As the anchor of BBC’s North West Tonight Roger Johnson is a regular and familiar face on our TV screens each evening bringing us all the news and updates for Trafford and all across the North West.

I invited Roger for a chat about his life and career as I wanted to know how he got into news presenting and if it was always his ambition to be a newsman?

“I joined the BBC in 1994, almost straight from university.  My first job was as a junior member of staff at BBC Radio Solent in Southampton. I always had an interest in broadcasting - my dad has been the football commentator for Stoke City on BBC Radio Stoke for the last 50 years. 

"He was a teacher by profession, but it’s been a hobby he’s been lucky to have as a second career. 

"I used to help at the hospital radio station in Stoke when I was a teenager and I got a lot of work experience while I was a student. All that helped to get me my job at the BBC.

“Initially I worked mainly in sport.  But, over the years, I did increasing amounts of news work – including regularly presenting the local news on South Today and also working on the BBC News channel at TV Centre in London. 

"But when the opportunity came to move back closer to home and join North West Tonight in 2011, it was the only job I would have relocated for and I was delighted to move back north again.”

How has Covid-19 affected your personal life?

“I’ve been very fortunate during the pandemic that I’ve been able to continue coming to work almost every day.  But, because of the need to work from home a little more, I’ve seen more of my family than I normally would have done.

"But I’m very conscious that many people’s experience of the Covid-19 pandemic is a tragic one. I don’t think it’s a period in our lives that any of us will ever forget.”

How has Covid-19 affected working on North West Tonight?

“One way it’s changed significantly is the use of video calls. 

"Previously, we would often send a satellite truck to someone’s home, if we wanted to do an interview with them – or we would ask them to come to the studio. 

"The quality of video calls now means we can do an interview with a contributor from almost anywhere." 

Gordon Burns, who I interviewed here at the Messenger at the start of the year, was a tough act to follow, but you’ve made the post of anchor of NWT very much your own, was he a tough act to follow? Did you have nerves about replacing him?

"To be asked to fill his shoes in 2011 was both daunting and a huge honour.  He left me a welcoming note on my first day. 

"I’ve got to know him over the past decade and he’s always been kind and supportive to me. I am grateful to him for that.”

Who has been your favourite person to interview?

“Quite often the people who make the biggest impression on you aren’t the famous ones and I’ve been lucky to interview several Prime Ministers, top footballers and pop stars. 

“Ella Chadwick, from Rochdale, won a Pride of Britain Award in 2018 for helping other poorly youngsters at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. 

"She spent most of her early life in hospital and had dozens of operations. She came on the North West Tonight sofa and stole the show by singing Let it Go from Frozen!"

What do you do in your spare time?

“Any spare time I have seems to get swallowed-up with family life. As I get older, I realise how fortunate I am that I am able to say that.”