I work for Trevor McDonald

Pauline Heard is PA to the newscaster

My first career was as a dancer, but being five foot two my resting periods were rather too numerous so I went to secretarial college. A friend was temping at ITN and I joined her there. Twenty-five years later I am one of the longest serving members of staff there and have worked in every department. I've been PA to four editors including David Mannion, who four years ago offered me a new newsroom post looking after the newscasters. But Trevor McDonald takes up most of my time because his workload has increased tremendously since becoming the sole anchor for News at Ten.

I arrive between 9.30am and 10am and my first job is to liaise with the network via a conference call to schedule in the night news bulletins by finding a time that suits everyone. Then I go through the newscasters' post and diaries and usually have lunch at my desk. Trevor arrives at around noon and I sit opposite him, which means we are in constant communication. Even when he's away, as he has been now, broadcasting from Hong Kong, I speak to him via the computer. In the afternoon we go through his post, which usually consists of requests for interviews or appearances, followed by dictated letters from Trevor. People often write in with invitations, adding that they can get him back in time for the News at Ten. They don't seem to realise that Trevor's job involves quite a bit more than just turning up to read the news. He works very hard, including having meetings throughout the day to discuss what is to be featured on the programme and reading up on the stories of the day.

People send in all kinds of things including birthday cards to be signed and other odd requests, like the Toby Jug company which wanted permission to do one of Trevor. But the strangest request recently arrived from a consultant doctor who wanted Trevor to send massages of encouragement to his group of incontinent female patients. Apparently the ladies had been asked to think of someone they all admired when doing their exercises which resulted in the call to "Tighten for Trevor". I have to confess to being completely gobsmacked by this letter but it demonstrates that Trevor is quite a role model among the elderly as well as the young. At this time of year we get a lot of interview requests from students and since we couldn't fit all of them in individually, I hit upon the idea of holding mini press conferences with groups of them which is good practice both for them and for Trevor. I also take groups of school children round the newsroom and studio from time to time.

Trevor is a very gentle man, both caring and sympathetic, which makes him a joy to work for. When I was in hospital for three weeks he came to visit me every morning and he treats me as one of the family, which in a sense I am. He never refers to me as his PA; he calls me his colleague, which I very much appreciate. He is also easy-going and easy to talk to. Trevor and I tend not to discuss the news stories, although there are ones which are clearly upsetting to both of us, particularly if they involve children, since Trevor has a young son. But we can have a laugh at the "and finally ..." stories.

I have no input on the studio floor apart from discussing whether a programme went well and offering advice to Trevor about his ties, of which he has hundreds. He dresses immaculately, but occasionally I tell him I'm not too keen on a particular colour combination. We also have a twice weekly ritual when I buy both of our lottery tickets - I dare not miss one. We still laugh at Rory Bremner's sketch of Trevor reading out the lottery numbers and gradually realising that they were his own.

The telephone doesn't stop ringing and I often don't leave work until about 7.30pm. All kind of people call with queries, from ordinary folk to ambassadors, MPs, showbiz personalities, leading business people and all those involved in the Better English Campaign, of which Trevor is president. Phone manner is one of the principal skills needed for my job, but I like chatting with people on the phone whoever they are. One also needs to be diplomatic about some of the weirder requests. Recently I organised two big memorial services for former newscasters which was a little frightening responsibility-wise because of the number of people involved.

Unfortunately I'm not allowed to travel with Trevor but I do get invited to some of the functions and celebrations. One of the best moments of my career was the night when both Trevor and my husband won national TV awards. My husband is production manager for The Bill, which won best drama, and Trevor won an award for most popular newscaster. I was back- stage jumping up and down for joy. Trevor gave me a special mention in his acceptance speech which showed what a kind person he is.

I like not knowing what the day has in store as well as working for people I'm fond of. I'm too outspoken to stand working for someone difficult and I'm sure I'm seen as a bit of a dragon at times. I think I will stay on here until they don't want me any moren

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
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

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

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...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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