Getting up at 5.15am, whizzing down to College Green to do Sky News Sunrise and then driving for two hours to Arundel was perhaps not the ideal preparation to present what turned out to be a nine hour marathon election programme. And due to traffic I was late.
However, we got started at 9am on time and despite some people having difficulty in accessing the site in the first hour it was clear that we were building up quite a substantial audience. In the first hour I interviewed LibDem leader Nick Clegg who was about to board a train to visit his victorious LibDem councillors in Bristol. This was followed by a chat with Conservative MP Paul Goodman who had announced that he was standing down at the next election. Throughout the rest of the day we talked to all sorts of political luminaries including Boris Johnson, Tom Harris, Andrew MacKinlay, Kerry McCarthy, Nick Palmer, Chris Rennard, Jonathan Isaby, Paul Waugh and Keith Simpson.
We also interviewed the deputy leader of the British National Party, Simon Darby. If I am completely honest, I wasn't looking forward to this, but I firmly believe they need to be taken on and that a no platform policy is counter productive. My fellow presenter, Hopi Sen, refused to take part in the interview, which I think was a mistake, as Donal Blaney and I took Darby to task for his wholly objectionable views. Indeed, I thought he tied himself up in knots. My interviewing style is not ideal for people like Simon Darby. I am not confrontational, but maybe in retrospect that was a good thing. Judge for yourself. The podcast is HERE.
We had some very good calls from listeners - no nutters! And we also gleaned a lot of information from all around the country which meant that we could talk about individual results with some authority and 'call' an authority way before the BBC or Sky could announce a final result. I think we came into our own discussing the Ian Gibson by election announcement as Morus from Political Betting is a friend of the Norwich North Tory candidate and I know the seat well from my political work there in the 1980s.
I have to admit that I completely lost it during the Gordon Brown press conference, which we carried live. Brown's announcement that Glenys Kinnock was replacing Caroline Flint was just too much. If you saw it, you;'ll know what I mean.
So, was it as polished as a BBC production? No, but it wasn't meant to be. Was it professional? I hope so. Wa sit informative, entertaining and analytical? I think so, but those who listened must be the judges. We're doing it all over again on Sunday night from 6pm to midnight, so if you have any tips for improvements, do feel free to tell us.
I want to thank Hopi Sen, Morus, Donal Blaney, Alan Douglas and Gareth Knight for making it work, and also to PlayRadioUK.com for allowing us to make the programme. I hope everyone felt it was worth it.
UPDATE: Joshua Chambers reviews the Simon Darby interview.