We sent Duncan Browne for an exclusive behind the scenes look at former Standard reporter Scott Dalton’s new breakfast show
It’s the eyes that you feel the most. At 3.30am, and with a handful of hours’ sleep – they feel like they’re burning in the back of your head.
But there was a very good reason why The Standard was awake, showered and yawning heavily at such a ridiculous time of day... BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Breakfast Show.
For many of you, this is the background noise as you begin your day. But we were invited along to peek – through bloodshot eyes – behind the scenes, and see how the show is put together.
Boston lad Scott Dalton has just become the man charged with the task of presenting a fast-flowing and lively daily show, taking over the mic from Rod Whiting.
We were just four days into Dalton’s run when he picked The Standard up from a town centre, where some revellers were still staggering home following a heavy night.
The presenter’s life now begins at 4am every weekday. After a quick round of toast – and not his favoured full English – a drive to Lincoln is followed by any last-minute tweeks to the script. Then it’s down to the studio for 5.30am.
At first glance, two words spring to mind. ‘Alan’ and ‘Partridge’. The BBC studio and the set of a classic BBC comedy are virtually identical.
And that lazy comparison flickers through my mind during the show when Dalton is joined by National Farmers Union representative Andrew Wilson. But instead of putting his foot firmly in it with accusations of ‘spines in baps’ and ‘feeding beefburgers to swans’, Dalton listened sympathetically as he was told how the rise in price of a pint of milk will help some farmers in Yellowbelly county come closer to making ends meet.
And within seconds the topic has changed, and Dalton is reading out text messages from listeners, suggesting the titles of movies they would like to watch while being operated on in hospital. The Sound of Music is a favourite, horror film Saw was a big no-no.
It’s like an episode of That’s Life, the way the show flits from sadness to laughter, encompassing all aspects of county life. But that is the show’s modus operandi.
Few, if any, will listen to the show in full from 6-9am. Most will tune in while waking from their slumber, buttering their toast or driving to work, so it’s imperative that small window is filled with as much as possible to stop fingers from switching the dial to another station.
To cram as much in as quickly as possible, segments are short and sweet, or short and sharp.
This day’s guests – Wainfleet mum Becky Cooke, newspaper reviewer Sarah Dewberry of Tattershall Castle, Spalding flower parade organiser Kathleen Cobb, Dr Tony Hill, talking on high obesity levels, and Barry Buxton, receiving the BEM for services to his village – pop into and out of our lives regularly throughout the show, as if they were cast members from Mrs Brown’s Boys.
The same goes for newsreader Charlotte Gallagher, sports reporter Su Whitaker, roving reporter Leigh Milner (renamed Windy Milner as she was live from Moulton windmill) and a fresh-faced chap whose job appears to be bringing Dalton regular cuppas. Meanwhile, producer Louise Wheeler was regularly in his earpiece, keeping things ticking along smoothly.
And then comes 9am and it’s all over.
Then it’s, up to the studio to plan the next day’s show, before a spot of his own breakfast, that long drive home - and a much-needed kip.
“The key thing is to give the listener a flavour of Lincolnshire every morning.”
That was how Scott Dalton neatly summed up his breakfast show on BBC Radio Lincolnshire.
“We talk to the people who make the county tick, and also the people who make the big decisions that affect us.
“We act for the people, asking the questions they are sometimes unable to.”
That statement was summed up by the Jekyll and Hyde interview styles The Standard witnessed Dalton deliver on his show.
He was bubbly and full of praise when chatting to Wainfleet mum Becky Cooke, who was advocating her children’s fit and healthy after school club.
But he took no prisoners when discussing child obesity with studio guest Dr Tony Hill, who was certainly being held to account.
The two styles may be as different as bacon and eggs, but between 6-9am, they sit together nicely on the plate.
“We want to provide an upbeat start to the day,” Dalton added. “The plan is to give a reflection of Lincolnshire and why it’s such a good county to live in.”