Daisy Goodwin: My Life In Media

Daisy Goodwin, 41, is editorial director of TalkbackTHAMES, the independent production company behind some of Britain's best-known TV programmes. Goodwin, who has edited eight poetry anthologies, is leaving Talkback at the end of the month to write a novel and spend more time with husband Marcus Wilford, an ABC TV executive and their two daughters.

Daisy Goodwin, 41, is editorial director of TalkbackTHAMES, the independent production company behind some of Britain's best-known TV programmes. Goodwin, who has edited eight poetry anthologies, is leaving Talkback at the end of the month to write a novel and spend more time with husband Marcus Wilford, an ABC TV executive and their two daughters.

What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

My dad was a movie producer, my stepmum a film director and my mum a journalist. After studying history, I went to Columbia Film School for two years and wanted to make great historical documentaries.

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

The Daily Mirror and The Guardian.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

Dad's Army reminded me of school - I was deeply in love with Private Walker - but we didn't have a telly in the house after I was 10. I read lots of very thick Penguin classics and listened to Radio 4, because I wasn't allowed to listen to Capital Radio.

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

My morning diet is quite bizarre. Today is on in one corner of the room. My husband is a news junkie, so if he gets up before my daughter he watches BBC News 24, otherwise it'll be Dora the Explorer (on the children's digital channel Nick Jr). I read The Guardian news digest on my BlackBerry, then get the Daily Mail, The Independent and The Times.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

I like the media breaking news on my BlackBerry with text alerts. But if I want to know about a story, I just ring up my husband.

What is the best thing about your job?

Making something new, entertaining and informative; that people aren't sure will work - but in the end it does.

And the worst?

When you say with confidence, "I know this will work", and it's a disaster.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

I was proud to be associated with the Essential Poems shows; they were genuinely different, bringing poetry to a wider audience and beautifully produced. I was also over the moon when Grand Designs got more than four million viewers.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

Falling down the stairs spectacularly at the Baftas. I wasn't even drunk. One of the silliest things I did was to turn down Trinny and Susannah, who I thought were too posh to work.

What do watch at home?

We're a demographic nightmare, because we'll watch The X Factor and The OC, followed by a documentary and Newsnight.

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

There are two magazines I read every week: The New Yorker, for its great journalism, and Heat. Harper's Weekly is also very good. I'll read Vogue and keep an eye on the other women's mags. I get Poetry Review and from time to time TLS and Variety. We get all the Sunday papers, but I've adopted a strict rationing policy and like The Observer and The Sunday Times.

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

To make a programme that my 14-year-old daughter loves.

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

I'd be a spy. I studied Russian and waited for a long time to be recruited by MI5. It's my country's loss.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

I like the prickly geniuses. My top three are Stephen Poliakoff, Peter Moore and Alan Curtis. They've done precisely what they want and are right to do so.

The CV

1983: Graduates in history from Cambridge and attends Columbia Film School as a Harkness scholar.

1985: Joins the BBC as a trainee assistant producer in arts.

1987: Becomes an arts producer-director, but her contract isn't renewed in 1989. She freelances until returning to the BBC in 1992, when she makes Omnibus and devises Bookworm, The Nation's Favourite Poems and Home Front.

1998: Joins TalkbackTHAMES as head of factual. Her production credits for the BBC, Channel 4 and Five are a roll-call of the lifestyle TV format: How Clean Is Your House?, Jamie's Kitchen, House Doctor, Grand Designs and Property Ladder. Her most recent credit is BBC2's The Apprentice with Alan Sugar.

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