Sabet Choudhury’s reporting career has spanned newspaper, radio and television, leading to his latest position as presenter of BBC Inside Out West. We talk broadcasting, good food and Gloucestershire ahead of his new role.
So, take us back to the start of your career. How did you first get into your line of work?
My first taste of journalism was answering the phones at BBC Radio Gloucestershire. I loved that job – talking to so many different people every day. From there I got the bug to make radio programmes, and soon became a reporter at the station. It was a job that led me to work in several different radio stations around the country before getting a job at BBC Points West. Despite going off to work at Network news in London for a few years, my heart was always in the West country.
What are you most looking forward to about presenting BBC Inside Out West?
I’m really looking forward to bringing some great stories to our audience. We are lucky enough to live in an incredible region with people who have amazing stories to tell. I always end up learning something new with every story.
What can audiences expect from the new series?
The team has been working hard through the summer, and we’ve got some exciting and interesting films coming up. It all kicks off with a special half-hour about the impact of Brexit. We’ve spent some time in Weston Super Mare, which returned a result which almost exactly reflected the national picture. Also our team has been out in Jordan to meet the family who recently bought Bristol Rovers.
“As a place to broadcast, [Bristol] is always surprising. One day it can be tragedy and on another it can be complete happiness.”
What do you find to be the most challenging part of broadcasting?
Trying to keep the nerves in check. Despite so many years of doing this, I still get nervous when that red light comes on.
What’s the best bit of the job?
It sounds like a cliché, but I love talking to people. Broadcasting carries a big responsibility, and when people tell you face-to-face what they like and don’t like it’s an incredible insight. Obviously I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio over the years, and my new role on Inside Out West has given me the opportunity to get out and about around the West and meet some really interesting people.
“Everyone has a great story to tell, if you’re willing to listen”
What’s been your career highlight so far?
A couple of years ago I donated my kidney to my mother, who was dying. Inside Out West followed my journey, from the first test to the operation. After the programme aired, lots of people contacted me to say how much it had helped them to become potential organ donors. I was very proud to make a difference.
What’s been the most bizarre/surreal moment?
I’ll save that. Watch the first episode of the new series of Inside Out West on 5 September 7:30pm BBC One. You will see it for yourself.
What’s been your favourite story that you’ve covered recently?
As a cricket fan, I loved making the film for the centenary of WG Grace. He was an incredible man – not only a great cricketer, and an ambassador for the sport, but also a working GP in Bristol. We had a lot of fun making the film and interviewed some brilliant people, and I hope that one day Grace will get a statue in the city, which he probably deserves more than anyone.
Any tips for those looking to go into this line of work?
Never give up and remember, everyone has a great story to tell, if you’re willing to listen.
What do you love most about Bristol as a city? And as a place to broadcast?
The people in this city are amazing. Having grown up in Gloucestershire, I used to visit Bristol when I was younger and wished I lived here. My parents used to drive to Stapleton Road to shop for food and spices. A visit to Bristol always meant good food that night. I still drive my mother here to get her ingredients….she’s an awesome cook. As a place to broadcast, it’s always surprising. One day it can be tragedy and on another it can be complete happiness. This is a city that has it all.
What local eateries, galleries or venues are you loving right now?
While doing a story for Inside Out West recently, I visited Glen’s Kitchen in St Paul’s near the Malcolm X centre. Glen is known as the singing chef, and he really can sing. His food is equally as good.
Surprise us with something about yourself…
I juggle devil sticks. During my university years I busked in London, with my not so awesome skills.
Sabet will be presenting BBC Inside Out West from 5 September 2016.