Radio Times




Did the summer election announceme­nt surprise you? Absolutely. I wasn’t one of the unlucky ones with a holiday booked, but I had to cancel everything social. Most plans are in the bin until the other side of the election. I was in a Westminste­r television studio when Rishi Sunak announced the election and thought to myself: “This isn’t going very well”. These moments are usually curated, managed, using the full authority of the office to command the attention of the nation but, actually, the attention of the nation was on the rain and the blasting music.

Describe your typical day now On the campaign trail it’s always an early start and late finish. The other day I was up at 4.30am to travel to Nottingham­shire for an event with Rishi Sunak. You’re trying to keep across all the material that the parties are throwing out, along with developing news lines, while also trying to check the policy announceme­nts against all you know to see if they stand up. Are they new? You’re also looking for interestin­g voices to add a layer of context and understand­ing.

Is the job all-consuming? There’s a political journalist­s’ recurring dream – a lot like those exam dreams that people have for decades after school or university – you’re being counted down from five seconds, about to go live, and you haven’t got a clue what you’re meant to be talking about. I’m always terrified something’s going to go really wildly wrong live on air. I’m traumatise­d even thinking about it!

Is there any down time? Yes, my wife Laura and I will watch a good drama, or I’ll take our demented six-year-old spaniel for a walk; he’s not very bright but he’s companiona­ble. Laura has been through a few elections and knows this is a period where my diary is not something I can truly be in charge of.

‘I’m terrified something will go wildly wrong live on air’ GARY GIBBON

Is it difficult to eat well during the campaign? You eat really badly – sugar lows at 5pm, and far too much food at train stations that looks appealing at the time but an hour later you wish you’d never opened. I’m getting five hours’ sleep. On election night I’ll just eat bananas and I’ll go straight through, sitting in the studio all night long. I’ll grab two hours’ sleep before the next day’s results programme.

Are viewers engaged with this election? A lot of people don’t want politics on TV or in their lives but as it gets closer to election day, some will take their fingers out of their ears and properly ponder their choices. Some people I trust say the turnout won’t be great. One MP told me voters have lost trust not only in politician­s but politics.

What are your plans after the election? The first two or three weeks of a government can be pretty intense – new policies, new sense of direction, King’s Speech, intended bills. It will probably all go a bit quiet in August and I can start booking some nice nights out. I think I might be murdered if we don’t go on holiday by then!

 ?? ?? IN THE KNOW Gibbon has been the Channel 4 political editor since 2005
IN THE KNOW Gibbon has been the Channel 4 political editor since 2005

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