Radio 2 broadcasts from a family's kitchen: Couple donates pounds 7,500 to Children in Need to host popular morning show

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The Independent Online
MIKE GATT and his wife, Carol, were stuck in traffic on the M25 when Terry Wogan, broadcasting on Radio 2, announced an auction. The Gatts, who are property developers, ended up parting with pounds 7,500 to have the disc jockey Ken Bruce broadcast from their kitchen in the Hunting Lodge, Wadhurst Park, east Sussex. The bidding was by mobile phone, and proceeds will go to the BBC's Children In Need appeal.

Included in the deal was a cameo role in BBC1's Good Morning, which carried a live item from the event. 'You see,' Ken Bruce told his 2-3 million listeners, 'they have television during the day now. But don't make a habit of watching it, that would be a terrible decline.'

Mr Bruce, brought in nearly 10 years ago when Terry Wogan defected to television, has made himself liked as only radio presenters can be. Radio 2 presenters are not snobbish, except about television, and about people who never bother to listen to the station, but have a strong idea that the whole thing is, as Mr Bruce put it, 'wall-to-wall Mantovani'.

Yesterday, Mr Bruce's morning slot had no massed strings, but a Stones track, something from Alison Moyet, Otis Redding, Peggy Lee and Manfred Mann.

Radio 2 has a sociological profile which much more matches that of the nation as a whole than any other station. But, less tangibly, one also feels that, while Radios 3 and 4 have a lot of people with degrees but no money, Radio 2 does things the other way round.

The Gatts, who cheerfully dispensed Buck's Fizz to all-comers yesterday, pretty well demonstrate this general proposition: known to half the country by now, they were the children of printers in London. Mr Gatt was not fazed as he cooked breakfast before the millions. 'Of course, I do this every morning,' he said as he chopped mushrooms - and his family fell about laughing. The 'new man' is not to be found at the Hunting Lodge, although Mike did buy Carol a life-size copy of Michaelangelo's David for her birthday last week.

A style and class point for Mr Wogan: during his show, which precedes Mr Bruce's, he has made much play about how it is chic to have a blue Aga cooker. Not style victims by any means, but pleased to have the best, the Gatts do of course have one. It did Mr Bruce's bacon to a turn.

(Photograph omitted)