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Preparing for an presenting a live six hour election night show is probably one of the most complex things that we ever do. There is a tremendous opportunity for things to go wrong. And given we stream the whole thing live in pictures too, if something does go wrong, you can't hide it.
I've done about a dozen of this type of show over the years, starting with the 2010 general election. Each time we've tried to achieve something which contrasts with the coverage provided by the BBC, or Sky. Each one of these was produced either by Matt Harris or Jagruti Dave, who have both now left for pastures new. This year the show was produced by my two Evening Show producers Sophie Snelling and Jakub Szweda. Neither of them had been involved in such a show before, and although they didn't admit it, I think they were understandably nervous about it. They both did an absolutely superb job, both in preparing the show and delivering it on the night.
The main difficulty in preparing a show like this is booking a good range of guests to make up a panel. You need balance, but also voices who will make for an entertaining listen. The problem here is that you are in the hands of the political parties. You want big name politicians, especially in the first two hours. I knew the trouble would be this year that the Conservatives wouldn't want to put up any big name politicians because they knew what was coming. It ought to be in Labour's interest to put up their best people, given everyone assumed they would be having a good night, and gaining seats all over the country. OK, it didn't quite turn out like that, but you can see the logic.
The Conservatives assured us they would provide a different politician for each hour of the show, although when they eventually provided us with the lineup the day before, I will admit I was a tad disappointed, given it was basically a cast list of their deputy/vice chairmen/women, most of whom no one had heard of. Not a cabinet minister in sight, and only two junior ministers among them - Mims Davies and Nadhim Zahawi.
With Labour, it was more difficult. By 6pm on Tuesday evening, despite repeated promises, they have failed to come up with a single guest for us. You can imagine how that made us feel. I had already booked an intevrview with John McDonnell at the top of the programme, but he could only stay twenty minutes, but it was a pretty stellar booking and immediately gave us a head start on our rivals. We were told that no Shadow ministers were going to be in London and that it was all very difficult. Well if we weren't going to get any help from Labour officially, we'd have to do it ourselves. So we started ringing round all our contacts. What was funny was that we all kept encountering Labour MPs who said they would have loved to have done the show, but they were all being sent to Stoke - clearly a big Labour target council (which didn't fall in the end).
In the end Labour did provide one Shadow Cabinet guest, the Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith. We were also delighted that Catherine West and Siobhan McDonagh were able to come in. The LibDems provided Tom Brake and Ed Davey and we had Sian Berry, the leader of the Green Party. We also have Paul Oakley, the General Secretary of UKIP for an hour too, along with our elections analyst Gareth Knight, broadcaster Michael Crick, our political editor Theo Usherwood (for the first three hours) and political commentator and former MP Nick de Bois. Stephanie Lloyd from Progress and Tom Harwood from Guido Fawkes joined us too.
So that was the guest lineup sorted. In the end! What I think we did uniquely well this year was to use LBC's reporters at counts all over the country. We don't have the resources of the BBC, but we covered more counts this year than we've ever done before, and it really sounded good. Short, sharp 90 second reports from reporters who were well briefed and recognised the need to be concise. They did it well and really rose to the occasion. There was some real drama and atmosphere, especially from Sunderland, Plymouth and Trafford.
Here some of the best moments from the night.
We started off with an interview with John McDonnell. Here he is talking about the state of Cross Party Talks on Brexit.
Politicians rarely fall into the trap of predicting how their parties will do at the beginning of election nights. John McDonnell, though, was quite happy to predict Labour gains of 400 seats. To be honest, I thought he was managing expectations... It didn't quite turn out like that.
Labour's Catherine West and Conservative minister Mims Davies didn't see eye to eye...
Perhaps the most memorable interview of the night was with the Labour leader of Sunderland Council, Graham Miller. He was very open and admitted that if the whole council had been up for election, Labour would have been out.
Here's me challenging UKIP's Paul Oakley about Tommy Robinson's role in UKIP.
When we came off air, I felt we'd done a great job as a team. It was very calm. There no presenter or producer tantrums. Not one raised voice during the entire six hours, and that was because we all knew we had done our preparations.
Given the dozens of people who put together these programmes at the BBC and Sky, I think we performed a bloody miracle. So let me mention and thank those who ensured that the show was a success...
Firstly my two producers Sophie Snelling and Jakub Szweda. In addition, Alex Barnett, Callum Reeve, Chris Humfris, Oli Klink and Sam Gould from the website team. A small but perfectly formed team, who delivered six hours of gripping live radio. Well done to all of them.