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Page last updated at 09:37 GMT, Friday, 15 July 2005 10:37 UK

East Midlands

John Hess
John Hess
Editor, Politics Show East Midlands

John Hess
John Hess

It started when John volunteered to be a candidate in mock elections at junior school.

"I was nine and campaigned for more tasty school lunches," said John.

"The Beatles were Number 1 and Harold Wilson was attempting to forge the white heat of technological change."

From his early experience of classroom canvassing came a big interest in politics.

"I came bottom of the poll" he added. "My friend Peter cruised home by promising overhead monorails in every town.

"Perhaps I should have offered a chocolate bar to every voter.

"But from that moment, I have been under the spell that politics and the whole political process can weave.

"It is just fascinating to watch, and such a privilege to be covering the regional picture for the BBC."

John has been reporting the political scene in the Midlands since he started his journalistic career in the 1970s.

Nottingham Market square
The sun always shines on Nottingham Market Square

He worked for newspapers in the West Midlands until he crossed the River Trent to take up his first BBC job at Radio Nottingham.

"Maggie Thatcher had just been elected Britain's first woman Prime Minister, and Cloughie was bringing European Cup glory to Nottingham Forest.

"Given half a chance, 'old big 'ead' would have swapped the City Ground for Downing Street any day."

After a spell working in the BBC's Westminster newsroom and for BBC2's "The Midlands at Westminster", John was appointed the BBC's Political Editor for the East Midlands in 1997.

He has been a regular face on both "East Midlands Today" and in the Midlands segment of the Politics Show.

"I am so delighted that viewers in the East Midlands are now getting their own programme in the Politics Show.

"We can now provide far more local coverage and insight into the political scene in the East Midlands and hear from some of our big decision makers," said John.

"But more importantly, the programme brings us more closer to our audience.

"Hopefully they will tip us off to the type of the political stories they want us to cover and who they want us calling to account."

Marie Ashby, Presenter

Marie Ashby

It may look like I was trying to avoid my mother and her home cooking by going to Journalism College as far away as possible - Carlisle to Portsmouth is a bit of a trek - but that couldn't be further from the truth.

I think it was more a case of avoiding the bilingual secretarial course she had planned for me. Anyway, after swearing I'd never do another exam again and somehow gaining a degree in French from Leeds, there I was last-minute swotting yet again, only this time on law and local government studies.

I was rubbish at typing, I still am, and only just got a pass in shorthand which now only the deranged would be able to make neither head nor tail of. I can't decipher it - that's for sure, contrary to popular belief about my mental state.

I think perhaps the fact that I have to have a deadline to get anything done at all in my life, led me to be a journalist.

I got my first job with the BBC as a district reporter based in Barrow in Furness, covering the South Lakes.

Six months later I was chasing politicians for BBC Radio Nottingham's general election coverage. It was while I was on placement to BBC Midlands Today at Pebble Mill that I was lured to "the other side".

(note: she means Central TV - our beloved ITV rivals!).

Now I'm back at the Beeb and with the Politics Show...

And it's great to be back.

When I'm not at work I'm usually at home, acting as a United Nations peace keeping force and listening to the "Bicker brothers", my two sons Patrick and Sean doing what they do best.

I've lived in the East Midlands nearly 20 years now, so I guess it's home and who knows I'm probably even a local!

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