Liam Dutton – Q&A

Liam Dutton


Where are you from?
Cardiff born and bred, but lived in London for the past 3 years.

How did you get started in broadcasting?
After doing a degree in Geography, I applied for a job as a Broadcast Assistant, working for the Met Office at the BBC Weather Centre in London. As part of the Broadcast Assistant role, I was given the chance to train as a presenter for television and radio in order to cover for Broadcast Meteorologists in the BBC’s Nations and Regions when they were on holiday or ill.

When was that?
I joined the BBC Weather Centre in October 2002, started presenter training in January 2003, and did my first TV broadcast in June 2003, at the tender age of 22.

Why News broadcasting?
I’ve always had an interest in the weather, and am a good communicator, so my job as a Broadcast Meteorologist is an excellent opportunity to combine these skills and use them to do something that I thoroughly enjoy.

Where else would have viewers seen or heard you before?
Right, here goes (deep breath); Television BBC Look North (Leeds), BBC Look North (Hull), BBC Points West, BBC East Midlands Today, BBC Wales Today, BBC Spotlight (Southwest), BBC South Today, BFBS Television, BBCi, BBC News 24 and BBC World Radio More than 20 different BBC Regional Radio stations, and BBC Radio 4. As you can see, I’ve been about a bit!

What is your Best on-air moment?
I love the freedom of doing an outside broadcast. A particular one that springs to mind was when I did the weather at Roath Park in Cardiff, beside the boating lake in summer – it was great fun!

What is your Worst on-air moment?
I was working at BBC Wales, presenting the weather on their main evening news programme ‘Wales Today’, and I was asked to introduce a package as it was weather related. However, when the newsreader handed to me and I turned to camera to read auto cue, they switched it off so I was left standing there… The reason they switched the auto cue off was because they thought I was going to do the weather (for which we ad-lib and don’t use auto cue). It had slipped their minds that I was also introducing a package before doing the weather! I stood there for what felt like the longest second of my life, frantically thinking what to do next! Luckily I had had a quick glance at the script before the programme started, and remembered roughly what it was about. I just ad-libbed something and threw to the package in the best way that I could. I thought I’d made a right hash of it, but nobody in the gallery even noticed, so it couldn’t have looked as bad as I felt! Pretty scary at the time, but funny when I look back on it. The joys of live television!

What would you like to do before your career ends?
I would like to broadcast on the 1, 6 and 10 O’clock news programmes on BBC ONE. I would also like to try other projects, such as presenting a programme about new technology and gadgets (similar to Tomorrow’s World), or a travel programme. Oh yeah, I’d also like to have a go at being the voice of the announcer on the Tube trains – “Mind the gap, please!” Weird I guess, but the thought of having to endure my own voice whilst travelling to work amuses me!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
As well as an interest in the weather and broadcasting, I enjoy music and am a keen pianist, aspiring to owning a grand piano one day. My other interests include new technology, nature and the environment, and travel. I also enjoy cuisine, and list skiing as something that I haven’t yet tried, but hope to do very soon!

What advice would you give to anyone that would like to get into the broadcasting world?
Be prepared to work very hard, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey too. It’s not as easy as it looks, so make sure you’re up for a challenge! More importantly, never forget your roots, and keep your feet firmly on the ground.

A big thanks to Liam for taking part.

Posted by Johnnie Larkin on Thursday 21 May 2009
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