What attracted you to GB News?
As the only channel which truly allows fearless debate and free speech, I feel extremely at home on GB News. It is rapidly earning a reputation here - and abroad – as the only TV and radio channel willing to challenge the status quo and look at news stories from every angle.
News and current affairs in British broadcasting needed a shake-up. Despite the efforts of talented people, many TV and radio news channels have grown stale and predictable. There is space for another voice like GB News, and shows like mine which make you think, but also make you smile.
There has never been a more crucial time in British politics, and I’m honoured to be tasked with the job of bringing both factual accuracy, but also informed opinion, to events.
What led you to make the switch now to GB News?
I was fortunate to appear on the channel as a panellist before being invited as a guest presenter, which I loved. Fortunately, the audience seemed to warm to me (probably because, like them, I am also an avid viewer of the channel!)
Off screen, I’ve had a challenging few years. I got divorced and chose to prioritise my children over my career for a while. Then I found myself widely side-lined by the media for questioning and criticising lockdown policies that – to me - were always going to cause more harm than good.
Thankfully now, with family life more settled, the time feels right for the huge commitment of a live, daily show - and there is nowhere I would rather do that than at GB News.
What’s it like in the newsroom at GB News?
GB News has the most diverse and eclectic newsroom I have ever seen. It is a true broad church of ages, ethnicities, religions and different backgrounds, alongside a huge range of opinions and political allegiances. The difference is, we all value and respect our differences. This creates an exciting and dynamic energy that is a joy to be amongst. And the coffee is outstanding!
Tell us about your show
It’s a current affairs format with a warm but feisty twist. I love analysing the day’s biggest news stories with smart and insightful guests, questioning political decisions, and ensuring that our viewers are genuinely fully informed about how those decisions will affect their everyday lives.
We have a fiercely loyal following who recognise that we are the only news channel to truly reflect the views of the whole nation, not just the metropolitan elite. Their letters and emails are often brilliant, and we include their views in the show a lot.
While I love nothing more than passionately debating vital issues, but I can’t stand shouting. Politeness, respect and consideration are vital and if people start misbehaving on those fronts, I tend to get very bossy!
What three words best sum up your approach to presenting?
Fearless, frank and fun. It’s easy when you have the smartest guests and the most engaging topics! I do everything I can to make sure contributors feel safe in expressing themselves honestly without fear of being cancelled. It’s about lively conversation but above all, common sense.
What are you most passionate about?
Free speech, allowing all voices to be heard, and not shying away from difficult conversations. Throughout the pandemic I unexpectedly found myself cast as a bit of a divisive figure for publicly questioning the over-riding narrative and standing up for my values. I received a lot of criticism for daring to challenge the ‘experts’ but there was also a silent majority who contacted me hourly to say, ‘thank you for representing my views.’ Even in private, these people were fearful about expressing their concerns. That’s not ok.
What do you do for fun?
I like nothing more than good conversation with friends over several bottles of wine. But life is all about balance and in order to eat and drink the things I love, I try to move as much as possible. I play competitive netball every week and swim whenever I can. My other half and I love long walks in the countryside taking in a pub lunch. I have two feisty daughters and one laid-back son so hanging out with them is (mostly) fun.
What makes you angry?
Dishonesty, sexism, and hypocrisy. I think it’s part of my Northern roots to respect people who are straight-talkers and have nothing to hide. My dad has always said, ‘you can say anything with a smile on your face’ and I think that as long as you genuinely don’t wish anyone harm, he’s right.
It also makes my blood boil when politicians are hypocrites, expecting the rest of us to do the right thing and then not disclosing their own financial conflicts of interest. We’ve had too much of that lately.
I’ve experienced my fair share of sexism, and I’ve devoted a lot of my career to calling it out, especially in sport. I spent several years covering Formula One, the Tour de France, and the National Basketball Association’s games in the UK and I was often the only female reporter there. I also wrote a book, The Pits: The Real World of Formula One, which exposes sexism in the sport.
Away from work, what matters to you most?
I’m a passionate cook – I hosted a daily cookery show for six years – but writing is my first love. I was a girly swot at university and got a First Class degree in English Literature and Language. I have written three books on various topics and have the 100,000-word unpublished novel under the bed! I don’t do enough creative writing at the moment but that’s ok as writing my scripts for a two-hour, daily, live news show is quite a lot!