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• What does your day to day job entail?

I’m a freelancer so I work the days that we are filming. Because I do current affairs, I have a fair amount of research to do which I do in the days before the show. We film the show in the afternoon so the morning is spent in the station finalising research, working out questions and how we want the discussions to go, getting my notes onto a presentation on my ipad and sorting out scripts. After I sort my make-up and hair we head out. My show is filmed on location – in cafes, bars and other venues in Leeds so its often a mad rush with all the gear to head to our café just in time for our guests to turn up. Whilst the rest of the team sort out the gear I will sit with the guests and talk more about the subjects we are about to cover. That way I hope people feel pretty relaxed by the time we start filming.
I also do individual interviews on different days. For these I’ll do my research at home, get ready and head out to meet the producer and interviewee. Again the 10 minutes or so we may have before we start filming is crucial as it allows us to get to know each other a bit which I hope leads to far better interviews. It can take several hours to just get 3 or 4 minutes of interview on the show.

• What did you do before this job/background?

I’ve been working in radio – presenting shows and also as a roving reporter for a few years. Before that I had over 20 years working in the public sector and charity sector. I’ve run campaigns (I’ve influenced the wording of legislation), headed up high profile initiatives, run organisations, managed millions of pounds of public funding, advised many organisations on planning for the future, and even developed national policy rolled out across the country. In my early 20s I was myself involved in national politics at a top level but that feels a lifetime away. But all this means I know myself about the realities that many of the people I interview are dealing with – because I’ve been there.
A couple of years ago me and my husband decided life wasn’t going where we wanted so we packed everything up, bought rucksacks and headed off backpacking around the world for a year. Since coming back we haven’t gone back to our old life, instead we’ve created a new life. And moving into TV has been the best bit for me since I got back. I’m a total risk taker; ,my moto is definitely now ‘Jump and the net will appear’.

• How do prepare to go on camera? Do you have a special routine?

In the morning before shows I wake up early so I can meditate, something I discovered when living in India during our world travels. I like to be organised in advance and prefer not to rush so I get to the station in plenty of time. Ideally once I’ve done my hair and make-up I’d get to our location about half an hour early so I could sit quietly on my own with my notes and a cup of coffee. But the reality is never like that and instead everything can feel quite rushed. So my routine is mainly just to feel as calm and relaxed as possible amid the madness!

• Who is the best person you’ve interviewed to date?

I did a live radio interview with a newly elected UKIP Councillor at the last local elections. It went kind of viral and was singled out for mention and called “outstanding” in a short citation that awarded the radio station Regional Radio Station of the Year. The reason – I managed to get the councillor to say three times that he had no idea what policies he had been elected on. I’ve also interviewed lots of famous people. The one I liked the most – Nick Hancock. We were liked old mates after just a few minutes.

• Do you prefer being in the studio or out on location?

Definitely on location. But studio is far easier. You can plan your clothes and don’t have to worry about your make-up and hair getting messed up on the way there.

• What’s your favourite thing about Leeds?

I’m a Leeds lass … so where do I start? Every corner holds a story for me. I love the greenery and open spaces. The number of trees. The accents. The openness of people. Amazing architecture in the city centre. The restaurants and so much going on. And bizarrely, I love Leeds United. If only we were good again……