New radio slot for BBC travel girl Helen Blaby

BBC Five Live travel girl Helen Blaby is swapping bleary-eyed breakfast times for happier hometimes after switching to the Drivetime slot on local radio.

The Northampton-based presenter, who has guided the morning commutes of millions across the UK for 13 years, has revealed she will stand in for Annabel Amos at BBC Radio Northampton while the regular presenter is on maternity leave and will be accompanying weary workers on their way back home.

She said: "I went to an open day at Radio Northampton in 1987 when I was only 13 and that's where the seed of my love of radio was planted.

"My dad really encouraged me to do it and I wish he was still alive to see me come back to where it all started.

"What's really lovely about it is that I'm coming back to somewhere I know, and talking to people I know is really exciting. It really is my dream."

Despite her fame among Five Live listeners, her initial four- month contract, starting on February 1, had to be won with a demo CD from slots on radio in Cambridgeshire.

Miss Blaby admitted she was eager to work for her local station, not least for the lie-ins because she currently has to get up in the middle of the night to get to work in London on time.

She said: "It's been like having constant jet lag for more than 13 years. At the minute I'm always about five hours ahead and have to think about having lunch at about 9am. It will be like getting my life back.

"I might set my alarm for 3.30am one last time just for the pleasure of being able to roll over and go back to sleep."