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Ex-BBC Breakfast presenter Sian Williams stops watching the show


Former BBC Breakfast presenter Sian Williams has revealed that she stopped watching the show because she became too critical.

Williams, who is undertaking an MSc in psychology so that she can help colleagues traumatised by war or disaster zones, left the morning show when it moved from London to Salford last year, saying that she did not want to uproot her family.

Asked whether she now watches the BBC1 programme, whose presenters include Susanna Reid and Bill Turnbull, she told the Radio Times: "When I first came off it, I couldn't watch without thinking, 'Why haven't they come out of the news? When are they going to sport? Why are they doing this interview at the top of the programme?'

"So now when I wake up, I reach for the radio and Today."

The mother-of-four also told the magazine that she has become a "peer mentor" at the BBC, someone reporters can turn to when they return from a distressing story.

After reporting on the Pakistan earthquake in 2008, Williams suffered from survivors' guilt.

She said: "People need to be allowed to say that and who do they say it to? They're not going to say it to their boss or anyone who's going to offer them a job.

"I help BBC journalists through trauma. A small team of us who have experienced traumatic environments help spot symptoms of trouble when people return from war zones or disaster areas.

"Post-traumatic stress disorder can take time to manifest itself. I can assess people and point them in the right direction, show them support."

Williams, who will be taking an exam for the first time since her finals at Oxford Polytechnic in 1985, said: "The thing about news crews is they are very reluctant to seek help because it's part of the job to come back from something quite traumatic and be ready to go out the following day on a different story. You have to cope because it's your job. And I think journalists sometimes don't get the chance to talk to somebody and say, 'Is it right that I'm not sleeping?' or 'I'm drinking too much'. I think it's incredibly important."

The presenter, who recently introduced the Queen when she visited New Broadcasting House, told how the monarch did not sit on a standard-issue Radio 4 chair.

"Our chairs move, they're on castors. I think it was important that hers was solid and that she wasn't going anywhere," the Saturday Live presenter added.