Letter: Brian Matthew was a consummate live broadcaster

Mike Broadbent
Brian Matthew in the mid-1960s. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images

Brian Matthew was a consummate live broadcaster. I knew him briefly in his Saturday Club days, when I was a journalist in the radio newsroom, writing the hourly news summaries that Brian read out during his programme.

For me, that meant a long trek from the newsroom on the third floor of Egton House across the road, to the sixth floor of Broadcasting House. On Saturday 7 May 1960, a colleague had already left to deliver the 10.30am summary, when the teleprinters went berserk with the news that the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had announced that not only had they shot down the American U2 spy plane but they had also captured the pilot, Gary Powers.

I grabbed the Reuters copy, ran down four flights, through a tunnel into Broadcasting House and up seven flights (no lifts were allowed) before bursting breathlessly into the studio just as Brian was about to start the news. I plonked the copy in front of him, whispered “read this” and, as he did so, leaned over his shoulder, editing the rest of the prepared script.

Brian read it faultlessly and went seamlessly into the next record.