My Life In Media: John Stapleton

'The best thing about my job is being able to say, "While you have been asleep... " – telling viewers something they didn't know when they went to bed'

John Stapleton, 62, is the presenter of GMTV's The News Hour. He celebrates 10 years hosting the programme with co-presenter Penny Smith today. Over a 40-year career, Stapleton has interviewed every prime minister since James Callaghan, and reported from the Falklands, the Middle East, Northern Ireland and El Salvador for the BBC's Panorama and Newsnight. In the 1980s he co-presented Watchdog with his wife of 30 years, Lynn Faulds Wood. The couple live in Surrey and have one son, Nick.

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

Seeing Mike Parkinson present a local current affairs programme called Scene at 6.30 for Granada. I decided I wanted to be a TV journalist, and worked out that, like him, I needed to work in newspapers first.

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

The News Chronicle, which was then absorbed by the Daily Mail. We carried on taking the Mail despite my father being a member of the Labour party. I read them both every day.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

Round the Horne on the radio and That Was the Week That Was on TV, both of which I found deliciously irreverent.

Describe your job.

Persuading people still rubbing the sand from their eyes that it is worth spending a few minutes finding out what is going on in the world. Better still, making it so interesting that they miss their bus.

What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

Naturally GMTV. However, I obviously keep in touch with the opposition – especially Sky News, who remain brilliant news reactors.

Do you consult any media sources during the day?

As one of those hacks who spent their formative years knocking on doors and calling people on the telephone, I am overwhelmed by and a little suspicious of Google. It also makes me slightly angry. Why is information-gathering so damned easy for this generation?

What do you tune into when you get home?

I am a huge fan of Radio Five Live – Victoria Derbyshire and Peter Allen. I love the mixture of news and sport and its relaxed style, so refreshingly free of the pomposity that characterises some other BBC output.

What is the best thing about your job?

Being able to say, "While you have been asleep..." – telling the viewer something they didn't know when they went to bed. That, and being sent out to places such as Iraq. Mentally and physically taxing, but a great buzz – especially when it's all over.

And the worst?

Obviously, hearing the alarm go off at 3.30am. Worse still, waking at 3.30am at the weekend because my body clock thinks that is when I should be rising.

How do you feel you influence the media?

I think we have a slow burn effect. By continually chipping away at something, "they" – be it government or big business – eventually take notice.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

Being made the Royal Television Society's News Presenter of the Year in 2004. I had never won so much as a sausage, and it was great for GMTV and the populist journalism we present.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

Saying live, on air, to a delightful woman who had lost her legs: "Can we trot through this from the top?" It doesn't get much worse than that.

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

We have The Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday delivered, but I tend to pick up most of the rest as well. I don't read many mags.

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

I'd like to convince more people in the media that age and experience are an invaluable asset, and that while "yoof" might keep the advertisers happy, lots of viewers value people who have been around the block a few times.

What would you do if you didn't work in the media?

Spend even more time travelling the country watching Manchester City.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

I remain a great fan of Parky. I have a huge admiration for Jon Snow, Sky's Jeremy Thompson and ITV's Julie Etchingham.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Account Executive / Account Manager

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive / Account Manager is ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Media Account Writers

£12000 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This social media management pr...

Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor (Magazine Publishing) - Wimbledon - £23-26K

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor - Wimbledon...

Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publishing) - Wimbledon - £26-30K

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publish...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones