Andrea Catherwood: My Life In Media

'I scarily relate to Lynette in 'Desperate Housewives'. I think that's why I'm rushing back to work'

Andrea Catherwood returned to presenting the ITV Weekend News last week after giving birth to twins eight months ago. Now 38, she was born and raised during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and has been in the business since she was 16, reporting from conflict areas including Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, where she was injured by shrapnel from a hand grenade. She lives in London with her husband Gray Smith, a lawyer, her two-year-old son and new twins.

What inspired you to start a career in the media?

I grew up in Northern Ireland and the news was really important. It was always something that we were quiet to watch at home. I wanted to be part of that and when I was 16 I won a BBC Northern Ireland competition for Young Presenter of the Year, which just started me on the right track.

When you were 15, what was the family newspaper and did you read it?

The Daily Telegraph and The Belfast Telegraph, the local evening paper. At that stage I didn't read the sport or business and I always got into trouble with my father for not folding the newspaper properly.

What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

When I was 15 I was still being driven to school by my father who insisted that we listen to Terry Wogan. What's really scary is that I sometimes catch myself hearing him on Radio 2 now and it makes me feel quite nostalgic. On television I liked Fame and Top of the Pops on Thursday nights and I really liked The Professionals. Martin Shaw was just fantastic.

What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?

I wake up to Radio 4 and then I go and feed my twins so they wake up to Radio 4 as well. We'll have to wait and see if that works better for them than listening to Terry Wogan did for me.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

I always look at The Times on the way into work and in the office we look at all the papers, have a couple of news channels on and I also look at the news wires - Reuters, PA and Associated Press. At home I don't use the internet much but if there's an American story I'll always go to CNN, ABC or NBC.

What's the best thing about your job?

The privilege of being invited into other people's homes all over the country and sitting in their living rooms every night.

And the worst?

As a presenter you know that if you make a huge mistake millions of people are going to see it - the potential for screw-up is huge.

What is the proudest achievement in your working life?

The reports that we sent out of Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan in 2001. It was sealed off and we got through from Uzbekistan. We were the only British television news in there so we sent the only pictures out.

And your most embarrassing moment?

When I was presenting in Asia I was talking to a business analyst from Vietnam and I hadn't been told who he was before his name came up on autocue. I couldn't even make a stab at pronouncing it. As he was sitting beside me I had to say to him, "I'm so sorry, I can't pronounce your name." I must say I felt pretty stupid.

At home, what do you tune in to?

A lot of Radio 4. Obviously I watch the 10.30 news on ITV and I watch the Channel 4 News at 7pm because that's a good time to watch television once the kids have gone to bed. I enjoyed Friends and I scarily relate to Lynette in Desperate Housewives, the one with the twins. I think that's why I'm rushing back to work.

What is your Sunday paper and do you have a favourite magazine?

We get The Sunday Times and probably the Sunday Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday as well. I'm a bit of a newspaper junkie and never get time to read them all. We get The Economist delivered and I also read Vogue for a bit of light relief.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

I'd like to cover extremely peaceful and very dull elections in Iraq.

If you didn't work in the media, what would you do?

I'd love to say that I'd be an artist but I don't think anybody would buy my work.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

I really enjoyed listening to Sue MacGregor and I was quite sad when she retired. I liked her strength of character without being too domineering. For her genre, Katie Couric, NBC's morning anchor, is pretty much the best in the business. She's been doing it for a very long time and I always tune into her when I'm in the States.

The CV

1985 Joins the BBC in Belfast as co-presenter of a youth affairs programme

1987 Aged 18, makes a documentary for Radio 4 about Northern Ireland's 18 years of troubles

1990 Joins Ulster Television as a reporter

1993 Moves to NBC Asia

1998 Joins ITV News reporting for News at Ten and Early Morning News

2000 Presents Five News' 6pm bulletin

2001 Returns to ITV News and is the first British journalist into Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan

2003 Covers the war in Iraq as international correspondent. Now presenting the Weekend News

people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsAll just to promote a new casino
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Account Manager / Sales Account Manager / Recruitment Account Manager

£25k Basic (DOE) – (£30k year 1 OTE) : Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright A...

Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

Trend Writer / Copywriter

£25 - 30k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Trend Writer / Copywriter: Retail, Design and...

Day In a Page

Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband