Anita Land: My Life In Media

'I'm trying to love ITV at the moment because I represent Paul Jackson, who runs ITV entertainment, but I'm struggling'
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The Independent Online

Anita Land, 50, is the agent behind some of the best-known faces and voices in broadcasting including Jeremy Paxman, Eamonn Holmes, Mark Austin and Eddie Mair. She set up her own agency, Capel & Land, with Georgina Capel six years ago. Her father, Leslie Grade, was also a talent agent and, with her Uncle Lew, was a founding partner of ITV in the 1950s. Her brother Michael Grade is the chairman of the BBC. She has been married to Brook for 32 years and they have two children - Lesley who works in PR, and Daniel who works in the City. Her next project is helping Elton John decide how to televise his 60th birthday celebrations.

So what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

Being taken everywhere from a very young age by my father. We went to TV recordings at Elstree studios, anything from Des O'Connor to Liberace - very variety - and also to rehearsals of Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

The Daily Telegraph. I did read it and I always used to do the quick crossword.

What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

The end of Blue Peter, Coronation Street because my father was an addict, Top of the Pops at its height and Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

Describe your job

I'm an agent and nanny to the stars. I represent the top news and current affairs broadcasters like Jeremy Paxman, Alastair Stewart and Eamonn Holmes. We've been with each other 20 years next year, since he was farming correspondent at Ulster TV. He says I've been longer with him than he's been with either of his partners.

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

Sky News because of Eamonn. It was GMTV when Eamonn was on. I'm very, very loyal.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

The Daily Mail: I wish I didn't. I'd like to ban it. The Times and the Evening Standard. The BBC news website three or four times a day and the MediaGuardian website. I don't get Sky in the office but I represent Kay Burley and Jamie Rubin so I should have it on. I don't have the television on during the day as it's too distracting, unless there's a client on I have to watch.

What is the best thing about your job?

When someone you represent and believe in gets offered a big job.

And the worst?

Not getting clients the job that they really should have, and someone else getting it who isn't as good.

How do you feel you influence the media?

I don't feel that I influence the media, but my clients do. I'm just a cog in the wheel.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

Setting up my own business. And having a daughter working in the business People ask if I'm related to her.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

When Eamonn was doing Johnny Cash on Stars in Their Eyes I was so excited that in my eagerness to tell him how good he was when they stopped recording I didn't see a couch, and fell right over it flat on my face.

At home, what do you tune in to?

I'm a news addict, but I watch Newsnight only when Jeremy's presenting. And Spooks: it's the best drama of all time. Celebrity X Factor was wonderful. I'm trying to love ITV at the moment because I represent Paul Jackson who runs ITV Entertainment, but I'm struggling.

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

The Sunday Times, The Mail on Sunday, The Sunday Telegraph and the News of the World. I loveYou magazine. I'm embarrassed to say how many magazines I buy and I'm trying to cut down: Vogue, Grazia, Harpers, House & Garden, Tatler.

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

I've already set up my own business and I don't want to take on any more clients, but I've always wanted to work on the other side, to be a buyer rather than a seller for a change.

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

I always wanted to work in a hotel. To be the Tamzin Outhwaite hotel manager character in Hotel Babylon.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

My brother. He reminds me of my father and has the same honesty and integrity and talent. I admire Jim Moir (former controller of Radio 2) greatly. He's been a mentor to me and one of the wisest people.