Suchet gives Classic guest talk to students

Share Button
Veteran broadcaster John Suchet presented Classic FM from LJMU Redmonds before giving a guest talk to students. Pics © John Suchet / Twitter and Astra Armitt / JMU Journalism

John Suchet presented Classic FM from LJMU Redmonds before giving a guest talk to students. Pics © John Suchet / Twitter and Astra Armitt / JMU Journalism

Veteran broadcaster John Suchet took time out from presenting live on Classic FM radio at LJMU Redmonds to answer questions from students and talk about his extensive career.

The former ITN News anchor was in the city as Classic FM helped to commemorate the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s 175th anniversary celebrations, and Mr Suchet was an engaging guest speaker as he shared his broadcasting memories.

The 70-year-old began his career as a news agency journalist for Reuters, where he applied for a graduate traineeship.

He admitted, jokingly, that he ‘exaggerated’ on the application after he was warned he didn’t stand a chance. He said: “If you really want it, as much as life itself, you’ll do anything to get it.”

His next venture led him to the BBC and he revealed: “I was with them for an inglorious year-and-a-half where I messed up big time. I got the dressing down of my life and I knew that my dream of being a television journalist was in tatters so I left them to work at ITN.”

However, it was at the independent network that John’s career really flourished, and he stayed with them for the next 32 years. A decade was spent as a general news reporter before he became an award-winning newscaster. “I was always asked to specialise but I thought no, general reporter, it is what I always wanted to be,” he told students.

Suchet left ITN in 2004 and had planned to retire at that point but two broadcasting jobs later he now works on Classic FM, for whom he returned to LJMU’s radio booths this week during his latest hosting stint in Liverpool.

Talking about the transition, he said: “We used to get sniffy about radio when we were in television… let me tell you something, don’t get sniffy about radio. Television and radio, chalk and cheese. As a broadcaster, you’ve got an array of weaponry but radio just your voice.”

Classic FM was broadcasting from Liverpool as part of the Philharmonic Orchestra's 175th anniversary celebrations. Pic by Josh Handscomb © JMU Journalism

Classic FM was broadcasting from Liverpool as part of the Philharmonic Orchestra’s 175th anniversary celebrations. Pic by Josh Handscomb © JMU Journalism

Mr Suchet received a Royal Television Society lifetime achievement award in 2008, and was recognised for his live coverage of the death of Princess Diana, along with his undercover reporting in Afghanistan. “I’m still not sure why they gave it to me,” he said.

The career of his actor brother, David Suchet – or Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot as he is better known – is a source of pride but John said: “We often compare each other’s [careers] but awards don’t matter.”

Having mastered the mainstream broadcasting platforms, John has enjoyed turning his hand to tweeting. He said: “I’m only now beginning to realise what a powerful medium it is. That’s how people make the news.”

He left the room with a thought-provoking statement about the future of journalism, telling students and staff: “I think the technological advances in news changed the world. Goodness knows what my grandchildren will be able to do.”

About Astra Newton, JMU Journalism