Clive Myrie will return to Ukraine on one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion
BC broadcaster and Mastermind host Clive Myrie will return to Ukraine to speak to the people he met at the beginning of Russia’s invasion into the country.
The 58-year-old, who has reported on the ground from countries across the world, found himself reporting for BBC News from the roof of a hotel in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv when the war broke out.
He told Saga magazine that he had expected to anchor the news and leave when he flew into a peaceful Kyiv on a £29.99 Ryanair flight on what became the day before the invasion.
“I did not think Putin would do it, I couldn’t see what he had to gain,” Myrie said.
Speaking of his experience, he said: “There were lots of shells and missiles coming into an area 16km north of our position. The hotel was shaking, the windows were rattling. It was scary.
“Sometimes we had only pasta and ketchup. There were a couple of days when I just ate throat sweets because I didn’t want the pasta and ketchup. The adrenaline was keeping me going anyway, I was pumped up.
“You didn’t sleep. You’d be woken by the air-raid sirens of the Tannoy. If there was intelligence of an attack you’d sleep with your boots and flak jacket on and your helmet next to your pillow in case you needed to run out.”
The BBC journalist was famously interrupted by an air-raid siren during a live broadcast from Kyiv with chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet, which saw the pair having to rush and put flak jackets on.
Myrie made the journey back to the UK after 10 days in Ukraine, escaping through Moldova and Romania.
He said: “I will be going back for the anniversary, to talk to some of those people I met at the beginning of the war.
“I hope it will be over, but I’m not sure how it can be. I don’t see either side backing down.
“I saw my parents a couple of weekends ago and they were saying ‘We’d rather you didn’t go back. We don’t want you to go.’
“They’ve never got used to it. But I hope they trust my judgment and that I’m not going to do anything stupid. And that, hopefully, I’ll come back home.”
Myrie’s rise to popularity really took hold when he began presenting the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall before taking over from John Humphrys on Mastermind this year.
Speaking of the BBC quiz show, Myrie said: “I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I feel comfortable in the chair now in a way that I certainly didn’t when I started, because I’m filling huge shoes.
“I hope I encourage the contestants to be their best and not be frightened, although the set-up is intimidating.”
Myrie also revealed he turned down the opportunity to appear on Strictly Come Dancing this year, which was won by wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin and his partner Jowita Przystal on Saturday night.
He added: “When I said no, I didn’t say never. I think that for a moment my day job requires a certain level of seriousness.
“If I paraded around in a sparkly top, you might find it a bit tricky to take seriously what I say when I’m in a warzone.”
Myrie’s latest project involves him exploring his love of Italy in a new 15-part travel show for BBC Two called Clive Myrie’s Italian Road Trip – due to air in the spring.
This month Saga Magazine is available from the end of December.