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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Live webchat with Radio 2 DJ Simon Mayo, Monday 27th February 1 - 2pm

(143 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-Feb-12 12:34:42

Simon Mayo will be joining us next Monday (27th Feb) for a live webchat. Best known as host of Radio 2 Drivetime, Simon has been broadcasting with the BBC since the early 80s, including a stint as host of Radio 1 Breakfast show.
Simon's debut children's book ITCH is described as 'a fast-paced thriller starring an accidental school boy hero called Itch whose hobby of collecting all the elements in the periodic table gets him into some seriously explosive situations'.

If you have a question for Simon, join us next Monday or send in your question in advance to this thread.

MordechaiVanunu Mon 27-Feb-12 12:01:36

Hi Simon,

I'm very excited to see you are going to be on mumsnet; I podcast your film review show every week to listen to while I cook at the weekend, and the while family knows not to attempt to speak to me whilst it's on as it is 'Mummy's Treat'.

I also loved your 5Live afternoon show and was distraught (I'm only slightly exaggerating) when you we're leaving as I thought no one would be able to replace you (I've now got used to Richard Bacon and like him but he's not as good as you). You managed to be so well informed and do such insightful intelligent interviews everyday on such a wide range of topics, it was always good listening.

You can do the light-hearted stuff on radio 2, but your wasted there a bit imvho, and should do some more serious stuff.

I don't have my own question but would like to second policywonks questions about feminism and how you'd define yourself. You and Mark often both seem to view films with a feminist view point, particularly films with role models for girls and young women.

Lastly, if you have a nice time on mumsnet could you suggest to Mark he comes on here for a webchat about film? I'd love that and I think he'd like mumsnet!!

Solo Mon 27-Feb-12 12:10:46

Another confessions fan here! also agree with binning Liza tarbuck as your understudy! it doesn't work.

Q. Do you ever listen to your show when you aren't hosting it?

CatVonB Mon 27-Feb-12 12:15:02

Hello Simon - thanks for writing a children's science-based fiction book - I was beginning to despair of finding fiction for my 12 yr old DS, who is very picky about the subjects he will read about. He is a total science fiend, so anything other than a fact book will make a change. Any chance this will become a series? <hopeful>

BearlyThere Mon 27-Feb-12 12:18:18

PLease can you stop playing QUeen on those friday request shows.

BearlyThere Mon 27-Feb-12 12:19:25

oh and can you please do all that is within your earthly power to get frigging STEVE SODDING WRIGHT off national radio


SimonMayo Mon 27-Feb-12 12:19:41

Testing MNHQ

BearlyThere Mon 27-Feb-12 12:20:15

regarding "there she goes" it was definitely played on TV after thatcher resigned as i remember lOlling - you know the music that is behind a trailer?
was def that.

georgee Mon 27-Feb-12 12:46:51

Hi Simon. I just wanted to say that I listen and look forward to Drivetime because, quite simply, it's so edifying, particularly at that tricky toddler's-teatime slot in the day. Unlike loads of snidey, bitchy media stuff you always maintain a sense of integrity and respect your listeners, which is really important. I expect that's at least partly down to your Christian faith but have you found it tricky to maintain that integrity with your job? Have you ever been tempted to be a bit edgier/bitchier to fit in better or be more popular? Anyway, don't ever change will you! Thanks!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 27-Feb-12 12:58:16

Simon has joined us here at MNHQ and ready to start answering as many questions as poss over the next hour. Welcome to Mumsnet Simon Mayo...

walkingonthemoon Mon 27-Feb-12 12:58:35

Georgee - was going to ask the same kind of question: being a christian and tension between national broadcasting and 'celebrity'.

Hello Simon - i'm a big fan!

SimonMayo Mon 27-Feb-12 12:58:56

It's very exciting to be on Mumsnet! I haven't done a webchat for about ten years, so I might be a bit rusty, but I'll answer anything (within the realms of decency and legality!)

Solo Mon 27-Feb-12 13:00:10

<pulls up chair>

SimonMayo Mon 27-Feb-12 13:00:37


Hello Simon - thanks for writing a children's science-based fiction book - I was beginning to despair of finding fiction for my 12 yr old DS, who is very picky about the subjects he will read about. He is a total science fiend, so anything other than a fact book will make a change. Any chance this will become a series? <hopeful>

I don't know how many books are in a series, but if a follow-up counts, I'm a third of the way through that. I did read from some of the Random House publicity that this was the first in a series, which was quite encouraging and was news to me! So, I hope he loves it!

SimonMayo Mon 27-Feb-12 13:02:06


aaargh I'm unreasonably excited about this. SM is probably my favourite ever broadcaster. I still miss the Five Live afternoon show, and will always remember him skewering Mo Mowlam with impeccable courtesy.

My question: would you describe yourself as a feminist? I'm a huge fan of the Kermode/Mayo film show, and it was so cathartic to hear you both expressing real anger and shock at aspects of Winterbottom's 'The Killer Inside Me'. It seemed to me that the anger was at least partly to do with the nature of the violence in the film (ie, male-on-female violence within a relationship). I've always assumed that Dr K would identify himself as a feminist: would you too? (And if you could ask Dr K for his answer as well I would be STOKED. Although I realise that that's a cheeky request and you're welcome to ignore it wink)

(If I'm allowed a follow-up: What do you remember about broadcasting live on the radio as the attack on the World Trade Center began? I remember listening to you, waiting for the Blair speech to the TUC, which of course never happened.)

I remember particularly well only having been in the job at 5 live a few months but to be honest even if been there for 20 years no way could be prepared. I remember it started as a small story about a small plane that had
flown into wtc and then during 2 o clock news watching as 2nd plane flew in
and realising it wasn't a small story. It was my daughter's birthday and we
had family coming round and I remember thinking what kind of a party are we
going to have. I was interviewing live the BBC's Steven Evans who was north
america business correspondent and he was in one of the towers and I tried to
keep him on but he was moved on by the police. The rest of the year became a procession of eye witnesses and experts and we took the show to new york for thanksgiving. The other memory is looking up through the glass and I saw Mark Thompson director general, head of radio Jenny Abramski and Bob Shennon radio 5 live controller and realised the enormity of the moment.

southlundon Mon 27-Feb-12 13:02:14

brew Hi Simon!

Seabright Mon 27-Feb-12 13:03:09

Do you miss the enormous variety and the every-present possibility of a big-news event happening, as it did on Radio 5? I'm another one who really misses your Radio 5 show

SimonMayo Mon 27-Feb-12 13:03:16


Would Itch be suitable for a 10 year old who struggles a bit with reading and looses interest quite quickly, or is it aimed at more able readers / older children?

Also would you play 'Wild Horses' for all mumsnetters on your All Request Friday show please. I thought it would be quite appropriate "Wild Horses couldn't drag me awaaaaaay" grin

I think it is pitched at 10+, is what it says on the cover, but I think in all honesty a 10-year-old who struggles with it might struggle a bit. I think however it would be perfect for an adult to read to a 10-year-old. There isn't anything that's inappropriate. I guess the books' heartland is probably, 12, 13, 14, 15-year-olds.

And I'll think about the Osmonds for Friday...

SimonMayo Mon 27-Feb-12 13:04:22


"Itch" looks like the kind of book my science-mad 11yr-old would enjoy reading. He also likes listening to Drivetime when he's putting off doing his homework.

My question is:

Do you have an interest in science yourself and, if so, which area(s) of science are you most interested in?

Thanks. smile

I got interested in science because of 5 live show interviewing astronomers, chemists of every hue, so it became a general fascination. But I do find the whole area of multi-verse theory particularly fascinating.

BIWI Mon 27-Feb-12 13:04:45


I saw on Twitter that you were 'unsure' about the kind of reception you might get here, and Allison Pearson described us as 'mean mothers' hmm

Hopefully you will realise that we are clever, passionate, insightful, witty - and definitely not mean!

Oh, and welcome to Mumsnet grin

CatVonB Mon 27-Feb-12 13:05:44

Thanks Simon!

policywonk Mon 27-Feb-12 13:06:00

Thanks for answering


SimonMayo Mon 27-Feb-12 13:07:42


Simon, Id love to know which is your favourite "confession" some of those on your show totally crack me up grin

Since I've been doing Drive Time, the most memorable confession for me was the guy who many years ago was a tin miner, in Cornwall. (This sounds as if i'm doing a promo for the book, but honestly, it's just a coincidence!)

And he had the dirtiest job in the mine, which meant that he usually worked in the nude, and he was trying to smash his way through a particularly stubborn piece of rock and was failing. So he called for dynamite, and he was cursing, a lot, as he failed to break up this enormous piece of granite (or whatever it was.)

And heard the lift coming down from the ground, and a whole bunch of people walking towards him, but he was so obsessed with smashing this rock that he didn't pay them any attention. He then wrote in his confession,

"it was then that I heard the words that will live with me forever: Your Royal Highness, this is the man we refer to as The Bear. I then turned round to encounter our future king, and all I was wearing was my boots."

And he was writing in to apologise to Prince Charles, who was also Duke of Cornwall, for swearing like a trooper in front of him. (Not that I think Prince Charles needed apologising to!)

It was like something out of a sitcom, and I always considered that something of a favourite of mine!

ImperialBlether Mon 27-Feb-12 13:08:10

Hi Simon

Is Rebecca on Mumsnet, do you know? She sounds so disapproving at times, so I think she must be!

Oh and WHY DO YOU ASK HER THE HOMEWORK QUESTIONS? Sorry, but she never ever, ever knows the answer, so why do you keep trying?

Seabright Mon 27-Feb-12 13:10:36

Oh yes, the tin miner one is my fave too! All it's missing is the Archbishop of Canterbury

SimonMayo Mon 27-Feb-12 13:10:38


Hi Simon

I'm a huge fan of you as a broadcaster, in particular the 5Live show which kept me in some semblance of sanity during maternity leave and which I still miss.

The range of topics covered on the 5Live show was breathtaking, so my question is: how did you manage to sound knowledgeable about such a wide variety of subjects, from quantum physics and dark matter to 800 page novels? Is this high bluffing skill or genuine interest? Either way is impressive, if the latter then do you fancy the In Our Time slot in the future?!

Thank you for so many memorable radio moments, such as others have said the 9/11 bombings, also for me the announcement of John Peel's death which was obviously personally distressing for you but which you handled admirably.

Thank you very much indeed for the nice comments about the 5 Live show, which I enjoyed enormously for the nine years that I was there. If I sounded knowledgeable, it was a mixture of extreme hard work, and bluff!

But the truth is that the show was a full-time job, which gave me no time to do anything else, so one of the joys of moving to Radio 2 was that it freed me up to write this book. But I have to say I wouldn't have written it without the astonishing array of scientists that we had on over the years.

I made a deliberate policy of covering science properly as a subject, and one of the luxuries of the programme was to be able to speak to world-leading physicists and chemists, and give them 40m to explain what on earth they were on about! And I can't say I always followed everything, but ti was great to be able to give them a platform to do it. I think that's where the science-based book came from.

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