Exclusive interview with TV & radio presenter Dave Berry
insideKENT’s Alex Perseval catches up with the Capital Radio DJ to find out more about his life on prime-time radio and ongoing support for Demelza Hospice.
You’ve been supporting Demelza for several years now and have recently been made vice president. How do you feel about being awarded this title?
[Laughs]. This is a funny story. The reason I’m laughing is that they sent me an email to make me this incredible offer, but I didn’t receive it. It was only when I went to do a Christmas carol reading for Demelza at the Naval College in Greenwich that there were all these whispers going around saying how good it was that I was made vice president, and I was like, “What are you talking about?” It was very odd but it topped off the afternoon and it certainly sounds swanky so I’m very pleased.
How did you find hosting your first Demelza music festival, Music on the Hill, last year?
It was great; I help out where ever and whenever I can. We’re currently working on Music on the Hill for this year, so I’m trying to sort out some bands for that. I’ve built up a great relationship with the kids and their families over the years, so it’s great to spend time with them. There is a real family vibe down there.
Last summer, you cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the new facilities at the Demelza Kent Hospice in Sittingbourne. Have you seen how these have since benefited the kids?
I had the honour of cutting the ribbon to mark the occasion, but it was a culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of very generous donations – £1.3million – that made these facilities possible. This meant we could afford the hydrotherapy pool for the kids − I presumed it would be a Jacuzzi but it’s more like an Olympic swimming pool. We were also able to put Jacuzzi baths in all of the kids’ rooms, which means they have all they need in one space and can therefore spend more time with their families.
More recently you were involved in the Women’s Aid ‘Real Man’ campaign. How important is it for other celebrities to show their support for charitable organisations?
It is very important. It’s fantastic when you hear about those swimming the channel and putting in so much hard work for the charities that they are raising money for. I love to help as much as I can so if I get asked to contact a certain band or artist to play at Music on the Hill, then of course it’s no problem for me to put that phone call in. As far as I see it, what I do is very little compared to what the rest of the team do for Demelza, but if they believe having me as a figurehead helps, I’m there. I have Demelza, Charlton Athletic Community Trust, and of course I do bits for Red Nose Day and Sports Relief. It’s great to give as much exposure to the smaller charities, as it is the larger.
You have been co-hosting the prime time slot on Capital Radio for a year now. Do the early mornings really get any easier, or is this just a well-rehearsed myth?
As a host it’s my responsibility to never complain about getting up early because most of the listeners get up at the same time as me or earlier. One of the great things about my job is unless I have any meetings or Demelza events, I finish work at 10am every day − and believe you me, that is one of the greatest single things that could happen to a man. I’m the guy whistling, getting on an empty tube with a newspaper under my arm, knowing I have a free day ahead of me.
With such a hectic schedule you must relish time out. How productive is your day after finishing at the radio show?
It changes each week but one of the things I really look for in my working life is variety, and I’m lucky to have that. Back in the summer I was in my normal routine of getting up at 4.45am and finishing at 10am, but then I would get taken by car to the ITV towers to pre-record inserts for Beat TV ─ a worldwide Olympics live chat show on ITV2. After I would get back in the car to go and rehearse the live show, then go back to my dressing room to do press chats over the phone, before going back to do the live show at 6.30pm. Finally I would get home, have dinner and a glass of wine before getting back up the next morning to do it all again. This year, since returning to work after Christmas, I’ve had nothing to do! I’ve been finishing at 10am but just going to the gym, being interactive on Twitter and beating Real Madrid on Fifa with Charlton Athletic.
What’s your favourite part of Kent?
By default it’s Hoo Marina Park in Chatham, which is where my Nan lived before moving back to Charlton to live near the family. It was just really sweet, peaceful and quiet. After I first started going out on a Saturday night I used to get in really late and drunk, and on Sunday mornings my parents would drive us down to Marina Park. I just used to lay on my Nan’s bed completely hungover listening to the conifer trees swaying in the wind; I had many great memories there.
Follow Dave on Twitter @daveberry_tweet, or listen to Dave on the Capital London Breakfast Show weekday mornings from 6am and Saturdays from 8am – www.capitalfm.com