Shropshire Star

Former BBC Shropshire presenter Eric Smith launches new talk podcast with Shropshire Star - Listen to episode 1

I’m Eric Smith, the former breakfast show host on BBC Radio Shropshire, and I’d like to introduce you to my new podcast series for the Shropshire Star.

Eric Smith has joined the Shropshire Star.

I arrived in Shropshire in 1988 knowing very little about this beautiful county but like most people who come here I was soon smitten by its charm and wonderful people.

And so, 35 years on, I’m still here and looking forward to our new venture together.

Over the years I have met, and interviewed, some fascinating people in Shropshire and in this series I can now bring you extended conversations with the people who matter in the county; the people who shape the landscape of Shropshire; the characters who bring this county to life.

Let me give you a taste of what is to come.

  • Lezley Picton and Shaun Davies are the two council leaders who run the wider county and Telford & Wrekin. They spend your council tax - but how is it spent? How are they battling with financial pressures, and reducing budgets?

  • John Campion is the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia Police. He is ultimately responsible for the efficiency and direction of the wider police service in the county. Drugs, police numbers, “bobbies on the beat” and policing in rural areas are some of the topics we’ll be discussing.

  • You’ll hear from Midlands Today’s Nick Owen about his love of the county and his appeal for more men to be tested for prostate cancer after his radical surgery.

  • And if you watched and marvelled at the precision and attention to detail in events like the coronation of King Charles III, or the recent festival of remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, it might surprise you to know that they were “choreographed” by a military sergeant major who was born in Coalbrookdale. “Vern” Stokes joined the Army at 16 and is now Garrison Sgt Major with the Household Cavalry. If it moves on these big events, then Vern made it happen. You can hear about his upbringing in Coalbrookdale and Madeley, how he was bullied in the Army in his early days, and how he has a BAFTA on his bookshelf!

There are so many interesting people to talk to, people who make things happen and have stories to tell.

My first podcast is with Shaun Davies, leader of Telford and Wrekin Council.

Shaun has been a Labour councillor in Telford since 2011 - and became the leader in 2016, when the council changed hands to be Labour controlled.

He also is chairman of the Local Government Association, and he's been selected to fight the Telford seat for Labour at the next General Election.

No where else will you get a more in-depth interview on Telford's past, present and future.

Welcome to my Shropshire Star podcasts - In Conversation with Eric Smith.

I hope they answer some of your questions about Shropshire and certainly give you food for thought.

You can listen to the first episode below: