Jeremy Vine gets steamy

By PA/TPN, in Books · 20-11-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The TV and radio presenter talks about the reaction to the steamy sex scene in his debut novel, and why he doesn’t feel tabloid TV is beneath him.

What’s this? Jeremy Vine, genial BBC Radio 2 presenter, Channel 5 host, dad dancer extraordinaire and all-round good egg, writing a steamy sex scene in his debut novel?

It’s not quite Fifty Shades Of Grey, but page 209 of The Diver And The Lover is likely to raise eyebrows among his broadcasting peers, as well as loyal listeners and viewers who have followed him from his hard news Panorama days.

“I’m waiting to hear back from Fiona Bruce about page 209,” the 55-year-old broadcaster says with a chuckle, referring to the scene in which the main female character seduces a waiter in his bedroom, all in earshot of a sleeping male colleague.

“Sara Cox said, ‘Ooh er!’, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said, ‘Blimey Jeremy, I didn’t expect that of you!’ She was actually blushing. I’m too scared to get back to Fiona Bruce. I’m just worried someone’s going to put it on the staff intranet!

“But I wanted to have one sex scene which is explosive and comes out of nowhere,” he continues. “I took off the belt and the braces for that one. I can’t remember if I had half a lager before, but you have to light scented candles and maybe have a dry sherry.”

Aside from THAT scene, the novel is based in part on real events surrounding one of Salvador Dali’s most famous paintings, Christ of Saint John of the Cross, painted in 1951 in Catalonia. Today, the painting still hangs in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Vine’s place of escape while filming more than 60 editions of Eggheads over a two-week period.

The story, set in 1951, sees sisters Ginny and Meredith travel to Spain where they discover Dali is staying nearby. Meredith, fascinated by modern art, longs to meet the famous surrealist.

It explores a variety of issues including mental health, a subject not unfamiliar to Vine, who has previously admitted he suffered stress related burnout in his younger years. While today he is reluctant to throw the spotlight on his own mental health, he wrote about his personal turmoil three years ago in his book, What I Learnt, What My Listeners Say And Why We Should Take Notice, an autobiographical montage of his life and career.

Today, he is in a different place. “I feel great, I love my life, I’m in great shape,” he says. “We are all just conscious that you need a cushioning, to take a bit of time for yourself and not live a five-screen lifestyle and try to pause when you are in a happy moment. Don’t be constantly thinking about something else.”

He tries to balance his huge work schedule with family life with wife, journalist Rachel Schofield – who recently co-presented his TV show for a week – and daughters, Martha, 16, and Anna, 13.

“I try to stay off social media at weekends. It’s like walking into a pub when you hear every conversation and you suddenly start arguing. One of the small things about Covid is that I’ve seen a bit more of my daughters than I would have done if we weren’t locked down,” says Vine.

“I love to spend time with them. They have such a wicked sense of humour and I am the butt of every joke at home. It doesn’t matter how famous you think you are, when you walk through your front door, you’re just an idiot.”

The Diver And The Lover by Jeremy Vine is published by Coronet.

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