Saturday Magazine – July 20, 2019

(Jacob Rumans) #1

Last Night. The complexity of the
show was mind-boggling, but so
much fun to host.’
The 2019 Proms season
began last night with a
spectacular First Night, the
highlight of which was a new
composition – Zosha Di Castri’s
Long Is The Journey, Short Is
The Memory – marking 50 years
since Apollo 11’s mission to the
moon. (It’s the first of a whole
host of concerts to commemorate the
anniversary.) And Katie was delighted to see
a female conductor presiding over the event.
‘The rather wonderful Karina Canellakis is
a star in the making,’ she says. ‘It’s lovely to
see a lot of very good women conductors
having their moment. Those barriers are
finally coming down.’
Katie is obviously a pro when it comes to
live TV, but she still feels nervous from time
to time, particularly when hosting something
like Last Night of the Proms.
‘I love the buzz of live telly, with your
adrenaline kicking in and everyone on their
best form. If something goes wrong, you just

season before I have a party.
I thought about getting everybody out
before it began, but then we would all
have had crashing hangovers and
that wouldn’t be a good start!’
Katie has so many wonderful
memories from presenting the
classical festival, but her standout
moment is still, without a doubt,
when she took to the stage herself in
2016 to perform in the Strictly Come
Dancing Prom – the year after she
finished fourth on the BBC series.
‘That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,’ she
smiles. ‘We had the BBC Concert Orchestra
and pro dancers. I was prancing around
with Aljaž [Škorjanec], there was a glitter
drop at the end and it was all as camp as
Christmas, just fabulous.’
The pomp and ceremony of The Last
Night of the Proms has been a highlight
every year, too, and she remembers her
first one like it was
yesterday. ‘In my first
season, it just seemed
to stand out in
hyper-real focus.
The atmosphere was
extraordinary, and until
then I’d never been to



On Strictly with Anton
in 2015

The Albert Hall hosts a fabulous Proms
season, with another jubilant Last Night


t this time of year, most of us are
looking forward to taking a break
on a well-deserved summer
holiday. But for TV and radio
presenter Katie Derham, July marks the
beginning of her busiest period, as she
heads to the Royal Albert Hall to host the
BBC Proms.
And such is Katie’s dedication that, when
she’s not on duty, she’s shuttling back and
forth to the Hall to watch as many classical
concerts as she can cram into her schedule.
‘I probably see more than 20 Proms
during a season,’ she says. ‘But bear in
mind that there are about 90 of them, so
I always feel like I miss more than I see. I’m
to-ing and fro-ing to the Albert Hall from now
until September, either for work or pleasure,
but I love it. Listening to music isn’t a job
really. It’s not like I think, “God, another
season, what a grind!”’
Still, it’s quite a commute for Katie,
who lives in rural Sussex with her
husband John Vincent and their
two daughters, Natasha, 19, and
Eleanor, 14. But she’s been doing
it for so long now that her family
are used to her manic summers.
This year, Katie has another task
on her hands, too. She’s planning
a little celebration to mark a special
milestone – her 10th year hosting
the annual musical extravaganza.
But she doubts she’ll be able to
find time until the Proms have
come to an end.
‘Once it gets going, it’s such a
fast-moving train – it’s all pretty
full-on. So I think maybe I should
wait until I get to the end of the

‘Listening to music

isn’t a job’

A decade on, Katie Derham, 49, tells us why

hosting the BBC Proms is still a dream come true

Words by: Kirsty Nutkins Pictures: Mirrorpix; BBC; Getty Images

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