BBC Points West; My Accidental Career

Very soon I was presenting the Breakfast Bulletins for three days and co-presenting the main evening news programme a couple of days a week. The early shift was really good fun. Everyone involved with the Breakfast News, because of the chronic exhaustion we all shared, spent a great deal of time laughing hysterically. The worst part  was the contact lens agony. Those were the days of hard contacts. Four hours’ sleep, thick eye make up and harsh studio lights all added to the misery. When I stopped working in television, the first thing I did was ditch the lenses.

My co-presenters on the evening programme were Chris Vacher -who  is a wonderful, kind, warm, gentleman. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love him; David Garmston, also lovely, Viv Creegor – tough, very talented, a little frightening, and Susan Osman, who I’ve known for donkey’s years because she was also at HTV West when I got there – professional, glamorous, with a tendency to keep herself to herself.

Because of my theatrical background I was soon also a regular presenter and reporter for the regional arts programme, Scene West. Although I enjoyed the luxury of being pre-recorded and the chance to get out and about with a film crew, the experience reaffirmed my growing understanding that live broadcasting was my niche. I think I like to be a little frightened…it keeps me on my toes and stops me getting lazy. There is an alternative view … Live Broadcasting could be regarded as the lazy option, in that once it’s done it’s done, over with…no meetings, reasearch, planning. No going home to worry about the next day, although plenty of opportunity to go home and worry about the day you’ve just had! The opportunities for making an absolute fool of yourself are limitless.

Next time,  Children in Need. God, those three little words – the horrors they conjure up. Now that’s how to ensure you make an absolute tit of yourself in front of millions of people.

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