My Mentor: Shelagh Fogarty On Geraldine Woods

'I've always been drawn to people who aren't too Grave to get the job done'
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The Independent Online

I met Geraldine in 1989 at BBC Radio Merseyside, shortly before I began my BBC reporter training. We also worked together at Granada on This Morning, when it was still broadcast from Liverpool. Geraldine produced the phone-in element and I was a "phone-in girl".

My first impression was that she was great fun, and I've always been drawn to people who don't have to be too grave at work to get the job done. We've become close friends and since those early days I've learnt she's also one of the brightest, most loyal and shrewd people I have ever met.

This Morning sometimes used staff to illustrate items, and we still laugh about when she brought in Vidal Sassoon to check out my long, dark hair with a view to cutting it into a bob. He gave it a good old scrunch and declared theatrically: "No!" Thanks, Vidal.

Her next attempt to launch my daytime TV career was reviewing a sex video trying to pass itself off as medical help. It was soft porn, unless I've led a very sheltered life. She also once shoved me into the green room to facilitate a conversation between Sir Cliff Richard and a Mexican mariachi band. You get the picture.

Our paths have crossed a few times since, and now she is my agent. It's early days, but once she's put down the gin and stubbed out the cigar, I'm sure the work will roll in!

She has an unrivalled deftness when it comes to giving advice. She simply reminds me of my strengths and my capacity to know the right thing for myself.

I know it sounds a bit schmaltzy - especially now she works as my agent - but as friends and mentors go, she is most definitely True North when the compass starts to go crazy. Lucky me.

Shelagh Fogarty presents BBC Radio Five Live's breakfast show. Geraldine Woods is an agent at The Roseman Organisation