44 just. My birthday is 15th February.
Where are you from?
London but I was born in Reading!
How did you get started in broadcasting?
I had two strokes of luck. First I came back from doing a degree in America and took a job as the office junior at the BBC External Services just at the time they needed someone to write talks about American politics. That was just at the beginning of the multi-channel boom in British television, TV-am the breakfast TV station was starting. I got a job there as a ‘journalist’. Nobody really knew what they were supposed to be doing so you could rise fast.
When was that?
Why News broadcasting?
I think it’s important to try to use your talents. I have quite good analytical skills and a fairly easy-going but persistent manner. I think its an important job trying to give busy people the information they need about the world around them. During my career the technology has made live broadcasting more and more possible and I just love going live.
Where else would have viewers seen or heard you before?
TV-am, I even appeared with Chris Tarrant and Roland Rat. Children used to recognize me on the street because the politics slot often came after the Popeye cartoon. I’ve been a guest on programmes such as Have I Got News for You and It Shouldn’t Happen to a TV Reporter.
What is your Best on-air moment?
The simple answer is the next one – we’ve got the chance to break so many stories on Sky News. I remain the only reporter ever to have doorstepped the Queen on a political issue; we were the only people on air having predicted John Major’s leadership resignation; when Dr Kelly went missing I said it would mean a judicial enquiry and the end of career for Alastair Campbell and probably Geof Hoon. My favourite running stories have been the Miners’ Strike and the Aftermath of the death of Diana – because there were real strong emotional arguments on all sides and the State of the Nation was tested.
What is your Worst on-air moment?
Making Sarah Miles cry when I asked her if her memoirs were true wasn’t brilliant. Nor was falling off the sofa when doing an item on Christmas drinking. Otherwise choking on plane tree dust in the middle of a live 2 way.
What would you like to do before your career ends?
I think there is a lot of room for improvement in Sky News prime time programming. We’re the best at covering the news but it’s a big challenge to take on the main terrestrial TV bulletins.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I don’t have much. When I do it’s the usual things – reading, films, theatre, art, gardening – and I’ve got 3 daughters.
What advice would you give to anyone that would like to get into the broadcasting world?
Be yourself, follow your interests and instincts, be patient, work hard.
A big thanks to Adam for taking part.