My Mentor: Lorna Dunkley on Tim Cunningham

'I'm far more relaxed about things now, which helps on screen'
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The Independent Online

I've known Tim since I came to Sky three and a half years ago and he was my first producer when I started presenting Sunrise. He's one of our top executive producers and is very well respected for being calm and organised and having good ideas: he's just the sort of person you need when all hell breaks loose.

You know the way Sky works - everything happens so quickly. It was completely different to anything I'd done before. I was on air for four hours with breaking news all the time. The experience was like being hit by a bus.

When you're on television you are aware of people watching you and you don't want to sound stupid. You're often thinking, "I can't ask that. That's just a bit vague." But we often get caught up in news-speak and getting it back to basics and to real people is very important. Tim is aware of that.

He is always keen to say, "Be yourself. Don't fall into a mould." So when I'm interviewing a politician, even if I think it might sound stupid, I ask the stupid question. If you don't understand it other people won't either; the viewer will get more out of what they're seeing.

I was on air when the 7 July bombings happened and Tim was in the next team. He kept Sky's coverage going and was involved in us being the first to have pictures of the bus, pictures of people coming out of the Tube and getting viewers images on air quickly. Not every executive producer can do what he did that day under such circumstances, and with the stress that we were all feeling knowing that where we lived was being attacked by terrorists.

We were on the show together for about 18 months and I changed amazingly in the way I approach what I do. I'm far more relaxed about things now, which helps on screen. I'm a completely different presenter to the one that started at Sky and Tim has been instrumental in that.

Lorna Dunkley presents Sky News' Sunrise, 6-10am

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