Adrian is a Welsh journalist. He joined the BBC in 1988, working in local radio as a reporter and producer. He later moved to national radio, becoming a newsreader on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 and an occasional presenter of the latter station’s overnight programmes in the final years of newsreaders performing that role. He was an announcer at BBC Wales for a short period in the first half of 1991, before moving to network presentation in London. He remained there until 1993 when he moved to Carlton for six months, then Anglia for a six-month stint, before returning to network BBC One and BBC Two (1994 – 1995). His wife was a network director in presentation. Adrian left to join BBC World in spring 1995 and for a while freelanced as an announcer at LWT in 1995 and 1996; around the same time he was also the pre-recorded voice of the Channel 4 schools strand and made a short appearance as a news anchor in the movie V for Vendetta.
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Adrian in August 2017 and asked him about his broadcasting career: “I started at BBC Wales as a self-op out-of-vision continuity announcer (we also directed/vision mixed the Wales Today news opt-outs during daytime programming) in January 1991. BBC network presentation (Richard Straker) asked me to join them in London, but could only offer rolling six-month freelance contracts. I took the plunge and left my staff position in Cardiff as by then I was already freelancing at Radio 1 (I started doing that while still working at BBC East in Norwich – and I was also doing a lot of voiceovers in Soho through an agent) and Wales felt a little too far away from everything.
“Network Presentation ‘let me go’ for a while in 1993, citing cost budget cuts, which is when, as you already know, I started with Carlton and then Anglia. I also spent a brief time working as a freelance out-of-vision continuity announcer at SSVC (the TV channel of BFBS) at Gerrards Cross during that period. As I was working as a freelance at the BBC daily business programmes unit I was able to accept shifts at Newsroom South East at Elstree (1996 – 1997) and also fronted some Midlands Today breakfast/lunchtime bulletins at Pebble Mill around the same time – the Radio 2 overnight music shows used to come from there so as I was in town anyway and at a loose end. I used to get pretty bored staying in a hotel! I also used to voice the letters on Points of View pretty regularly in the Anne Robinson era.
“My first shift on news at BBC World was a tryout – a nice, quiet Saturday night shift. It was 4th November 1995 – the night that Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli PM was assassinated and was a very busy shift. I must have done something right, because they kept asking me back. Around this time I was also freelancing at Sky News, presenting on the overnight shift. Eventually the BBC said that I had to choose between Sky or them. I pushed the BBC into giving me a full-time contract, which they did some time in 1997 – can’t remember the exact date. I fronted business news at News 24 more or less from the beginning of the channel in November 1997, but that was when I was working on a freelance basis in the business unit. My contract of employment required me to do around 50 days on News 24, in addition to my work on BBC World. In reality it was more than 50. For a few years, I would often double shift on World and then News 24 or Radio 2 News over at BH – none of the departments would talk to each other about scheduling my time sensibly so it was a complete mess and I was run ragged!
“I left the BBC just before Christmas 2005 and began at CNN in January 2006 as a staff anchor/correspondent. I left CNN in August 2010 and started at Al Jazeera on 28th September 2010 as a staff ‘principal presenter’ based in Doha, where I remain to this day – despite the fact that you occasionally see me presenting from London. Fronting programmes at Al Jazeera is only a small part of what I do here – I’m involved in staff training, coaching, mentoring and production.
“As far as anecdotes are concerned – I was at TVC when the Real IRA bomb went off outside (4th March 2001). I’d just finished a bulletin on World and News 24 as the latter’s studio had been evacuated. There was an almighty bang and an instant smell of cordite. I remember we went on air again pretty quickly afterwards, this time on BBC One too, if I remember correctly, to break the news. Once you’ve heard an explosion you never forget it – some time later I was on air at World early on a Sunday morning and I heard a distant explosion. The crew thought I was hearing things, but then we began to get reports of what turned out to the Buncefield Oil Tank explosion near to Hemel Hempsted (11th December 2005). I heard it as far away as TVC in Shepherd’s Bush – in the newsroom/studio!
“I once got food poisoning while doing the Radio 2 overnight in Birmingham and spent the entire programme throwing up into a bin. Poor old Steve Madden had to come and take over from me an hour early.
“A couple of bits of trivia for you: Sasha Twining used to answer the phones on my BBC Eastern Counties radio show; and Martin Stanford, ex-Sky News anchor, gave me my first BBC gig at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in 1998.”
Video Clips on the Internet
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Adrian Finighan presents a live news programme a few hours after a bomb exploded outside the front entrance to BBC Television Centre in London.
PICTURED: Adrian Finighan. SUPPLIED BY: Online. COPYRIGHT: Adrian Finighan.