Broadcaster Laura Kuenssberg Talks Boris Johnson, Internet Bullies, And Landing Her Biggest Gig To Date


Some of her fondest memories are of “trogging about” with her team. “It looks amazing when you’re on the prime minister’s plane, but more often than not you’re on the 6:06am train from Euston to New Street, then working in a car park and running out of cheese and coleslaw sandwiches. But that’s lots of the fun of it.” She recalls the crew scrambling to avert disaster when she discovered a hole in her skirt moments before she had to stand up and ask a question at a televised press conference. “Somehow we managed to find a bit of black camera tape.” Was the skirt black? “Oh, this is a Vogue wardrobe question! Mercifully, yes, it was.”

She loved the camaraderie in the lobby too. “When I started there was one female political editor, which was me. When I finished there were seven of us. I’m really proud of that.” Is she in a “women of the Beeb” WhatsApp chat with the likes of Emily Maitlis (who recently jumped ship for LBC) and Europe editor Katya Adler? Kuenssberg smiles: “I’m not going to give away my WhatsApp secrets!” She will say that “a lot is made of all of the rivalries in the media. What people don’t see are the friendships. When I left, the other female political editors took me out for dinner. People don’t see that and that’s really important.”

She relies on her great friend Adler in particular, with whom she could frequently be heard dissolving into laughter on episodes of their award-winning Brexitcast podcast, to help her maintain a sense of perspective in the Westminster bubble. “Katya has this saying, ‘You can take the job deadly seriously, but you don’t have to take yourself seriously.’”

“We have a really good laugh at ourselves,” confirms Adler over the phone from Brussels. “We have the same rather naughty sense of humour and love of the absurd.” They are both, she says, “very hard workers and realise the privilege of the job that we do and the importance of the team. It’s not egocentric journalism – Laura doesn’t wander around going, ‘I’m so important.’ She goes, ‘I want to do a really good job.’”

Andrew Marr has been similarly supportive. “He was very kind,” says Kuenssberg. “We’re going to try and have lunch over the summer.” In the interim, she has been immersing herself in old episodes of the Sunday show from the 1990s, when the slot belonged to that other big beast of the BBC, David Frost. Big shoes and all that.

But Kuenssberg doesn’t scare easily. She is keen to respect the “amazing legacy” of the show, but intends to be “absolutely ruthless about doing the main job, which is getting answers for the audience from people who make decisions for all of us”. Plus, of course, she says, slipping her watch back onto her wrist and pocketing her phone, “making a must-watch bit of telly”.

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg airs on BBC One on 4 September



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