My Mentor: Julia Bradbury On Nicky Campbell

'It's fair to say that Nicky provokes a strong reaction in most people'
Click to follow

Taking on Watchdog, when I first met Nicky, was quite a decisive change for me. I had a background in entertainment and, like Nicky had, I was moving into more serious, consumer TV. Doug Carnegie, the editor of Watchdog, had decided to hire me, almost certainly based on how he thought I would get on with Nicky. You need to have on-screen chemistry as well as off, so the three of us had a cup of tea and a chat, and we got on well.

Obviously I'd known about him before from his Radio Five Live show and other things, and I think it's fair to say that Nicky provokes a strong reaction in most people. But from the beginning, he was really charming and very open. He really helped me, and still does help me, make a transition. He showed me that, whatever you do, if you do it with a level of conviction then the viewers will accept it.

As an adviser, he is very generous. He is the master of the three-minute interview. I'd been used to entertainment press junkets, where you have, oh, a whole 12 or 15 minutes to interview someone. In a live interview you have to get to the nub of the issue very quickly. And we're discussing some serious issues - you need to get there and do it fast and furious. He's the god of that. I'm not sure anyone can master his unique style, but I have learnt from the way he does it.

That chemistry we have is genuine. It's because we're confident with each other, and we know that if anything goes wrong we can deal with it. What you see on screen is us being happy with each other.

I don't think that anyone should try to emulate or copy someone else but I do admire his talent. He's dedicated and driven, and I've never known anyone with his attention to detail. I admire his drive and diligence. We do cover some serious issues, but after all, we are making television, and it is good to have a laugh.

Julia Bradbury is to star in BBC1's duet singing show Just the Two of Us, starting tomorrow. The next series of Watchdog returns 9 January