TV Presenter Gaynor Barnes talks to Yorkshire Life
PUBLISHED: 23:26 11 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:51 20 February 2013
TV stalwart Gaynor Barnes talks to Tony Greenway about the joys of getting up while the birds are still snoozing
It's all change at ITV regional news, which means it's all change for Gaynor Barnes. Seventeen news regions have now become nine, with the loss of 430 jobs, and Gaynor has moved to Calendar's early morning slot during GMTV. 'There are only three presenting roles within Calendar now,' she says, enjoying the panoramic view of Post Hill from her Leeds kitchen while we sip our coffee. 'We're left with the two main presenters in the evening and me, the early girl. I seriously thought I might not get through this time. So I had a real sigh of relief. And anyway, change isn't necessarily a bad thing.' Even if it means stumbling out of bed at 4am every morning.
Q: Do you get recognised when you're browsing the shelves in M&S?
A: I like to think I'm fairly low-down on the celebrity scale. I always smile when people say 'hello' because my late father absolutely loved the fact that people recognised me. He got a kick out of it. So when anyone stops and passes the time I think 'That's for you dad!'. Most people are very pleasant and very nice, but I don't do the job for any 'celebrity' value.
Q: How did you end up here in Yorkshire?
A: I began in London as a research assistant in news and current affairs, working on (among other programmes) BBC's Question Time. I decided to make a move to front-of-camera regional news 18 years ago and sent an audition tape to Yorkshire Television, landing a job on Calendar. I've been here ever since. Yorkshire people will give you a chance to sink or swim. Fortunately, I swam.
Q: What do you like about Yorkshire?
A: My home and my husband. I've had a fantastic career here, so I don't regret a day of moving north of Watford. We're so blessed. The countryside is wonderful and we have fantastic restaurants and gastropubs. I do like my food.
Q:Talking of which, do you have a favourite place in Yorkshire where you like to eat?
A: Lots. My friends and I have a curry club. On a Sunday we go to a restaurant called Raja's on Roundhay Road. It's not flashy, it's very basic with paper tablecloths, but the food is fabulous.We've been doing that for 10 years.We text each other 'Curry club?' and we're there. Ooh, and Bibis in Leeds. My friends from London like that one.
Q: What do you dislike about Yorkshire?
A: The fact that my family don't live here. It would be lovely to have them here so that's a drawback. But when friends and family come up to see us, they love it as much as we do.
Q: Do you have a favourite Yorkshire view?
A: That one (points out the window to the incredible view of Post Hill). It's beautiful marking the changes of the seasons. Ralph (her husband) will ring me and say: 'Shall I book you the best seat in the house for dinner?'.Who could say no?
Q: What's the best thing about your job?
A: The variety it brings and the different stories we cover. Every day I learn something new. I've had to pinch myself sometimes because I've been all over the world with regional TV news. I've even cage-dived with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa. Amazing, and scary. At Calendar I get to meet people I absolutely revere, like Donny Osmond. He came out of his dressing room, smiled and said 'Gaynor, it's a pleasure'. I thought 'My God! The feeling's mutual'.