Speech of the Month, April 2024 - Matt Chorley

If you're looking for some grown-up, witty, mid-morning company, then Matt Chorley is your man

Speech of the Month, April 2024 - Matt Chorley

I like being in the house by myself but I don’t like silence so, from the moment I wake till the moment I feel it’s decent to watch TV, the radio is always on. 

In my younger days, I’d happily listen to music radio between the hours of 10-4, but since turning 40, music in the morning feels too reckless and decadent. If I let myself sing along to Beyonce by 9.30, what’s stopping me from shaking up a cocktail while giving the window cleaner the glad eye by 11? Conversely, Radio 4 can become a pious bore. Ever had it on for Today, then tuned out only to tune back in because some culture warrior is banging on about elderly women in Banbury not having adequate access to paddle boarding and thought, ‘Why am I letting myself hear this?’ 

Happily, I’ve found the answer to my ‘What radio channel should I have on mid-morning?’ dilemma - and it’s Matt Chorley on Times Radio. I’ve easily been listening to him for three years now and my mid mornings are so much the better for it. If you don’t know him, take a look at the clip below to sense his style. 

Here’s why I recommend him as background company when you’re working from home:

He’s entertaining

One of the cons of working from home is the lack of company. Matt Chorley doesn’t just provide company; he provides giggles a-plenty. And what’s not to love about that as you’re ploughing through the to-do list? 

I never understand why current affairs and political programmes are so often delivered with a dry, even aggressive tone. This doesn’t seem very British. One quirk of Britishness, I always thought, was that humour can happen at any moment: during board meetings, doctors’ appointments, court trials, funerals etc. Yet a lot of BBC output - especially Today and Newsnight - is devoid of wit. When Lord Reith talked about the corporation informing, educating and entertaining, I'm sure he didn't mean that those things should largely happen separately.

Well, Chorley effortlessly blends informing, educating and entertaining four days a week, and it’s a joy to hear. 

He’s a friend

He has a brilliant knack of voicing what you’re thinking. Last year, at the Tory party conference, he vox-popped an impossibly dull, monosyllabic delegate. After the exchange, he paused, sighed and said, “Well that was a mistake.” It’s the fact that he’ll readily share his feelings that’s built the bond of friendship between host and listener. 

He’s also cordial with the politicians he has on his show. He welcomes them appropriately; he lets them answer questions; he encourages a funny anecdote but, having a low BS threshold, he’s not slow to rib them when required. This is a stark contrast to BBC interviewing where political presenters seem to feel obliged to interview all politicians like they’re Hitler’s eviller twin. The atmosphere is immediately hostile, the questions are framed to catch them out and then when the guest attempts to answer the trap question, the presenter can’t stop interrupting. I know they're holding power to account but it's irritating.  

He has the best quiz

Every day at 12.55 he plays ‘Can You Get to Number 10?’ Here’s a clip so you can get the feel of it.

Don’t you love the Thatcher, “No, No, No”? I’ve yet to hear anyone get to Number 10, but I suspect Blair will come on saying, “A new dawn has broken, has it not?” 

He’s normal

By that, I mean he’s not posh. And although it’s pretty chippy and probably discriminatory of me to say that that’s a plus point, I can’t help but celebrate anyone in the media who’s got on and hasn’t been privately educated. And when they happen to be great too, well, bring out the party poppers.  

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