BROADCASTER John Sargent recounted stories from his days as a political correspondent – and his exploits on TV’s Strictly Come Dancing – when he was guest speaker at a dinner in Huddersfield.
And the former BBC reporter revealed how his performances on the show – which teams professional dancers with celebrities – entertained the highest in the land.
Despite being criticised by the judges for his lack of dancing skills, John and dance partner Kristina Rihanoff became favourites with the viewers – polling 1.7m votes at one stage to stay in the contest. However, John decided to quit the competition to end the controversy.
John told guests at the annual dinner of the Huddersfield Society of Chartered Accountants that he was tempted to add “by Royal Appointment” to his name after hearing that the Queen was a firm fan of the show, telling one courtier: “We all enjoy being entertained by John Sargent.”
The broadcaster also recalled humorous incidents during his career covering political leaders such as George Bush, Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair.
He told how during a trip to Japan with Tony Blair he decided to greet the Prime Minister in Oriental style with a slight bow – only for the PM’s “minder” Alistair Campbell to growl: “Lower, Sargent, lower!”
More than 250 business people attended the chartered accountants’ dinner at the Galpharm Stadium, when president Andrew McConnell introduced top-table guests including the Mayor of Kirklees, Clr Karam Hussain; Mayoress Nasreen Akhtar; Merryck Lowe, president of the West Yorkshire Society of Chartered Accountants; and Town and Giants chairman Ken Davy.
Mr Davy, who heads financial adviser support group SimplyBiz, urged business leaders in the town to work together to tackle the of the recession.
“As ‘doers’ in the town, we need to work together to build a new tomorrow for the town,” he said. “What we do now will determine the future of Huddersfield for the next generation.
“We are surrounded by problems and we have an economy in chaos, but the reality is that we can sit back and be victims or we can use our energy and creative skills to take things by the scruff of the neck and make the future what we want.”
“Every recession creates opportunities and this recession is no different in that respect.”