Nicky Campbell’s candid confession about working for BBC: ‘I toss and turn’

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Campbell is one of the BBC’s core presenters and has worked his way into the position through 20 years at the broadcaster. While he has presented a range of different things, his focus has piled on Radio 5 Live Breakfast where he and co-host Rachel Burden take in the morning’s news and discussion. As a personality, Campbell became further well-known following his stint on the show, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, when he retraced his family history, having been adopted just days after he was born in 1961.

Tonight, he leads, alongside Davina McCall, ITV’s new series, ‘Long Lost Family: Born without Trace’.

Here, the broadcasters return with more stories of people who were abandoned as babies, helping them try to find their birth families and know their identities.

While Campbell is a mainstay at the BBC – which has strict impartiality rules – he has become known for being outspoken on a number of political issues like Scottish independence and Nicola Sturgeon.

In interviews, the journalist has also been candid about his work for the corporation, unafraid to talk about the personal toll it takes on his life.

Speaking to The Independent earlier this month, Campbell revealed how he struggles to sleep in the week while presenting the breakfast slot.

Asked about his sleeping pattern, he said: “[It’s] not great.

“Sometimes I’ll get to sleep about 9.30pm and then I’ll wake up about 2am, stay awake for an hour, then go back to sleep and I’m up at 4.45am.

“Sometimes in the middle of the night, I’ll listen to something to relax me.

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“I listen to this painter called Bob Ross or to [Autonomous Sensory] Meridian Response.

“But things go through your head and I do toss and turn, especially if I’m interviewing the Chancellor of the Exchequer the next morning.

“I feel tired a lot of the time.

“When I wake up on Saturday morning after a decent sleep, it’s the best feeling in the world. I lie in till 6.20am!”


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BBC presenters – as well as other broadcasters – who host breakfast shows have historically topsy-turvy sleeping patterns and schedules.

Most breakfast programmes start from 6am, although some can begin an hour earlier.

Working as a radio host, Campbell claims to know Britain’s people better than most.

Writing in the New Statesman a week after the 2016 Brexit referendum result, he said that he and his colleagues at the BBC had seen the Leave camp winning from a mile off.

Campbell wrote: “Our station, more than any other, is in touch with our audience because listeners getting in touch with us is our lifeblood.

“We pride ourselves on reaching far beyond the confines of metropolitan England.

“The referendum’s result surprised no one here.”

He suggested there was a lack of fire in the bellies of Remainers compared to Brexiteers.

Only when the result was announced, he said, did the Europhiles pipe up.

He admitted, however, that his wife, Christina Ritchie, a fellow journalist, was taken aback by the result.

‘Long Lost Family: Born without Trace’ is back on ITV One tonight at 9pm.

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