My Mentor: Richard Bacon On Johnny Vaughan

'It was quite daunting to work with him initially because he's so fast'
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The Independent Online

The first time I met Johnny was on Big Breakfast when I appeared on the show to be interviewed about what had happened at Blue Peter [Bacon was sacked after admitting taking cocaine]. The next day, I was doing my first outside broadcast, knocking on people's doors and surprising them on live television. It was a great job, but Big Breakfast did have a reputation for chewing people up and spitting them out quickly. I got lucky because Johnny took me under his wing and I ended up working there for three years.

When he was doingBig Breakfast, it was like he was the king of the world. It was a comedy masterclass every morning - not only could he present, he could do sketches and countless accents, and he had the ability to do an intelligent and serious interview. It was quite daunting to work with him initially, because he's so fast. I was only 22 or 23 and my fear was, "How do I keep up with this guy?"

He was generous to me, which built my confidence. We're quite different as presenters, but we've got similar senses of humour. He thought that I suited the show at that point and he encouraged me to indulge in what I found funny, rather than working hard to try to work out what the audience or the show wanted. He was just saying, "If you find it funny, then that is infectious and other people will find it funny".

What we really enjoyed was shining a spotlight on the trivial, and he encouraged me to indulge in irony, which Big Breakfast was very good at. I worked with him on his chat show, Johnny Vaughan Tonight, in a similar capacity and we're working together now, but it's different because Capital Radio is that bit more mainstream. To some extent, he's now given me the opposite advice - that it's important, particularly when you're the main host, to be a little more genuine and straight-talking with people."

Richard Bacon presents The Go Home Show, 95.8 Capital FM, weekdays 4-7pm

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