The Life Of a BBC Reporter — Peter Slater 11th August 2014.

Peter Slater has been a sports reporter for 35 years and for much of that time he worked for BBC radio.  Born in Newcastle, he went to the University of Sheffield, where he star­ted his report­ing career as “V Boring” a reg­u­lar con­trib­utor to a stu­dent magazine.  After gradu­ation, he returned to Newcastle and in 1976 took a job in clas­si­fied advert­ising with a local news­pa­per.

By chance, he was intro­duced to Charles Harrison and within a week he had a job work­ing under the Newcastle Radio sports editor.  He imme­di­ately real­ised this was the work he really enjoyed and has been involved with ever since.  Peter admit­ted that although he had met very many famous people, he actu­ally knows only a few of them.  Interviews are usu­ally of only a few minutes dur­a­tion and making the arrange­ments for the talk is often under­taken through a third party.

The most famous per­son­al­ity he ever inter­viewed was Mohammed Ali in his heyday in South Shields of all places.  Perhaps the most famous person to give him a tirade of abuse whilst refus­ing to speak to him was an angry Sir Alex Ferguson who told him not to take it per­son­ally.  Apparently Peter was one of sev­eral report­ers to enjoy the Alex Treatment.  Michael Schumacher, Harry Rednapp and Mark Cavendish may have been inter­viewed by Peter many times but they still don’t know who he is.

Over the dec­ades, Peter has wit­nessed the rise and fall of stars.  As an example he cited Brian Clough who when at his height would not deign to con­firm that he would give an inter­view after saying once that he would do it.  Towards the end of Clough’s career, he was an alco­holic and he met Peter whilst stag­ger­ing on his way to give Nottingham Forest a pep talk, very drunk.  Nottingham Forest lost that match.

Peter’s pas­sion is soccer but he has also been a F1, a Wimbledon tennis and a Tour De France reporter.  In the latter capa­city, after flight delays and unable to reach the finish of a stage in time, he and his crew faked a report, in his hotel room, as if it was at the scene by having a tele­vi­sion report sound­ing in the back­ground and using the an air-conditioning unit to sound like a number of heli­copters.  All this and more can be found in his book entitled “Don’t you know who I am?”