Richard Bilton – Q&A

Richard Bilton, Special Correspondent

I’m 37.

Where are you from?
I’m from Leeds.

How did you get started in broadcasting?
I’ve risen up through the BBC structure. Local radio in Cleveland was my first job, my first local television job was in Nottingham. Then network as Midlands Correspondent, a Special Correspondent, Environment Correspondent, Social Affair Correspondent and now this job.

When was that?
A long time ago! 1991 was my first staff job – I’ve been a television correspondent for the last 10 years.

Why News broadcasting?
I think it’s the most powerful and direct way of showing the issues and events that surround us. Of course, on the enormous stories – the images speak for themselves. But TV news is at its best when it can literally show a different view, or way of life. For a journalist, I think television offers the best, most straightforward and clear way of exploring a subject and passing it on to millions of people.

Where else would have viewers seen or heard you before?
In news – the big stories have been the Paris riots, tsunami, Baghdad, Shipman, September 11 – things like that. I suppose the first big story I covered was the foot and mouth outbreak – which I did pretty much solidly for 3 months. I have done some stuff away from news – programmes like Real Story and the BBC specials on Monarchy and the NHS.

What is your Best on-air moment?
I did the first ever live broadcast from the Galapagos Islands – I suppose that was pretty cool.

What is your Worst on-air moment?
Like all reporters – I do a lot of lives, so the bad moments can quickly add up. I was once asked directions during a live for News 24. Actually, the most embarassing time was when I mistook the thanks you get at the end of a live from from the presenters, with the thanks you get in your ear from the gallery – so the parting shot on the One O’clock news was me with my thumbs up saying ‘No worries’.

What would you like to do before your career ends?
I’d like to spend some time living abroad. I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of travelling with the job – but being based somehwere would be good.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’ve got a young family – so most of my spare time is taken up with being a Dad. What’s left gets spent following Leeds United.

What advice would you give to anyone that would like to get into the broadcasting world?
Be positive and keen – but keep a sense of perspective. It can look like a closed world with no obvious way in – but in my experience people with good ideas and ability will always get on in the end.

A big thanks to Richard for taking part.

Posted by Johnnie Larkin on Thursday 21 May 2009