Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley talks Dolly Parton, Roald Dahl and Camp Bestival

Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley talks Dolly Parton, Roald Dahl and Camp Bestival

Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley talks Dolly Parton, Roald Dahl and Camp Bestival

First published in News by

There’s no mistaking one of the most recognisable voices in broadcasting on the other end of the phone.

Jo Whiley, recovered from TV and radio presenting duties at Glastonbury Festival, is telling me in those distinctive warm and husky tones how doing laundry brings her back down to earth and of her secret ambition to be on Gardeners’ World.

The Radio 2 DJ has been a stalwart of the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage for years, but even she was starstruck when it came to meeting Dolly Parton at this year’s festival.

It’s hard to believe that this is the same unflappable presenter who has invited megastar rapper Jay Z into her home for an interview.

Dolly, of course, took to the stage at Glastonbury for the traditional Sunday afternoon ‘legends’ slot and charmed the staunchest of country and western sceptics – emerging as the star of the festival.

Jo said: “Meeting Dolly was a once in a lifetime thing for me. She was very sweet and very chatty. She did such a good show.

“It felt like such a big event her being there. There was so much love for her.”

And Dolly has paved the way for Glastonbury to embrace more country and western artists in the future, Jo thinks.

She said: “There’s a really good burgeoning country scene at the moment. People are realising that it’s fine to like country and western music, they’re appreciating that there are artists who are great songwriters like Dolly.

“We’re also starting to see more British country and western music coming through.”

After juggling both radio and TV presenting duties at Glastonbury, Jo returned home to her family in Northamptonshire, where she came crashing back down to earth by tackling a pile of muddy laundry.

She said: “You come back and you’re quite exhausted and then there’s the laundry to do.

“But I always think I’d much rather be working at a festival doing radio and TV, it’s not so tiring.”

As part of a team of BBC presenters, Jo’s seasoned presenting skills were singled out, with one critic writing that she and Mark Radcliffe ‘restored order’, summing up the day at Glastonbury with ‘proper conversation’.

Jo said: “I remember starting to present Glastonbury with John Peel and when I started it was like ‘nothing goes according to plan’.

“I’m so lucky to have done so many of them and it’s like a big family of us going there.

“It’s a lot of fun. And I’ll go back there next year if they ask me back.”

Jo may be well known for presenting Glastonbury, but she is particularly fond of Dorset’s biggest festival.

The mum-of-four will be at Camp Bestival – which starts at Lulworth Castle next Thursday – as part of her family’s summer break.

She said: “We’ll be on holiday in Cornwall and then we’re going to come over to Dorset and stay in a yurt and enjoy Camp Bestival.

“There’s so many different aspects and people of all different ages there.

“There’s something for everyone. I’ve got a five-year-old and she’s been there and a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old and they love the big skate ramp there. It’s a chance for us all to go along to something together and I’ve got a lot of time for Rob Da Bank who organises it.

“I love Dorset in general, Studland Beach, Corfe Castle and Lulworth Cove, I think it’s absolutely beautiful.”

Jo will be reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Camp Bestival this year as part of the 50th birthday takeover of the children’s classic on Saturday, August 2.

She said: “As a family we love the book and love the film.

“I’ve read it to my oldest, who’s now 22 and I’ve read it with my youngest who’s five.

“It has that kind of appeal.

“It’s going to be quite daunting but an honour to read it to people as a bedtime story.”

Jo may look like a rock chick and mix with celebrities, but there’s nothing she loves more than spending time at home in her vegetable patch.

She even tweeted a photo of her home-grown strawberries to her 285,000 followers.

“Whenever I feel a bit stressed I get out into the garden,” she said.

Former Radio 1 DJ Jo moved over to Radio 2 in 2011 for an evening weekday show, where her love of playing new bands and her laidback style has contributed to making the radio station the most listened-to radio station in Europe.

Jo said: “I’m really lucky with my show. I love sharing new bands with people and having them in to do sessions. I’ve introduced the band First Aid Kit to Chris Evans.

“I’ll stay there for as long as they will have me. It fits in well with the family.”

And with a rare day away from home, Jo tells me she’s going to take advantage of some time in London by researching a band she will be interviewing on her show that night, then curling up in a chair with a good book.

All good practice for lulling Dorset to sleep with the tale of Charlie Bucket.

  • Camp Bestival is at Lulworth Castle from July 31 to August 3. Acts performing include Basement Jaxx, De La Soul, James, Sinead O’Connor and Laura Mvula. See campbestival.net for ticket information Jo Whiley’s show is on BBC Radio 2 from 8pm Mondays to Thursdays.

Comments (2)

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9:16pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

Phwoarrrr Jo gets my conkers a jumping whenever i see her. The same goes for Helen Skelton. Coooorrrrrr......lov
ely.
Phwoarrrr Jo gets my conkers a jumping whenever i see her. The same goes for Helen Skelton. Coooorrrrrr......lov ely. Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: -2

4:14am Sun 27 Jul 14

sea-gull says...

Blimey Sir Beachy...something I can agree with you on. Maybe not in such a Benny Hill way, but still well done!
Blimey Sir Beachy...something I can agree with you on. Maybe not in such a Benny Hill way, but still well done! sea-gull
  • Score: -1

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