Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

It's time we heard more of Radio Ulster's Mr Night Night

I couldn't put a face to the name. In fact, I'm not even sure about the name. Is it Ian Sinclair? Or Ian St Clair, as in Isla?

And yet he has taken on a position of such importance in the fair province, sounding the "lights out Ulster" call many's a night.

Oh, there are others who also announce the shutdown on Radio Ulster after the last news bulletin of the day, no longer at midnight but 11.55pm. None, however, hand us over to "my colleagues on Radio Five Live" with the same gentle 'ssshh, it's time to sleep' soothing tone as Ian.

They haven't got the same smooth elan, the steady reassurance, his quiet voice all but tucking the duvet in around you and leaving the door a little ajar so the nightlight on the landing breaks the darkness.

Usually he also says something like "goodnight from those of us still here at Broadcasting House", a phrase that could wake you up just as you are about to nod off. For, as the wind howls outside and the temperature slips down another notch, what of Ian still rattling around in that big white building on Ormeau Avenue?

What other souls remain, keeping the link with Five Live secure, while we're in our beds?

Does Ian toil on endlessly into the small hours? Or does he just have a few final duties to do before he, too, heads to the lift and out past security?

Perhaps he has to get things ready for the morning team, filling the kettle and leaving out cups for Karen, Noel and Conor?

It's fascinating. Think about it long enough and the sleep will leave you.

Ian Sinclair has become the Lights Out Ulster man; indeed perhaps that very phrase should be his sign-off? It's time we had a photograph and an interview with Ian. Perhaps unknowingly, Radio Ulster has created a small but shining star.

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