CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today CLICK HERE

BBC presenter and director David Whiteley’s Essex

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 January 2016

David Whiteley

David Whiteley


In his new monthly column for Essex Life, BBC presenter and director David Whiteley shares his insightful view on stories from across the county of Essex

Sorry… I beg your pardon. You want me to be a what? A columnist? Did I hear you right?

But apparently I did. The editor of this fine institution of a magazine asked just that. Asked me to be a columnist for Essex Life.

So how did that happen? Well, I’m an Essex boy for starters, and proud of it too.

It seems like only yesterday I walked into the offices of Essex Radio in Southend on Sea, fresh faced and wearing a terrible tie, to embark on, what I didn’t know then, would be the start of my career in broadcasting.

I’ll never forget that phone call. ‘Hello, David. We’d like to offer you a week’s work experience in the newsroom.’ Of course to the very official sounding lady on the phone, I appeared highly delighted, but in reality I was crest fallen. The newsroom? How dull, I thought. I wanted to be a DJ! Who didn’t? This was 1995.

So I went along for my allocated ‘week’ of work experience. Day one. I interviewed a well known local band at the time, The Hamsters. A solid, guitar-based rock band was covering (very well) the hits of Jimi Hendrix. And, knock me down with a plectrum, it goes on air that night. Yes, on air! OK, I only asked three questions, three basic, scripted questions. But I asked them and they are ON AIR!

After working for a year, full-time for free at Essex Radio, I get taken on as a trainee journalist.

Now, I was raised in Leigh on Sea. And while ‘working’ for free at Essex Radio, I actually was paid money to work at a boatyard and peel spuds at a chippy when I wasn’t ‘working’ at the radio station. And I distinctly remember my last ever job at the boatyard. It was to paint a marker buoy that had been relieved from duty. It was to sit, on land, as the ‘Old Leigh Bouy’. It took me forever. And it took me days to wash the green out of my hair. But that was it. My swan song at the boatyard. So after two-and-a-half years at Essex Radio, I joined the BBC, firstly in radio and then TV.

Working in regional TV has taken me to live in Norfolk, but I get back to Essex as often as I can. And the last time, I went to see an old mate down the Old Town in Leigh. As I walked over the flyover, what did I see? Sitting there, on dry land as a marker, a welcoming sentry into the Old Town — The Old Leigh Buoy. Still there and still green (ish).

Now the last brush stroke I put on her was over 20 years ago and in that time so much has changed. The boatyard has moved (in its place a posh restaurant) and much of Leigh on Sea has changed. But we meet again. The Old Leigh Buoy and this Old Leigh Boy. It still feels like home, but one thing’s for certain, both me and the other Leigh buoy are a bit less green. w

A bit about David

David Whiteley is the presenter and a producer of the award-winning BBC 1 current affairs programme, Inside Out. David has fronted the programme since 2003 and is now the series director. David also presents Look East and other programmes for the BBC. In his spare time, he surfs the North Sea and runs. David was born in south Essex and cut his teeth in radio in Southend and Chelmsford. David lives in Norfolk with his TV presenter wife, Amelia, and their two daughters, Annabel and Cleo.

To get in touch with David with any stories you have about life in Essex, you can contact David on Twitter @david_insideout or email him at

Read more:

10 dog friendly pubs in Essex


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Mon, 10:31

The life of Ronnie O’Sullivan has been anything but predictable, but the most gifted snooker player of all time seems to be showing signs of settling down. Denise Marshall went to meet him

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Ballroom star and world class judge Gary Edwards has enjoyed an incredible career in dance, claiming 30 dance titles across the globe, followed by a stint as advisor to the Royal family of Brunei. Now a presenter on hit American show Dancing with the Stars, Denise Marshall caught up with the Romford-born star for the inside word on Strictly 2018!

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

As we mark the centenary of the end of world War I, Hannah Salisbury from the Essex Record Office reveals a unique insight into life at war during this bleak time | Words: Hannah Salisbury

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

At the end of summer we asked Essex Life’s readers and followers to send in pictures of your pooches loving life on our county’s beaches - you got back to us in droves and here are the pups that made the cut in our October issue!

Read more
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Six life-sized aluminium silhouettes of British soldiers have been installed in Epping Forest to commemorate the heroes of World War One

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

To mark the centenary this month since the end of World War I, Stephen Roberts explores the impact the war had on Essex and some of the men that left this county to serve their country

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Escape to the Chateau star Angel Adoree is currently reaping the benefits of her incredible vision and drive to build an overseas wedding and lifestyle business from scratch with husband Dick Strawbridge. Here she tells Essex Life about series five of the hit Channel 4 show and how a strong Essex work ethic helped her dream so big | Words: Denise Marshall

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hannah Salisbury from the Essex Record Office tells the story of an exciting project that is taking memories on tour around the county

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Whether you know him for his madcap antics, his reality TV appearances or his unique voice, Essex boy Joe Pasquale has earned his place as one of the nation’s favourite entertainers. Kate Everett caught up with Joe to hear what’s next in his 30-year showbiz career

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

With the help of finance expert and writer Philip Beresford, Essex Life reveals the 2018 Essex Life Richest 50

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search