After 25 years, the question is...

Jackie Bird in studio Jackie Bird has been on air for Reporting Scotland since 16 October 1989

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Jackie Bird, Reporting Scotland's most familiar face, has been on air for 25 years and is a regular presenter of Hogmanay Live. In 2012, the journalist and presenter collapsed at her home and required life-saving surgery for a strangulated bowel. In a quick-fire round of 25 questions, Jackie talks about life after near-death, a memorable interview with a politician and what has kept her going for over two decades.

1. How did you get the Reporting Scotland gig?

I approached the head of news as a young journalist and, after keeping in touch over the next ten years as my experience grew, he finally relented.

2. Standout memory from your first days on the job...

Being overawed working with people I'd grown up watching.

Jackie Bird with John Milne in Reporting Scotland studio Jackie with co-presenter John Milne in 1989

3. What has kept you going for 25 years?

Unrelenting enthusiasm.

4. Best piece advice you've ever had…

Try to contain at least some of your enthusiasm on screen.

5. Wise advice you've given someone else…

Don't do anything I do.

6. What or who inspires you?

My parents.

7. Favourite assignment…

Breaking news.

Jackie Bird at the scene of Maryhill explosion in 2004 At the scene of the Maryhill explosion in 2004

8. Biggest story you've covered…


9. A memorable moment was when…

George Galloway walked out of a live interview.

10. Have you ever been scared while on assignment?

There were moments travelling in Helmand where the threat of being shot down and killed or held hostage wasn't pleasant.

11. Best interview was with...

Jackie Bird in Edinburgh Jackie Bird promotes Hogmanay Live in Edinburgh in 2013

No big names, just chats often with vulnerable people who've trusted me.

12. When you're not presenting Hogmanay Live, how do you like to ring in the New Year?

It's been so long I can't remember.

13. What qualities make a good presenter?


14. What do you still find challenging about the job, if anything?

Off course it can be routine, but the challenging aspect is that you just never know what news is going to throw at you.

15. Which BBC programme would you like to present if you weren't doing this?

Historical documentaries. David Starkey, watch out.

David Starkey David Starkey - out of a job?

16. How did a near-death experience change your life?

Sadly it didn't. I thought I'd be a worry-free paragon of calm but within a few weeks I was back to my neurotic worst.

17. With two children and a full work schedule, are you of the opinion that women can have it all?

I wrote a sitcom series for Radio Scotland called Having It All based on that dilemma and got Michelle Gomez (Green Wing) to star in it. After a year of setting my alarm at 4am to write it while fitting in with my day job and family, I was borderline breakdown. I think that answers your question.

18. Favourite television or radio show…

The Archers

19. Thing you can't live without…

I should say my children/husband ... but my cats are right up there.

20. What song would you pick as the soundtrack to your life?

That's Life - Sinatra

21. What's your idea of a perfect weekend?

Going for long runs in the countryside and then too much food and probably a surfeit of alcohol.

22. It's rumoured that you were a backing singer for The Smiths. Any favourite songs?

The rumour-mill lies. My band toured with Echo and the Bunnymen, and I worked with Paul Weller.

23. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Jackie Bird in snowstorm The 'tenacious' journalist braves some bad weather

The thought of an enormous bowl of muesli.

24. The book you are currently reading is…

In It Together by Matthew D'Ancona.

25. What five words do you think best describe you?

As a former tabloid journalist let's sub this one down - I think "tenacious" should do it.

  • Reporting Scotland will be marking Jackie Bird's 25th anniversary with a montage on Wednesday October 15 and a Scotland 2014 special

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