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

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Head of Marketing - London

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketing Manager / Dig...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week