Richard Woolfe: My Life In Media

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The Independent Online

What inspired you to start a career in the media?

When I was 15 I went to a recording of That's Life!, and it was the most inspirational, magical place I'd ever been. I thought to myself: "I want to be in charge of this place."

When you were 15 years old, what was the family newspaper and did you read it?

The Daily Mail and the Brighton Evening Argus. I used to read them through and through.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

Grange Hill, Blue Peter, Jim'll Fix It, That's Life!, Noel Edmonds' Multi-Coloured Swap Shop - that was absolutely amazing. I did write into Jim'll Fix It asking to be a Blue Peter presenter, but they didn't fix it for me. I was heartbroken, I would have been brilliant.

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

I wake up to Radio 4's Today programme, then I put the TV on and I flick between Sky News and BBC Breakfast, but mainly I get a big fix off GMTV.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

Broadcastnow.co.uk and the MediaGuardian site.

What's the best thing about your job?

I run the channel of the year. I absolutely love it. I can't believe I get paid to work!

And the worst?

Boring meetings that are not creative.

What is the proudest achievement in your working life?

I shall always be very proud of the fact that when I worked on That's Life! as a producer I was responsible for the jailing of three paedophiles and I changed the law. As a parent now I think that's pretty important.

And your most embarrassing moment?

My most recent embarrassing moment happened in front of the entire company. I managed to fall off the stage as I finished delivering my strategy for LIVINGtv. It was only 18 inches but as I landed, my left ankle twisted and then everybody fell about laughing. Being a trooper, or incredibly vain, I refused to leave the meeting until it had ended and then I called an ambulance as I knew I couldn't walk.

At home, what do you tune in to?

Radio, particularly in the morning. We've got seven televisions in our house and they're pretty much all on at the same time. We have Sky pumped all around the house. Sky+ has revolutionised my viewing. I watch Desperate Housewives, Extreme Makeover, Most Haunted, Have I Got News For You, Spooks and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

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

I always take the Sunday Times and the News of the World, and I go down to the shop and have a look and we end up with four or five papers. I'm a big Heat fan; there's Heat time allocated in my diary.

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

After I've made LIVINGtv the sixth channel I'd like to run an American network.

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

I'm a qualified English and drama teacher and spent four terms in schools in some of the most deprived areas in Manchester; or I'd like to run a restaurant.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Michael Grade because when I started as a researcher on That's Life! he was the controller of BBC1 and I've watched his career. When I first got into TV he had the job that I really wanted and I thought he was such an incredible impresario. David Liddiment is a fantastic mentor and friend.

The cv

1985: Dips into broadcasting as a freelance reporter and researcher at Radio Sussex

1986: Joins 'That's Life!' as assistant producer and spends five years on the show, rising to executive producer

1991: Promoted to BBC entertainment and features producer, working on 'The National Lottery Live'

1996: Moves to the independent sector with stints at Real Television, Granada and Planet 24

2001: Appointed controller of Flextech television's LIVINGtv

2003: Richard becomes director of programming for LIVINGtv, Ftn and men's channel Bravo

2004: Launches LIVINGtv2, specialising in live reality shows such as 'Most Haunted Live'

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