Leaving BBC Newcastle

fiona marley patersonAfter 2 years working for BBC Newcastle life has turned and taken me somewhere new: Kendal. I’ve had an amazing 2 years in a job I love, fuelling my addiction to adrenaline sports in the beautiful county of Northumberland, my home, and can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work in the Lake District – arguably even more beautiful, with even more adventure sports – for a dynamic programme: Lookaround on ITV Border (and Cumbria).

How it all started

It’s really a reporter called Tony Jones I have to thank. I asked TJ on my last day of work experience if I could come and see what he did in his Durham district office and instead of saying ‘alright’ he enthusiastically conspired with me. “Right gal,” he said, “don’t say anything but I’ve taken myself off rota for the day so they won’t be expecting us to do anything and we’re going to find a nice little story, go out and record something and you’re going to do it. Then if it’s any good we’ll offer it to Drive.”

At the end of the day I sounded like a young, female version of Tony Jones and the package on Stanhope Ford ran on both BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees.

I suspect it was this rather than my answer to ‘when have you been resourceful’ in the job interview that got me the gig. I answered with the story of how I’d got to the interview with the exhaust of my ancient, rapidly rusting bright orange Fiat Punto falling clean off in the middle of the road. I put it in the boot and drove 25 miles to the interview in something that sounded like an uncool tank.


TJ’s spirit of encouragement and teaching continued everyday at BBC Newcastle. Almost every package or live I did was met with a kind word from one of my thoughtful colleagues. There was advice from people who knew more than me and detailed feedback whenever I asked for it. You don’t get that kind of attitude everywhere in the media; it’s a family and I’m so grateful to have been part of it.

I loved the vision for the station and am pleased to say goodbye as its future looks even better: a Gillard award for station of the year and the best local radio listening figures outside of London. In terms of share it’s a lot better than London. There are some exciting new starters that I’m sure will help take the station into an ever more vibrant future that pushes for strong, original Journalism that makes being a politician or NHS head in the North East a tough place to do business.

But there’ll also be some laughs. I’ll leave the last word to Jonathan Miles:

2 thoughts on “Leaving BBC Newcastle

  1. What a super piece from Fiona Marley on her way into Journalism.
    I am sure it will inspire others who have the passion, enthusiasm as well as talent, to work hard for their goals in life. This story was of special interest to me, as I am TJ’s sister ! He is a wonderful brother and this article, only makes us prouder of him as a person. Thank you Fiona.
    I wish you every success in the Lake District, I have no doubt you will be a great success.

    1. Oh thank you Geraldine! I hope you, TJ and all your family are well and TJ is enjoying putting his feet up? There are some people that stick in your mind through your career and he is certainly one I shall always remember. He told me to get a pension (when I’d barely secured a contract!) and so he’s the reason I got my first job and the reason I may one day manage to retire too. One of life’s gems! Take care xx

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