Radio Season – Gaby Roslin

Born into the world of broadcasting courtesy of her father Clive, radio and television personality Gaby Roslin was always destined to make waves in entertainment. As a radio broadcaster, Clive Roslin was part of the creative force behind the creation of BBC Radio 5 in 1990 following a successful career as a radio and television presenter. As a child Gaby can recall being taken on a tour of TV Centre by her father which promptly laid the foundations for her passion for broadcasting. Watching Blue Peter being filmed was a significant rite of passage for Gaby and from then on, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. Yet it was her father’s roots in radio which would come to the forefront later in Gaby’s glittering career in broadcasting.

Press play, below, to listen to the full interview


Beginning her career as a children’s presenter on Sky’s Saturday morning show Hippo, once Gaby experienced the thrill of live TV, she wanted more. Inspired by the free flowing style of Swap Shop, she thrived upon the excitement which live television offered and always attempted to transfer the carefree, improvisational feel onto the viewer. As soon as the show went live, Gaby realised that she had found her unique calling and found that she could endlessly broadcast for as long as producers required. It was here that she realised she had the best job in the world and one which only could be made better if it had been five days per week. In the era when breakfast television was still considered revolutionary for the time, it was inconceivable that a live show of this kind could ever exist however much Gaby wished it could happen. This was the start of a love for broadcasting which has lasted for over thirty years.


Just a year later in 1989. Gaby joined the second series of ITV’s Motormouth; the direct commercial competitor to the BBC’s Going Live. Three hours of non-scripted, live children’s television was the perfect training ground for the young broadcaster who was now fulfilling her dream and while other television presenters became nervous when confronted by the extreme pressure of the responsibility of a presenter, Gaby flourished. To her, it doesn’t matter whether she is presenting radio or television because the role of broadcaster remains the same. This proved vital grounding to what would become the most prominent era in her career. Following the same age oriented vibe as the BBC’s original Saturday morning children’s offering Swap Shop, Motormouth aimed to capture the zeitgeist of 1980’s youth culture and became a showcase for the latest fashions in pop music.


Despite the success of Motormouth, Gaby still longed for the broadcasting freedom which she knew she could perfect. As the eighties gave way to the nineties, television and more importantly popular culture was becoming more experimental thanks in part to the rise of Channel Four. In 1992 following her popularity on Motormouth, Gaby was offered the job of her dreams when the aforementioned network devised a brand new entertainment breakfast show which ultimately changed the face of broadcasting forever. The Big Breakfast was a live entertainment extravaganza that ran for two hours each weekday morning and was crammed full of celebrities, sketches and interactive segments with the general public. For two years Gaby shared the screen with TV husband Chris Evans as they brought anarchy to weekday mornings which perfectly gauged the zeitgeist of the period.


Chris Evans was new to television but had enjoyed a ten year career on radio prior to the Channel Four show so perfectly complimented Gaby’s relaxed style of broadcasting. Therefore their chemistry was built on a shared love for live broadcasting and they very quickly developed a perfect on screen rapport which was an influential factor in the popularity of The Big Breakfast. Thirty years later, the show is still fondly remembered and remains a visual time capsule for nineties popular culture. Despite Chris merely remaining on the show for just two and a half years while Gaby hosted the show for three and a half, they are still heavily associated with the programme which is testament to the TV revolution which they created. Gaby had found her dream job but while television was her passion, the art of radio had yet to be on her radar.


Gaby was now a star and in 1996 Channel Four gave her her own self titled evening chat show. During the nineties, television entertainment was fortunate enough to gain significant financial backing which was to have a formidable impact on the calibre of guests which the show could draw. A splattering of Hollywood legends alongside homegrown TV stars was what the show thrived upon and was a gentle showcase of international talent. Over a quarter of a century on, Gaby remains extremely proud of the show and insists that the key to a successful interview is the art of listening. As a broadcaster, listening can never be overlooked as the most important part of any on air interaction.


Her TV career continued to flourish, most notably in 1999 when she was chosen to front the BBC’s coverage of millennium night. As the main anchor for the twenty eight hour entertainment extravaganza. Gaby was joined by a plethora of co-hosts throughout the broadcast including Michael Parkinson, Michael Buerk, David Attenborough, Michael Palin  and Jamie Theakston as they presided over international events in celebration of this historic moment. As a passionate broadcaster, Gaby was in her element and while other presenters would have been somewhat daunted by this prospect, she relished it. Live television was her bread and butter and something which she excelled in, becoming one of the leading television presenters of the nineties and boasted at being the first non performer to secure their own BBC Saturday night television extravaganza. Yet as the new millennium dawned, Gaby spread her wings to add another medium to her broadcasting repertoire.


As soon as she took to the airwaves on BBC Radio London in 2010, Gaby realised that she had found her second home. Her intimate style as a television presenter made her perfect for the personal touch of radio and she felt right at home presenting the breakfast show alongside her former Big Breakfast co-host Paul Ross. She quickly learned that the key to radio was naturalism and the ability to be yourself on air. This is something which Gaby thrived upon with live TV but was now free of the disciplines that television brought. Her Sunday afternoon show was a labour of love and allowed her the freedom to develop a close connection with her audience. This was the show which really cemented her love for the medium and enabled her to further explore and develop the unique rapport with her audience. Live broadcasting was in her blood and it was now radio that ignited this passion.


Despite her great propensity for on air fun, Gaby had never secured her own comedy vehicle. She wasn’t a comedian but with an ever-present twinkle in her eye, she has always held her own alongside the greatest comedic minds in Britain. This was put to the ultimate test in 2018 when she secured her own radio comedy panel show. Gaby’s Talking Pictures pits two teams of celebrities against each other as they attempt to solve film related trivia in a series of scenes acted out by some of Britain’s leading impressionists. Recorded in front of a live audience, the show fulfils all the elements of family entertainment and you don’t have to be a film buff to enjoy it because although you might not get the film references, you’ll know the impressions behind them. This aspect remains a contributor to its success as almost anyone is able to join in and is the main reason for its current consideration to make its way to television. However, presently television’s loss is most definitely radio’s gain.


Not content with having her very own award winning radio panel show, Gaby has also returned to prime time radio in April 2021 when she covered Kate Lawler’s maternity leave and was somewhat reunited with her TV husband Chris Evans. There feels like there’s a certain amount of synergy about this position as together her and Chris filled the two main shows on the station and despite their separate roles, still managed to have some on air interaction. Although it’s almost twenty seven years since they worked together, Chris and Gaby still have the magical chemistry which resonates with both of their audiences. This unique rapport would only be possible to emulate on radio for the simple reason of time. Radio can be whatever it needs to be and Gaby relishes this concept.


Reflecting upon her own radio career, Gaby has worked with some of the giants of the medium. Sir Terry Wogan and Chris Evans have each left an indelible mark on her presenting style. Yet arguably both her passion for broadcasting and a delicate care for her audience more than equally matches the enormous talent of the aforementioned masters. To see her in full command of a radio show is something to marvel at and remains one of the many reasons for her huge respect within the industry which she loves. It was a great pleasure to welcome the lovely Gaby Roslin back to Beyond The Title and with such a fascinating relationship with the art of radio, is a fantastic addition to a great season.