The BBC’s Nick Robinson – and the perils of working from home

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 5th November 2012

BBC political editor Nick Robinson is a brilliant reporter. He always looks cool, calm and unflustered – even when he’s got scary deadlines to meet and major political stories to cover. He’s also got that rare journalistic knack of making the most complicated issues clear and intelligible. He’s particularly good on Radio Four’s Today programme, where he often pops up to detangle the political complexities of the day.

Yesterday Robinson was featured on The Sunday Times Magazine’s long-running A Life in the Daypage. It was fascinating stuff (he said most politicians are “decent people doing an honourable job,” declared he’ll never do Strictly Come Dancing and revealed that when he’s working he lives on crisps and chocolate). There was also one recollection that will strike a chord with all parents who work from home.

Although Robinson is based at London’s Millbank, he explained that he sometimes does interviews from his basement office at home.

“Once, when the kids were small and my wife was away, I had an important radio interview to do – about the Northern Ireland peace process – and I told the kids they needed to be quiet,” he said.

“But the minute the interview began they started shouting that a door handle had fallen off and they were locked in a room.”

So what did he do?

“Like any man faced with a choice between family and career, I ploughed on with the interview…”

And I’m sure the listeners had no idea about the drama going on around him. What a pro.

6 comments so far

  • That made me laugh! That is something kids would do, find a way to get themselves into a situation requiring your help at the precise moment you need them not to. I don’t have kids, but I have many nieces and nephews, so I can relate. :)
    Visiting from NaBloPoMo.

  • This rang so many bells… As a translator who worked from home while my three children were under 10, I can remember hearing all hell breaking loose at the other end of the hallway. As the calamitous cacophony approached my office door, I stood with my right foot wedged firmly against the base of the door and my hand grasping the handle in a closed position, trying to keep my voice calm and collected whilst all the time wondering if anyone had killed anyone else. Oh happy days!

  • Me too, Square Sparrow. I think everyone who has ever worked from home will identify with Nick Robinson’s story. I have definitely done the foot wedged against the door trick too!

  • So funny and true! I have been known to take my phone and lock myself in the toilet or run to the bottom of the garden to escape special sound effects. As for teleconferences… well, thank goodness for the Mute button, is all I can say! Children do seem to have an uncanny ability to know just when it is an important call and you cannot afford to be embarassed.

  • I can totally relate to this. We have five children and it’s impossible to find a quiet place to work at home. I hate to admit it but I take my phone into the bathroom – it’s the only door with a proper lock and the only place to find five minutes of golden silence!

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