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?”