Olivia Utley

Olivia Utley

I was raised in central London by my mum and her sister. It was an all-female household, so any notions I picked up that certain careers are “just for boys” were very quickly dispelled! My family were very interested in politics and my first political memory is of us gathering in front of the TV, popcorn at the ready, to watch the result of the confidence vote in Iain Duncan-Smith. But by Westminster standards, I was a late political bloomer: throughout secondary school and university I couldn’t have cared less what was going on in Parliament.

That all changed in 2015 when I found myself hooked on the Cameron-Milliband fight for Number 10. When I graduated – I read English at the University of York – I got my first job as a parliamentary assistant to an MP and started freelancing for blogging sites around Westminster during the Brexit referendum.

Since then, I’ve worked as a leader writer and occasional columnist for the Sun, as commissioning editor at The Telegraph and as a political commentator and newspaper reviewer for Sky and the BBC, including regular appearances on BBC Question Time and Radio 4’s Any Questions. I feel very lucky to have learned the journalism trade at two fantastic newspapers, but my real love has always been broadcast journalism.

Ever since I first heard about GB News, I’ve been following its progress with growing admiration. Since 1988, when Sky News launched, the TV news industry has been largely stagnant. That is until 2021, when plucky GB set itself the task of standing outside the establishment by giving a platform to voices the other broadcasters shun. It’s been a pleasure watching it go from strength to strength.

Why is debate and balanced argument important to you?

When debate is silenced, all too often the most vocal social media activists end up dictating public policy. If people aren’t given both sides of the argument, it is impossible for them to make up their own minds. Without proper debate, there can be no real democracy.

Why did you decide to join the GB News family?

I find it very exciting being part of an organisation which is challenging the consensus of the London-based media pack.

Most memorable moment on live TV?

The first time I ever appeared on live TV was during a major cricket tournament. I nervously warned the producer I knew absolutely nothing about cricket, and she laughingly reassured me that was ok as I’d only be talking about politics. Unfortunately, the cricket commentator who was due to appear after me was delayed on his way in and I was asked to fill in for him for 7 minutes straight! I hope there weren’t too many cricket fans watching…

The best and worst advice you’ve ever been given?

Best: Don’t take no for an answer (particularly useful advice when the question is “can we get a kitten?”)

Worst: Don’t bother learning to drive, we’ll all be using self-driving cars by 2020. (I still can’t drive!)

What’s your favourite part of Great Britain?

Although I was born and bred in London, my favourite place in the world is the city of York, where I went to university. It’s steeped in fascinating British history, it’s the friendliest place I’ve ever been – and the shopping is fantastic, wins all round! My husband and I met and got married there and we always dream about moving back one day. Here’s hoping Parliament really does move up there!

What’s your proudest achievement outside work?

Last year I ran my first marathon and for some reason made it my goal to beat Matt Hancock’s time. I managed it – 3 hours 33 mins to his 3 hours 45 mins!