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Amol Rajan reveals ‘panic attack’ night before Today programme debut

The new host said he had three ‘massive rums’ and only an hour’s the night before his first shift on the flagship current affairs show.

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Amol Rajan making his debut on the Radio 4 current affairs programme, Today, with fellow presenter Justin Webb (Radio 4 handout)

Amol Rajan making his debut on the Radio 4 current affairs programme, Today, with fellow presenter Justin Webb (Radio 4 handout)

Amol Rajan making his debut on the Radio 4 current affairs programme, Today, with fellow presenter Justin Webb (Radio 4 handout)

New Today programme presenter Amol Rajan said he had a “full-on panic attack” the night before his debut on the Radio 4 current affairs show.

Rajan, the BBC’s media editor, said he managed only an hour’s sleep before arriving for his first shift on the flagship show at 3.45am, and thanked his wife, colleagues and a few late-night glasses of rum for helping him get through his ordeal.

He tweeted: “10pm last night I had a full-on panic attack. Worked myself up into a frenzy, catastrophising about first shift on @BBCr4today.

“Had 3 massive rums and a bit else. Got 1hr kip, in at 3.45 (below). Survived. Thank you so much for all the niceness and constructive criticism…”

He added thanks to fellow host Justin Webb and “the whole team for looking after me”, as well as special thanks to his wife “who sorted me out”.

Webb responded on Twitter, joking: “3 rums. Imagine how good Amol will be when sober.”

Rajan, who recently finished as presenter of Radio 4’s The Media Show, will now host the flagship breakfast programme with Webb, Mishal Husain, Martha Kearney and Nick Robinson.

His first show saw him interview Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and the owner of a Bolton cafeteria reopening thanks to the easing of lockdown restrictions.

While continuing as the corporation’s media editor, Rajan will also present a new interview series for BBC Two and a two-part royal documentary.

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