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Sony Radio Academy Award nomination for Toby Foster
BBC Radio Sheffield's Toby Foster was nominated for a Sony Radio Award in 2010
BBC Radio Sheffield's Toby Foster - nominated for a Sony Radio Award

BBC Radio Sheffield's Toby Foster was recognised for his prestigious Sony Radio Award in 2010.

Toby's highly-acclaimed interview with English Democrat Peter Davies, the Mayor of Doncaster, was nominated in the Best Interview category at the 2010 Sony Radio Academy Awards in London on Monday 10th May.

Toby was up against other prominent interviewers. BBC Radio 4's Jenni Murray won Gold for her interview with Sharon Shoesmith, the former head of Children's Services at Haringey Council.

BBC Radio 4's Eddie Mair won Silver for his interview with Labour politician John Hutton, and LBC's James O'Brien won Bronze for his interview with footballer Frank Lampard.

The judges said of Toby Foster's interview with Mayor Peter Davies: "This interview was short, sharp, highly entertaining and became an internet sensation. The interviewer demonstrated a real grasp of local politics, knew exactly what they wanted to achieve from the outset and had a tenacity that really exposed the weakness of the interviewee."

BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire was also nominated for an award for her interview with Peter Bacon who was wrongly accused of rape.

You can listen again to Toby Foster's interview with Mayor Peter Davies at the start of his term in office in June 2009. You can also read the transcription below.

Toby Foster: What was it do you think that made people vote for you?

Peter Davies: Well, we [the English Democrats] were the only party who gave a distinctive agenda to the electorate. All the others talk waffly. I looked at all the leaflets, I couldn't make anything of them all, they were all the same.

TF: You did give a distinctive agenda, and you're absolutely right you made some real points on that - let's just have a look at them, shall we? The first one of course I think is an easy one - you're going to cut the Mayor's salary.

PD: That's the first thing this morning.

TF: Down to £30,000 a year. Now some people could look at that Peter and say, 'Well, you'll get more than that for running a supermarket these days - surely a council deserves a bit more respect?'

PD: No, the council deserves somebody who's going to run it properly and it deserves somebody who is prepared to give their services partly free in a sense. At one time all local government councillors did all the work free. It's become a gravy train and I'm not prepared to be part of that.

TF: So what about the people who work for you - the Deputy Mayor, other people in departments, are you cutting their wages as well?

Doncaster's Elected Mayor, English Democrat Peter Davies
Doncaster's Elected Mayor, English Democrat Peter Davies

PD: Ah well I'll discuss that - well, not the people in the departments, I've no control over what they've been given. But the Deputy Mayor and the rest of the Cabinet, we'll discuss that at the earliest opportunity.

TF: You say you've got no control over other departments; one of the big things on your campaign was that you're going to cut 'PC [politically correct] jobs.'

PD: Oh yeah that's a different thing altogether.

TF: Which jobs are those?

PD: Well I'm going to look into that. Things like Diversity Officers. The things that are usually advertised in The Guardian.

TF: Right, so hang on then... so there are political...

PD: I can't give you a full list at the moment but I will be...

TF: But that's what you put in your manifesto, you must have had an idea on your manifesto of what you were talking about.

PD: Yeah, yeah, yeah. All these people that are sort of controlling thought processes and this sort of thing - every department is riddled with this sort of nonsense these days.

TF: So currently then, this morning, Doncaster Council is riddled with people who are doing this kind of nonsense and they're on notice are they - people are going to lose their jobs?

PD: Very likely.

TF: But we don't know who they are yet... but certainly Diversity Officers?

PD: Well that sort of thing, yes.

TF: So the Diversity Officer who is getting ready for work this morning at Doncaster might as well not bother?

PD: Well he's in employment at the moment.

TF: But he won't be for long...?

PD: I think we ought to be talking about what we're going to do now and what I've discovered, that might be a more fruitful discussion.

TF: Well I mean, these are the reasons people voted for you. Very bold points, as you said, you're going to cut the translation services for non-English speakers - that's a very bold point, it's more than likely illegal isn't it?

PD: I don't know. Again, I've got to find this out. It shouldn't be illegal.

TF: Well it is, under the European Court of Human Rights, it's illegal.

PD: Well, we'll look into this. We're getting council's opinion on what I can do and what I can't do and that's...

TF: No, no, you said in your manifesto you would definitely do it.

PD: Yes well... if someone comes in the way and stops me doing these things then that is an insult to democracy.

TF: So what was the point in a manifesto? You might as well have said that you were going to fly to the moon. If you just going to say now that you can't do it...

PD: I'm going to do my best to do it. If I can't do it, I shall tell the electorate why I've not been able to do it and who has stood in the way of it.

TF: Well, the law is standing in the way of it.

PD: Just a minute, just a minute, the electorate clearly want me to do that - the law needs changing then doesn't it?

TF: But you say the law needs changing...

PD: If we get a new government, we might get rid of some of this ludicrous legislation and be able to run our own country again.

TF: Ok, now you're going to cut the number of councillors from 60 to 20.

PD: That is another difficulty. I'm the first to try it.

TF: You can't do it, can you?

PD: Well... we can appeal to their moral consciences.

TF: No, you can't do it, can you?

PD: Look, you keep telling me what I can't do. I'll find out what I can't do and if I can't do it, I will tell...

TF: You are finding out now - I'm telling you, Peter - you can't do it, you'd have thought you'd of thought of this before you started!

PD: This is quite a pointless discussion, completely pointless.

TF: Why?

PD: I'm sitting here telling you what I want to do, you're telling me I can't do it. I'll find out - not from you, from other people - if I can do it or not.

TF: Why didn't you look to see...

PD: And we then tell the electorate what's going on.

TF: Why didn't you look to see if you could do it before you asked people to vote on it?

PD: Because people want this to happen. And it's time we...

TF: We all want free sweets Peter, but why didn't you look into it to see if it could happen before you asked 14,000 people to vote on it? You know what's going to happen - they got upset with the political process in Doncaster before, they disliked Martin Winter, you've come along and waved this flag knowing you can't back any of it up and they've voted for you. How are they going to feel when they realise they've been hoodwinked?

PD: They've not been hoodwinked - I'm a man of my word and I shall do everything that I can to put this into practice, and that is something that Doncaster has not had before.

TF: You're going to cut the gay pride funding.

PD: Yep.

TF: How much did Doncaster Council fund gay pride?

PD: Haven't got a clue, haven't looked into it, haven't got the details. I haven't even started.

TF: That's bright isn't it. So how much was it worth to Doncaster?

PD: What?

TF: The gay pride march - 8000 people in town for a day.

PD: I don't know, they can still come, nobody's stopping them coming.

TF: So you don't know what it costs, you don't know what it earns, but you're banning it.

PD: I'm saying that hard-pressed tax-payers money should not be spent on promoting any type of sexuality whether it's straight or gay.

TF: But for all you know, it could be making a fortune for the town, you don't know, you've not even looked at it.

PD: It may or it may not, I'm telling you what I'm not doing and again it was on the manifesto, it was quite clear, people appeared to like what I was saying.

TF: Yeah but the stuff on the manifesto, we've already realised, you can't do anything about it.

PD: I think it's time we finished this interview, it's quite pointless, it's really wasted... I wanted to say a few things this morning that people might have wanted to listen to.

TF: Tell me what you wanted to say. Tell me what you wanted to say.

PD: I wanted to point out that this morning I was going to see that two social workers were returned to the Children's Hospital which were taken away some time ago for some unaccountable reason; I was going to say that we were going to get rid of Doncaster News [Doncaster Council newspaper] at the earliest opportunity; and I also wanted to point out that this very weekend I've discovered that Doncaster is twinned with nine separate towns; that the ex-Mayor had a car, for what reason I don't know. It's quite reasonable that the civic mayor has a car, but why the elected mayor has one God only knows. And it looks to me like a Daily Telegraph moment where I shall be discovering things every day that could be got rid of.

TF: Ok, none of that really means anything does it, let's look at Doncaster News - you're getting rid of Doncaster News - that's a flyer, a paper that goes to every home in the borough is it, to tell them what you're doing?

PD: Well it was to distort what Mayor Winter was doing, yes.

TF: So now you're stopping communication with the people of Doncaster?

PD: No the communication will be through the Doncaster Free Press, through BBC Radio Sheffield if we can get some sensible interviews, and the free newspapers.

TF: So the people who work on Doncaster News then, are they out of work as well?

PD: I don't know, I don't know what their full... I've not even been in the office yet, I've not even had a briefing with the Chief Executive.

TF: This is the problem isn't it Peter, you actually don't understand the laws, you don't understand...

PD: I'm stopping this interview, it's a complete waste of time, you're not asking any sensible questions and I really don't want to continue.

TF: Peter, all I'm asking is how you're going to deliver on your election manifesto?

[Peter Davies leaves the studio]

TF: Well, I can assure you, that's going to be one of the easiest [interviews] he gets.

[Interview ends]



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