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Tricks Of The Trade: 12: How To Do The Weather

Sian Lloyd ITV's national weather presenter since 1990. She has also presented 'How 2' (ITV)
It's ironic that the British perception of the "weather girl" is of a pretty little thing, flashing her teeth and chatting about the weather. It's actually quite a skill. Presenting the weather is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. We can't see the charts when we look behind us. Looking into the camera, I can only see a reverse mirror image of myself and the chart, which is why we don't have an autocue facility. The words would obscure the pictures that we need to work to, so it all comes from the heart. As a result my memory has sharpened considerably since I've been presenting the weather. When we turn to the charts behind us and look in an appreciative way at the screen we're just pretending. I am prone to using large hand movements, as an outstretched hand can cover a few hundred miles geographically. The chances are I'll be in the right area.

Before going on, I make sure I've seen all the graphics that are coming up on the charts. I often draw a rough skeleton of what I'm going to say and try to time myself. The weather is strictly timed and I can hear counting in a little microphone in my ear while presenting. I'm on for two minutes; I'll get a minute's warning, then 30 seconds, then10, and I have to come out at zero when the summary comes up.

In describing the weather I think every presenter has their cliches, though mine have changed regarding certain weather conditions over the years. I used to talk about rain with distaste, but now with drought conditions in this country I am much more enthusiastic about it. In sunny weather I'm much more likely to say "Slap on the sunscreen" than "Get out there and soak up the heat."