The Broadcasting House presenter entertains two million listeners every Sunday with an upbeat take on the news. A former Wall Street reporter (he once played Xbox against Bill Gates), Paddy now lectures wealthy Americans enjoying cultural tours of Britain. He shares at least eight reasons to be optimistic.
Paddy O’Connell is a familiar face to BBC World viewers, but he is far better known to British audiences as presenter of Radio 4’s Sunday morning show, Broadcasting House.
BH has an altogether lighter approach than the weekday Today programme. Thanks to Paddy’s characteristic humour and marvellous turn of phrase, it attracts two million listeners to a diet of stories behind the headlines - like that of the British company exporting tandoori ovens to India.
In an earlier life Paddy was a Wall Street hack and BBC North America Correspondent. He has interviewed the big cheeses on Capitol Hill, played Xbox with Bill Gates and narrowly missed becoming a grim statistic of 9/11 only by arriving late for a meeting that day at the World Trade Center. Instead he found himself anchoring BBC coverage.
Aside from broadcast duties, which occasionally include PM and The One Show, Paddy often gives lectures to wealthy Americans enjoying cultural tours of Britain. He has also been known to perform a one-man show charting the history of Eurovision, My Semi Heaven.
Whether he’s entertaining guests after dinner or chairing conference sessions, Paddy is always inclined to look for a positive slant. Trumpeting the nation’s resourcefulness (while pointing out that 79% of us claim we’re proud to be British), he is happy to offer eight good reasons why we really should remain optimistic.
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Paddy exudes wonderful optimism at a time of spreading cynicism. He’s also a natural storyteller. What I like most is the cheeky glint in his eye - whether he’s talking about the joys of Eurovision or what’s it like to know that half your audience is only listening because they’re waiting for The Archers. JLA Agent Oliver Shermer
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