Prescott to read shipping forecast
Published 07/03/2011 | 00:32
Lord Prescott, who for years kept a keen ear on the weather bulletins during his days at sea, is to read the Radio 4 shipping forecast.
The former Deputy Prime Minister is to present the "late ships" forecast later this month - the first time anyone other than a BBC announcer has done so.
His guest slot on the 00.48am broadcast on Saturday March 19 is in support of Red Nose Day, and sprang from a joke on Twitter.
The Labour stalwart will be given his chance after the Sailing By theme ends and he is expected to read out the weather and conditions of the waters around the British Isles.
It may not all be plain sailing. While serving in the Government, he often struggled with his pronunciation.
At one stage civil servants were advised to make sentences "punchy and easily spoken aloud" when drafting answers for him in the Commons. He memorably stumbled over the name Milosevic and he once talked about the "the sceptre of unemployment".
Lord Prescott will read the main part of the bulletin for the 31 sea areas from "Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire" to "Fair Isle, Faeroes, South East Iceland". The inshore waters and coastal stations will then be tackled by a Radio 4 announcer.
To make his delivery easier, the bulletin will be pre-recorded shortly before transmission but will follow the strict formula with words carefully enunciated with a paced delivery for listeners to understand even in rough seas.
Lord Prescott was invited to do the bulletin after continuity announcer Alice Arnold, one of several BBC presenters who voice the Shipping Forecast, saw him joke about it on Twitter.
She said: "I saw a tweet from John saying that he was doing an interview for Radio 4's The World Tonight show and he might as well stay on to do the Shipping Forecast. As I was reading it that night I tweeted he was welcome to do it so I could go home early. He then started tweeting the Shipping Forecast to me."