the end of the programme where we go, ‘Let’s see the value of the red case’, or whatever colour it is, I had to go and help. We had quite a few hilarious moments – one guy, called Josh, who had a PhD, he took about two minutes to open it!
Chase The Case is a totally new concept. Are you worried about making it a success?
YEAH, game shows are a really competitive field. We’ve made it fun, hopefully we’ve made it interesting, we think the gameplay is great, we’ve got some fantastic contestants, and the end game where you’re racing down the red squares, every single one of those, it’s never the same – you’re always surprised by what happens or who wins. We feel we’ve made the best show that we can. If it doesn’t come back for another series, so be it.
You recently spent five weeks in Russia reporting from the World Cup. How hard is it being away from home?
IT’S much easier for me because when I go away, I just work, so I just plough on and get through it. It’s harder for my wife, my kids [he has three children, aged 11, nine and seven]. Professionally, it’s amazing to be able to work on those tournaments but it does get hard being away from home for that long, because you feel like you just miss out on a lot of things, like birthdays and parties and performances and violin lessons... I know it sounds stupid but it’s those little things, isn’t it? But that’s part of the job.
Many of the BBC Breakfast team have done Strictly Come Dancing. Is it your turn next year?
I GET stopped a lot by people saying, ‘When are you doing it?’ But you tell me where I could fit it in! I love the programme, we watch it with the children every weekend. But from my personal perspective, Strictly is best viewed from a distance. I’m not sure I want that level of intense scrutiny on everything.
Working for the BBC means that your pay is public. Do you think pay transparency is a good thing?
WORKING for the BBC is brilliant, they’re a fantastic organisation, and they provide value for money.
But I’d be lying if I told you it’s not awkward for people to know how much you earn. I’m proud of the fact that we do have equal pay at BBC Breakfast. I’ve always earned the same amount as Louise [Minchin], whatever the various papers have said. The reason I’m higher up the [pay] list is because I’ve got two jobs.
Should other companies follow suit and have more transparency about pay?
THAT’S a decision for them. As a father of two girls and one boy, I want my girls to grow up in a world where they’re valued for the work they put in, in the same way that a man is. I think that’s important.
How do you relax away from filming?
WE take the kids out cycling. If I’m relaxing myself, I love playing golf. I don’t work Sundays so I always have Sundays at home. We go to church and spend that time as a family day.
What else have you got lined up in the future?
I’M trying to factor in some sleep. The one thing Bill Turnbull told me when I took over from him on Breakfast: ‘Dan, I don’t want to give you any advice, all I would say is just manage your sleep’. And I’ve ignored him entirely! Chase The Case is on BBC1 Monday to Friday at 2.15pm
Dan with his BBC Breakfast co-presenter, Louise Minchin Dan Walker takes on his first game show with Chase The Case