My Life In Media: Trevor Beattie

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The Independent Online

Trevor Beattie, 45, has been chairman of the TBWA/London advertising firm since 2001, and its creative director since 1993. He grew up as one of eight children in Birmingham. He graduated from Wolverhampton Polytechnic in graphic design and photography.

So what inspired you to start a career in the media?

I always loved the adverts. I would sing the ad jingles as a kid. I only found out much later that there was such a job as advert writer. From then on it was the only thing I EVER wanted to do.

Cast your mind back to when you were 15 years old. What was the family newspaper and did you read it?

Daily Mirror. Every day. Birmingham Evening Mail. Every night. Sunday Mercury. Read them all cover to cover. My Dad was a news addict and I've become him.

And what were your favourite television programmes and radio shows?

Wacky Races, Tiswas, On the Buses, Match of the Day, World of Sport, It's A Knockout, How, Magpie, Blue Peter, The Goodies, Monty Python, Love Thy Neighbour, The Likely Lads, The Liver Birds, Dad's Army, Are You Being Served?, The Professionals, The Sweeney. The only radio I ever listed to was Radio One.

What is the best thing about your job?

Everything. Except the pointless meetings. I love the fact that I never know what will happen next. One minute chatting to Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela or Muhammad Ali, the next, arguing over the average girth of an oven chip.

And the worst?

Endless pointless meetings. They're like planes landing at Heathrow. You think the sky's cleared for a second then, ping! - another one appears.

Scroll on to the present. What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

Radio Five Live. On three radios around the house.

You've arrived at the office. Will you be consulting any media sources during the course of the working day?

All of them. Every newspaper, Sky News, Fox News, CNN, Radio Five, BBC Online, Campaign magazine, Boxing News, Richard & Judy.

What is the proudest achievement in your work?

Standing in front of a Labour Prime Minister, in Margaret Thatcher's old office at Number 10 Downing Street, presenting a poster which depicted William Hague sprouting Thatcher's hair and the headline: "GET OUT AND VOTE OR THEY GET IN" to smiles of approval. Oh, and meeting Nelson Mandela through Unicef.

And your most embarrassing moment?

In the 1980s, presenting the campaign line "Quintessentially English" to the board of Laura Ashley, before discovering that they were quintessentially Welsh.

Now you're back home. What will you tune in to?

Whatever's on TV. If in doubt, BBC2.

At the weekends, what is your Sunday paper and do you have any favourite magazines?

The Sunday Times and the News of the World. That's all you need. There's no room for anyone else and they set the news agenda for the week ahead.

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

To produce the ad campaign which plays its part in the re-election of a Labour government for a third term.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

Sit at home consuming it.

Who are your best friends in the media?

Oooh, and that'd be telling.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Rebekah Wade, for her stoicism; Victor Lewis-Smith for his wit, ingenuity and brutality; James Brown for his enthusiasm; Ian Hislop for Private Eye; Simon Kelner for being first on the compact newspaper thing; Jeremy Paxman for becoming a brand.