My Life in Media: Sarah Beeny

'I finally realised that if you want to have nice hair on television you have to get out of bed earlier'

Sarah Beeny, 35, is the presenter of Channel 4's Property Ladder. Now in its seventh series, the show was at the forefront of a new genre of property programmes when it launched and Beeny became a household name instructing first-time developers to keep colours neutral, know their market, and not to waste money on fixtures and fittings. She also runs a property development and investment company with her husband, Graham, and they live between south-west London and Yorkshire with their two sons.

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

I always liked the idea of working in showbiz but I'd never really thought about working in the media until it fell in my lap. I had met someone at a party whose sister was a researcher at talkbackTHAMES and they were looking for someone who worked in the building industry to do Property Ladder.

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

The Daily Telegraph, but I didn't really look at it.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

The A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, Blind Date. Radio 4 was on everywhere in our house and I remember the sound of The Archers theme tune from a very early age, though I've never actually listened to it.

Describe your job?

I have a building company and I also work for a television production company. I have a dating website, mysinglefriend.com, which takes up a massive amount of time now.

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

Metro if I go on the Tube.

Do you consult any media sources during the day?

I listen to Radio 2 and I flick around between the channels depending on my mood.

What is the best thing about your job?

Meeting loads of people and being able to talk all day.

And the worst?

It's probably being away from home. I like being at home.

How do you feel you influence the media?

I don't think that I influence the media at all. I think the media can force the market up and down, but I'm not sure television can. I think people recognise that television is just television, whereas I think that newspapers can push a market and push sectors of the economy, by telling people what's going to happen.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

Having my name on a book. It is a really mind-blowing thing. I struggled to write the first one because I'm not qualified in any way to write a book and I wrote masses and masses. Now it's easier and I've just written a dating book with my business partner.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

My hair for the past seven years. It's a nightmare. I finally realised that if you want to have nice hair you have to get out of bed earlier. I always thought that if I got it cut the right way then it would just be all right. I've now realised that people who look really nice actually do something with their hair before they go on television. Those years of bad hair out there will haunt me for the rest of my life.

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

I've never really done live broadcasting. I think it would be great to be able to do that well.

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

We always get two: The Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Sport or the News of the World. I think it's quite nice to get two newspapers at either end of the spectrum of nonsense. I'll flick through Now or Heat if they're around.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

I admire proper showbiz types like Terry Wogan, Jonathan Dimbleby, Stephen Fry, Esther Rantzen and Dawn French.

The CV

1994 Starts a property company with her brother and boyfriend, Graham, whom she has since married
2001 Helps couples take advantage of a rising market in the first series of Property Ladder
2002 Publishes the first of five Property Ladder books, How To Make Pounds from Property
2005 Launches the dating site, mysinglefriend.com and presents Streets Ahead
2006 Presents One Year To Pay Off Your Mortgage
2007 Presents the two-part show, How Toxic Are You? The seventh series of Property Ladder is currently on Channel 4 on Tuesday evenings

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