My Life in Media: Kirsty Gallacher
Monday 05 May 2008
Kirsty Gallacher, 32, is the presenter of Gladiators, a remake of the cult Nineties game show that pitted action men and women such as Wolf and Lightning against mere mortals clutching pugil sticks. Born in Edinburgh, Gallacher is the daughter of the former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher and her first job was with Sky Sports. Since branching out from sports broadcasting, she has presented a regular slot on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. She lives in Surrey with her partner, rugby union player Paul Sampson, and their son, Oscar.
What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?
I wanted to be a fashion journalist and went to the London College of Fashion to do a journalism and promotion course. Afterwards I was at a dinner that Sky Sports was hosting for my dad, and Mark Sharman, now the head of ITV Sport but then the deputy head of sport at Sky, asked if I fancied coming in for a screen test. I said no. I was only 19 and not very confident. Someone persuaded me to have a go and I was awful, but they saw potential and gave me a job as a junior at Sky Sports. I love sport so I decided to go for it, thinking I could always go back to fashion. When they launched Sky Digital they used me as the main face for Sky Sports News, and that was it. I get my fix of fashion as a presenter and I'm not sure any more that I would have liked to travel round the world living out of a suitcase.
When you were 15 years old, which newspaper did your family get and did you read it?
We were a broadsheet family. I think we got The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, because my parents like different papers. I read them when I had time and always read the sport, but I did read a lot of magazines, too.
Describe your job?
It's very intense at the moment as we're doing 15-hour days on Gladiators. Ian Wright [her co-presenter] and I are filming for about three weeks in total with very few days off, but every day is good fun.
What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?
Usually the radio, which I put on while I'm feeding my 18-month-old son, Oscar. I listen to Classic FM to calm down. When he's screaming in the kitchen early in the morning, I don't want to listen to loud pop music.
Do you consult any media sources during the day?
I'm lucky in that, when I get in a car or arrive at work, I can choose from all the papers; otherwise I get my news from the TV. I'm a bit of a Luddite and I hate the internet.
What do you tune into when you get home?
I'm a bit of a news and history boffin. My dad and I read lots of history books; they're my escapism. I love the Biography Channel and the History Channel.
What is the best thing about your job?
It's so varied, and I'm freelance so I can choose what I do, which fits in very well with being a mum.
And the worst?
Being scrutinised by everybody. You know that will happen when you enter into a job in the public eye, but the downside is that you do read and hear some rubbish. I'm a very private person. I do the publicity I need to, but I say no to a lot.
How do you feel you influence the media?
Maybe the fact that I am a serious sports person and know a lot about it, but I am crossing that with light entertainment. It might sound ridiculous, but Gladiators is quite serious this time. People are fitter and more obsessed with being healthy and strong. It has evolved a lot since the old days of Gladiators. We've got some athletes like the 400m runner Du'aine Ladejo.
What is the proudest achievement in your working life?
Being one of the first women on Sky Sports with Gabby Logan and Kelly Dalglish, when there weren't many women around.
A nd what's your most embarrassing moment?
Ian Wright and I were on Jonathan Ross two weeks ago and he showed the clip of me hitting Nick Faldo in the leg. It's been on every bloopers show and is haunting me. I was in a Nick Faldo masterclass for kids and I missed the ball and hit him in the leg backwards.
What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?
We get everything on a Sunday, though I try to stay away from News Of The World. I'm a massive Vogue and Grazia fan.
What would you do if you didn't work in the media?
Hopefully I'd be in fashion.
Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire?
When you are presented with things you just have to go the way you feel is right for you at the time. I think Gladiators is going to be a very inspirational show for youngsters and being involved with it is great.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
It has to be Ant and Dec. It sounds cheesy, but they are brilliant at their job and the loveliest people you will ever meet. They are grounded, they are kind and they are caring. They also have their own production company so they re proper businessmen and have really done very well for themselves.
'Gladiators' starts on Sunday at 6pm on Sky One
1996: Becomes a production assistant at Sky Sports.
1998: Gets first presenting job on Sky Sports News.
2000: Hosts a You've Been Framed-style show, Kirsty's Home Videos.
2002: One of the original presenters of C4's RI:SE.
2004: Hosts ITV game show Simply The Best with Phil Tufnell, whom she teams up with for a BBC Radio Five Live show. Regular slot on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
2005: Wins The Games and co-presents the fourth series the following year with Jamie Theakston.
2006: Hosts Saturday sports round-up and Wednesday golf show for Five Live.
2007: Presenter of BBC1's The National Lottery.
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