Capital DJ Dave Berry looks through the keyhole
- Credit: Archant
Dapper DJ tells Alex Bellotti about his work with Keith Lemon on a TV show revival and how Alan Partridge rings too true
There cannot be many situations in life where it is acceptable to tell an ex-model he has a face for the radio. The exception, as Dave Berry found, is when someone says it to offer you a job.
The presenter joined Capital London in 2007 and now co-hosts their flagship breakfast show alongside Lisa Snowdon. It is the golden slot, but gold comes at a high price.
“I get up about 4.30am when I’m doing the show,” says Berry, who has just moved to Hampstead. “That’s why I’m often seen wearing three-piece suits and ties on air. People keep saying ‘you know no one can see you right?’ I’ll reply with something like ‘well, you’ve got to make the effort just in case’. Really, it’s only because I was wearing that outfit at a bar the night before.”
It is a line to make Chris Evans proud, but Berry is not resting on the job. Considering his working day is finished by 10am, he has enjoyed exploring other projects, which includes running his own tailoring company, October House, on New Oxford Street and most recently, joining Keith Lemon in an upcoming revival of Through the Keyhole.
Berry will help contestants guess the houses in the classic game show, while Lemon explores them in his typically… unorthodox manner.
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“Over the course of the series, we have some big American stars that understandably aren’t familiar with Keith Lemon. But as far as the British stars go, you just have to ask - what were you thinking?
“There are some very funny moments. Without giving too much away, people’s personal belongings get destroyed in a variety of wonderful ways. The worst of which sees Keith get hold of a certain someone’s Olympic gold medal. What he does with it... well, there’s going to be some amazed looks on people’s faces.”
Berry started as an 18-year-old shop assistant at a Greenwich vintage clothes store. It was there he found a passion for fashion, “making people look like Suedeheads, Mods and Teddy Boys”.
During that time, he also started taking jobs from a modelling agent who had noticed him working in the shop. “To ponce around in the back of a music video for £500 sounded like easy money to me,” he laughs.
Such work meant Berry was often involved in television and he was eventually advised to audition for a presenter’s role on Nickelodeon
In 2002, he moved to MTV UK and has only continued to rise since then.
“It’s a really good fun show,” the now 34-year-old says of his current job, “and I love working with Lisa Snowdon. Johnny Vaughan was there for about eight years and when a new host comes in, he brings his own humour and opinion so it can be tricky. But the listeners seem to get me and I get them and it’s made the whole thing just fly by.”
On the morning we talk, Berry has just finished covering the release of One Direction’s new film, This is Us, in Leicester Square. Spurred on by Snowdon and the suggestions of listeners, he was mischievously tasked with telling queuing fans that Harry Styles couldn’t make the premiere.
Recently though, he has found himself relating more to another new star of the big screen.
“I’m a huge fan of Alan Partridge and everyone will find his movie funny because Steve Coogan’s a genius. But if there’s anyone in the radio business who hasn’t seen it yet, be warned, it is very close to the bone.
“There are so many bits in there where you think ‘oh that reminds me of that person’ or ‘that bit seems like it could be based on me’. I watch some of it through my fingers, but probably for reasons different to everyone else.”
In the world of live radio, there is certainly plenty of room for “accidental Partridges”. This radio presenter, though, is happiest when he can create them on purpose.
“You know there are all those seals around by the Thames at the moment? We started a segment called Seal Watch. People will phone in saying, ‘I thought I saw a seal by the Thames, but when I got close I realised it was just a black bin bag’.
“It really is the best when we can do lo-fi segments like that. I just love the fact that we can pull all of the amazing production power behind Capital Radio and put it towards something as ridiculous as watching for seals.”