I have been in journalism since I was 19 and in television news for nearly 40 years. My first television role was at ITV, then at Sky, and most recently at the BBC, where I presented the BBC News at One and an afternoon programme on the BBC News Channel.
I have witnessed many of the country’s most important stories. These include from my days as Royal Correspondent with Sky News, where I also co-anchored their coverage of the Gulf conflict live from Iraq; to coverage of terrorist attacks in the UK; to endless hours broadcasting live from Westminster during the Brexit build-up.
But despite all that I will perhaps be best known for the various live adlibs and comments that accompanied some of the less important news stories of the day. Whether it was saying that there was ‘no news’ outside the hospital where an expectant world waited for news on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child or showing mild irritation at an item on surfboarding dogs, I managed to create something of a name as a world-weary – perhaps even ‘grumpy’ – anchor.
Nothing is further from the truth of course, and my ability to present a news item whilst holding a pack of A4 paper for no apparent reason proves this. After 17 years at the BBC the opportunity to join GB News is too good an opportunity to miss.
I look forward to hearing more from people around the country who up until now have perhaps not been heard in the media. What matters to them is not always reflected in that day’s news bulletins. I live in the Cotswolds with my partner Emma. I have a grown-up son, Max.
More from Simon McCoy:
Outside of politics, tell us what matters to you?
I care desperately about the younger generation. I know we all say ‘no one had it as bad as we did…’ but I think those leaving school and universities over the next few years will face a particularly tough time.
The pandemic has created challenges which will take many years from which to recover – and it’s the next generation that will have to face the consequences in the long term.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Speak up for yourself. The media is not the only business where self-belief is important - but unless you tell people about your strengths they’re unlikely to give you the chance to demonstrate them.
What makes Great Britain great?
Its people. Our sense of humour. Our sense of justice and fairness. Very few nations have the ability to laugh at themselves – in Britain we are very good at that.
Why is debate and balanced argument important to you?
Because without listening to the views of others we would quickly slide into a shouty world where the only opinion that matters is your own. Just look at social media to see where that can get you.
What makes you, you?
I’ve been told that I have a personality and gravitas. If that’s true then I’m more than happy with that.
What does it mean to you to be a newsreader?
It’s one of the most privileged of jobs. You are the point of contact for so many people when important things are happening and that is a huge responsibility. It’s also wonderful to have a job where you talk to different people every day about absolutely anything you want to!
The best and worst advice you’ve ever been given?
Best advice: ‘Listen’. Worst advice: ‘Try the violin’
What career would you have pursued if it hadn’t been for the newsroom?
My teachers wanted me to go into law, but I think my sense of humour would have got me into trouble in a courtroom.
Why have you decided to join the GB News family?
It’s a start-up – which I love. The last time I joined one it was called Sky News. It was tremendous fun to take on the broadcast establishment when it launched in 1989 and I get a similar sense with what
we are doing.
Name somebody that you have always wanted to interview? Or debate with? And why?
The Queen. I wouldn’t want to debate with her, I’d just want to listen. She has a unique view of this country – of the world. She has met so many world leaders as well as the most influential people from all walks of society. It would be amazing to hear her take on them - and on the wider world. If I had a bit of extra time I would perhaps have a few questions about her own family.