Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to write in a range of fields: stage plays, radio drama, musical theatre, satire, political commentary, and so on. It guarantees that I don’t get bored.
Other than writing, my sources of income have varied considerably. I’ve worked in a hotel as a waiter, in a hospital as a receptionist, and in a call centre as a punching bag for angry customers who hadn’t read the small print.
For a short time I dabbled in academia before moving into teaching at a secondary school. I left that profession to become a full-time comedy writer and stand-up. At the same time, I started writing political articles for various publications. This meant that I had two outlets for my frustration at the state of contemporary politics; I could critique, or I could simply laugh and point.
I’ve gradually been moving into broadcasting over the past few years, and my appointment at GB News offers me the chance to combine my various interests. In my show Free Speech Nation I’ll be able to delve deeper into the issues that concern me most at the present time, notably the need for open public debate on potentially sensitive topics.
I’ve recently written a book about free speech, so this idea has been uppermost in my mind. It’ll be great to be able to talk to interesting people who are able to disagree like adults without hurling insults. When you’ve spent as much time on Twitter as I have, you risk forgetting that civil discourse is still a possibility.
More from Andrew Doyle:
Outside of politics, tell us what matters to you?
Literature and the arts are my priorities, which is why I think it’s so important that children are encouraged to read widely and have a secure grounding in art history.
What are you most proud of yourself for?
Pride is a sin. Best avoided.
What advice (if any) would you give your younger self?
Always be honest about your opinions and never capitulate to peer pressure.
Why is debate and balanced argument important to you?
Most of the problems we face today with political tribalism could be resolved if people learned to talk to each other and not simply demonise anyone with an alternative opinion. I think 99% of the arguments on social media are illusory; people are simply squabbling with what they inaccurately imagine others to believe.
The best and worst advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice was to avoid a career in academia, and the worst advice was to try crème de menthe.
Your biggest accomplishment outside of work?
I suppose completing my doctorate was quite an achievement. I wrote a book-length thesis on sixteenth-century poets that no one will ever read. So that was time well spent.
Do you have a stand-out moment in your career that has impacted on you?
Writing my first stage play and seeing it through to production had a great impact and taught me a lot about the industry.
Most people will be familiar with your work, but tell us something that nobody knows about you?
I am an absolute beast on a badminton court. My drop-shot is particularly devastating.
How would your family describe you?
That person who never visits us.
Name somebody that you have always wanted to interview? Or debate with? And why?
William Hazlitt. I adore his essays, and would love the opportunity to explore some of his ideas in conversation. But he died in 1830, so the odds are slim.