Music journalist Colin Murray is on tenterhooks as he heads to BBC Radio 5 Live next week to start his new career in sports presenting.
But former colleagues at Radio 1 and his new workmates would probably be nonplussed at how the Belfast-born pundit has chosen to spend one of his last days of relaxation before taking on his challenging new role.
Known as a bit of a workaholic, Murray forced himself to take a couple of months’ hiatus this summer, which he has spent holidaying, writing his new book ‘A Random History of Football’ to be published in October — and learning all about the Comber spud.
Colin spent yesterday on the farm of Roy and Victor Hutchinson where he garnered enough factoids about potatoes to last even him a lifetime.
It’s all part of a drive by Sainsbury’s to persuade Britons to try out local delicacies even if they are ‘staycationing’ in the UK this summer and Colin has joined the likes of Blur guitarist and cheese aficionado Alex James and travel journalist Judith Chalmers in championing regional dishes.
Spend time with Colin and you will hear all about the wonders of colcannon —which he showcased to English audiences during his Masterchef stint — as well as the Ulster fry with brown sauce.
“The biggest failing of England as a nation is that they don’t respect HP Sauce,” he says. “If I ask for brown sauce they look at me like I have horns. I want them to appreciate the Ulster fry with brown sauce, especially the classic brown and red sauce combination which you don’t see outside Northern Ireland.”
Joking aside, Colin is shocked by figures published by Sainsbury’s Eat Britain campaign. It says only four in 10 Britons holidaying in the UK will sample a new dish and is trying to persuade visitors to Northern Ireland to try the Comber potato.
“Maybe when people are on holiday they will see what there is in Britain that is a bit different. When I go on holiday I like to cook for myself some nights,” Colin says. “I absolutely love potatoes and the Comber potato is one of Northern Ireland’s best kept secrets.”
The new job will involve presenting 5 Live sport on Friday evenings and hosting a live Premier League football show on a Sunday, and Fighting Talk on Saturday mornings.
“I’m starting again at the beginning — in sport you have to earn your stripes,” he says.
“I think an excitement will come across. At 32 this is like the elixir of life — I was starting to feel a bit old.”