Mark Thompson, the BBC Director-General, disguised himself as "Mark from London" to surprise BBC Radio Derby Breakfast Show host Andy Whittaker for his 3,000th show this week. Andy's show has been running on the station since 1994.
Andy, who takes calls from the public throughout the show was taken aback when "Mark from London" was put through, as the callers are usually from around the region. And he told his ultimate boss, "I'm not sure I believe you", when the DG revealed his true identity.
After congratulating Andy on his show — believed to be the longest running breakfast show on local radio — the DG said other parts of the BBC could learn a lot from their regional colleagues. The closeness to the audience, the way the audience is on the air the whole time — we can all learn lots of lessons from that," Thompson said.
Andy reacted with the candour his loyal listeners have come to love over the years: "That was a complete shock to me. Blimey!" he said.
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