Saturday Live

I was thrilled to be a guest on BBC R4’s Saturday Live show this weekend. You can listen to it on BBC Sounds if you missed the live show. It gave me a great opportunity to mention the forthcoming 80th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong, as well as talking about Dad’s story and my book. Sadly, they didn’t give me time to talk about Dad’s role as Assistant Military Attaché in Chongqing and his efforts to support and liberate the PoWs he’d left behind in Hong Kong.

My friend Joanna nominated me as a guest for the show, unbeknown to me. She rang me when the producer got back to her and said they were interested. I remember saying WHAT??!! several times, as it came totally out of the blue. I wish I’d thought of it myself when the book was first launched but it seemed over ambitious at the time.

As you can imagine I was quite nervous about appearing on the show. The BBC sent me a headset to use and we did sound checks beforehand, so far, so good. Then at 3 minutes to 9am Zoom dropped me out of the meeting. I had to force quit Zoom, reload it and then rejoin the meeting in time to go on air at 09.02am. By this time my heart was pounding in my chest and my system was flooded with adrenaline and cortisol! They’d told me I would be first guest but I was very relieved that in the end they interviewed me just before the 10am news. Safe to say that’s the first time I have spoken to an audience of 2.4 million listeners.

Rev Richard Coles and Mary Monro, Saturday Live 28/8/21
Interview with Rev Richard Coles on BBC R4 Saturday Live

I had a photograph of Dad next to the computer screen to remind me that talking to people on the radio requires less courage than escaping across China during a war. He smiled at me encouragingly and I hope he’d think I did a good job.