John Kettley: The Friendly Chap in the Corner

RETURNING to the University after 25 years, weatherman John Kettley spoke on Thursday about his four years on campus and embarking on a career in weather.

Kettley admitted that he was a weatherman at the best possible time, as part of the ‘chosen’ four-man team: Fish, McCaskill, Giles and Kettley. He spoke about the rise of big personalities, the great storm of 1987 and what eventually made him leave our screens in 2000.

Talking about the great storm of 1987 which is covered by an entire chapter of his new book, Kettley admitted to being in the same position as Michael Fish and narrowly avoiding the ridicule of one of BBC weathers most embarrassing moments because it was Fish’s name on the roster. He expressed his frustration at how the Fish forecast is constantly the but of jokes, saying how earlier in the week he had said: “some very windy weather coming up at the end of the week” however this tape is never shown.

He criticised coverage of the storm and presenters using lines like “breezy up the channel”, when the forecast given by the met office was “diabolical” recalling how he had to appear on breakfast television the following day and being restricted to a small children’s television studio because of power outages caused by the storm.

Kettley considered the best training he ever received to boil down to one line: “When the red light goes on start talking when the red light goes off stop talking”. He went on to describe his style of weather reporting as “over the garden fence” and how important it is to not patronise your audience, no ones invited you into their house and you just have to be: “the friendly chap in the corner.”

The conversation turned to discuss bullying within BBC weather than was highlighted with spates of suing in the late 90’s. He spoke about the pressure he experienced, saying: “I suppose in a way I was being bullied as well but there’s no way in the world that I would’ve complained to anybody about that but by the same token the fun had gone out of my job by 1999”

Kettley ended by speaking about his unclear views on climate change: “I’m 80% with this idea of global warming and 20% of me says hang on here lets just slow down here listen to the skeptics

“Climate change always has occurred, up and down up and down nothing changed there but this global warming tag that we now have is a juggernaut that has got slightly out of hand”


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