Nicky Campbell claimed Christmas not same since Brexit: ‘Dreading it’

Nicky Campbell gets emotional in final moments 5 Live Breakfast

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This year, the BBC veteran left his Radio 5 Live Breakfast slot to present a later show on the same channel every weekday morning. Campbell, 60, had spearheaded the Breakfast show since 2003, having joined the broadcaster in 1987. Not one to settle for a single role, he has also presented an array of other shows for the BBC.

Since 2007, he has been at the helm of ‘The Big Questions’, mediating agenda-setting faith and ethics discussion in Britain, as well as presenting ITV’s ‘Long Lost Family’ for ten years.

Today, he appears alongside Welsh athlete Colin Jackson, journalist Anne Diamond, and comedian Josie Long in ‘The Chase Celebrity Christmas Special’.

The four will team-up and answer general questions and take on all five of the ruthless Chasers: Anne Hegerty, Mark Labbett, Jenny Ryan, Paul Sinha and Shaun Wallace.

Campbell is in good stead having sat through some of the country’s most tumultuous events in the last two decades.

Perhaps one of the biggest events was the Brexit vote, in which his Radio 5 Live show saw no shortage of listeners calling in to discuss the historic referendum.

During a show in 2018, he revealed how he was “dreading” Christmas because of the Brexit vote — it having dominated and divided conversation at the dinner table.

Speaking with fellow presenter Rachel Burden, he said: “I am slightly dreading Christmas lunch.

“We have got my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and there are going to be two people at the table who are diametrically opposed on Brexit.

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“It comes up and every time it comes up I have to go, ‘No! No! We’re not having that’, because it inevitably gets pretty full on.

“I’m sure there are lots of families up and down the country like that.

“We need to set our differences to one side for Christmas and play football between the trenches.”

He found that he was not alone, with Radio 5 Live listeners sharing their struggles with the Remainers versus Brexiteers narrative.


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One caller said: “I’m with Nicky on this one, the worst thing about Christmas is definitely family.

“I’m telling everyone who comes to mine this Christmas that Brexit is off the menu of topics.

“Anyone who utters a word puts a pound in a jar.”

Another listener added: “When the booze flows people can get braver with their views.

“I think everyone should make a pact not to talk about Brexit at the Christmas table.

“We all deserve one day off it.”

Brexit became a solid topic of Campbell’s, something which he said he predicted before the vote took place.

Writing in the NewStatesman in 2016 — just days after the result — he explained: “Before polling day most of the fire and fury came from the Brexiteers.

“They were insurgents. They were storming the Bastille.”

He added: “Our station, more than any other, is in touch with our audience because listeners getting in touch with us is our lifeblood.

“We pride ourselves on reaching far beyond the confines of metropolitan England.

“The referendum’s result surprised no one here.”

The Chase Celebrity Christmas Special airs at 5pm on ITV One.

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