Jeremy Vine has been presenting his BBC Radio 2 show since 2003 – it now attracts more than seven million listeners. He calculates he has taken more than 25,000 calls from his listeners on issues big and small: life, love, lollipop ladies and poisonous plants.
But what have the callers told him? If you listen to Radio 4, Brexit was a shock. If you are on Radio 2 it would not have surprised you at all. Where Jeremy’s callers once expressed a kind of resignation (‘But what can you do?’) or a gloomy rejoinder (‘You have to laugh’), now they give him their views expecting to be heeded.
Listener wisdom is far more valuable than most of what we hear from appointed spokespeople. What was the response when Jeremy asked: ‘Have you ever been pecked in the eye by a gannet?’ Which subjects are most likely to start pitched warfare between different sections of the audience? (Answer: old people using buses, old people NOT using buses, cellophane, or Tony Blair saying anything.)
In a book punctuated by his own vivid stories and laugh-out-loud moments, Jeremy Vine explains what it’s like to hit a button and hear – totally unvarnished and unspun – the voice of the so-called ‘ordinary’ person. And why we should take notice.