Weekend on BBC World Service

When I lived in Hong Kong working as a correspondent I often used to sit in my tiny flat on the 27th floor, with a sliver of a view of the South China Sea, listening to a calm, soothing voice from the BBC World Service in London. I also listened to it in various war zones where at times its news bulletins kept us and the local population abreast of developments that might have been happening only close by.

So  when I was asked to guest present last weekend’s Weekend, I was only too happy to say yes.

What a weekend of news it turned out to be. Tragically the horrific shootings in Tunisa and Kuwait dominated Saturday’s programme, we knew before we went on air that the death toll of Britons in Sousse would rise from 5 to become 30, with 39 dead there, 29 in Kuwait.There was one particularly moving eye witness account from a holiday maker whose life and family had been torn apart.  As ever I found it hard to switch from talking about that to the lighter stories we were covering, Paul Rose who’d escaped a polar bear attack, an exhibition of emigree art.

By Sunday we and the rest of Europe were blindsided by news of Greece’s snap referendum and that news led the show. With guests, I tried to unravel the situation and what it might mean for the Greek people and the Euro while juggling the breaking news with the cultural and art elements that make up the two and half hour long programme. All the while trying to remain as calm and collected as the presenters I remember listening too from the other side of the world.