A moment with Tony Benn

Tony Benn photographed by Christian PayneToday whilst passing through London and before descending into the tube, I just happened to pop outside Euston train station and spotted Tony Benn sat on a bench lighting his pipe.

I was on the way down to Southampton to pick up a car and although I have no idea what made me pop outside the station after getting off the train, I am glad i did.

I was not going pass up the opportunity to chat with a lifelong hero of mine so I wondered over and introduced myself.

We had a brief discussion about the National Union of Journalists before I suddenly remembered I had in my bag a pro stills camera, a web enabled mobile phone and a mini video camera.

Although Tony Benn only had about five minutes to catch his train to Preston he was kind enough to humour me as I conducted a short interview on video.. I then took a few stills and showed him how easy it was using Qik to stream from a mobile phone.

Tony is no stranger to being interviewed or filmed as he spends much of his life on the lecture circuit in the public eye. It was the quick demo of the technology around live streaming from a mobile device straight to the web that seemed to interest him the most.

In about three minutes we were done and a slightly amazed Tony Benn took my card and invited me to get in touch so I could introduce him to more of this technology.

It was a really great start to the day for me. Totally unexpected and I was glad I had my ‘geek’ bag at the ready.

I have been a fan of Tony Benn and his work for a while now and am so glad to have finally met him. Not only that, but as a great bonus I now have his home number and hope to do a more in depth interview in the future.

Here is the same video on YouTube

..and my thoughts on Qik straight afterwards.


  1. says

    this is SO great. Tony’s such a huge hero of mine, I can imagine how it must’ve felt to stumble into him like that. Great lil’ interview – lemme know if you want some company when you go and talk to him :)

    Social media Gold, dear boy, Social Media Gold :)

  2. says

    The ever approachable Tony Benn. Brilliantly done, Christian.

    I’ve photographed him a few times too, in the distant past. Whenever he was interviewed he used to set up his own small tape machine to record the interview as proof lest he was misquoted!

  3. says

    I didn’t know this gentleman, and I enjoyed tremendously seing and listening to him. I like your interviewing style a lot, this is not the first time I am telling you, now I wrote it.

  4. says

    Wow, Christian. Again a real hero of mine also. Hats off to you and the fine gentleman. Long may he reign.

    I’ll echo the bit about your interview style. Keep it up. You’re a natural and I always look forward to a new podcast and other video gems.

  5. says

    This is fantastic – Tony Benn is such a legend – hardworking, principled and rational – a great man. Loved your questions too – just the right amount to fit in that short space before his train.

    Good stuff!

  6. says

    I just noticed a mention of this by Shani Lee on the Nlabnetworks Twitter feed so popped over to take a look. Tony Benn is a huge hero of mine and it’s great to see him still going strong.

    In the late 1980s I worked at BBC Radio Nottingham for a while. Tony was a regular interviewee and I still remember how all of us in the Production Office would fight to be the one who went down to Reception to escort him to the studio. He’s model of someone who seems, at least, to have been able to stick to his political principles throughout an entire lifetime. Thanks for posting this!

  7. says

    this is awesome. well done for thinking and acting so quickly when you saw him.

    I bumped into Tony Benn earlier this year, and I wish I’d had a “geek bag” with me to conduct an interview! we had a chat and I had to make do with gushing at him and blogging about it afterwards :-)

  8. says

    Very interesting but is this the guy who speaks so vehemently against Israel and leads the march against the BBC’s decision to remain impartial. He seems to have lost his political balance and should speak out against those who launch rockets against civilized societies. Or have I missed something?

  9. says

    Yup, Martin, you’ve definitely missed something.

    It’s called reality.

    And, at its worst, your comment reads as though you consider the Palestinians to be an uncivilised society, in contrast to the Israelis. I’d love to know how you qualify that distinction. (And if it’s purely that one fires rockets at the other unprovoked, you’ve really very definitely missed something.)