Media Families: 11. The Siegharts

Mary Ann Sieghart and her daughter, Evie Prichard; William Sieghart and his wife, Molly Dineen

No one could call the Siegharts a shy and retiring family. Mary Ann is an assistant editor at The Times and has been called ambitious so many times that her children probably think it is her middle name. She is also a champion of family-friendly policies in the workplace, so no one should be surprised that when school-run problems loomed she decided to take her five-year-old daughter, Evie, with her to those tedious early- morning election press conferences. The diary columns have talked of little else since.

Evie, we are told, has been politicised since the age of three. She is officially accredited by Labour (but not the Tories). Evie even tried to ask Gordon Brown a question, and has been promised that she can ask one today. She is both loved ("the star of the election" - Evening Standard) and a cause for angst, with The Express giving over an entire page to a bitchy piece on the "ghastly trend of the trophy child".

It is all so over the top that the Sieghart clan might just think it is normal, for this is a family that has not had many brushes with the ordinary humdrum of life. Take a family meal. What this meant when Mary Ann and her older brother, William, were growing up was being grilled on the political issues of the day by their father, Paul, a barrister turned civil liberties campaigner. At 11, Mary Ann already had two O-levels. She went to Bedales, starting taking The Times and decided she wanted to be a political journalist. At 16, she gained a scholarship to Oxford.

William and Mary Ann ended up at university at the same time (she got a First and he a Third) and now, at ages 37 and 35, are still very close.

In the Eighties, William started a contract publishing company, called Forward Publishing, and is now a millionaire. Colleagues describe him as charming: his name was a favourite on the "most eligible bachelors" lists and the girlfriend (former) that everyone talks of is the actress Uma Thurman.

His great love was and is poetry, though, and he has been hugely influential in its renaissance. "He is always saying that we have to get poetry out of Poetry Corner," said one colleague. He founded the lucrative Forward Poetry Prize, and every year he publishes the definitive book of new poetry. He dreamt up the idea of National Poetry Day in the bath, and says: "Poetry is a magnificent companion in this busy modern world, often giving us a vocabulary for emotions we cannot express."

Last year he married Molly Dineen, who is no slouch on the vocabulary of emotions herself, and they now have a baby girl named Maude. Molly has been called the "most distinguished verite documentary-maker of our times".

Her latest outing was as the woman behind last week's party election broadcast dubbed "Tony - The Home Movie". This has generated almost as many column inches as Evie - and Dineen was even given the royal treatment of a Sunday paper profile.

Other highlights of her oeuvre to date include The Ark, on London Zoo, and In the Company of Men, about the Army in Northern Ireland.

No one doubts that one day Mary Ann - or MA, as she is called - could herself be the subject of a Sunday newspaper profile. Married to the security firm owner Dai Prichard, she has a propensity for being noticed, even without Evie, and is often seen on television. She is a great believer in the old girls' network and one of the founder members of the group Women in Journalism. Her confidence is legendary: The Times has a half- a-dozen or so assistant editors, but it is Mary Ann's name that consistently comes up when people discuss future editors. It's the kind of thing that Evie and her three-year-old sister, Rosa, might think is normaln

Ann Treneman

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star