Winifred Robinson was born in Liverpool, the daughter of a Liverpool docker. She has five sisters.
After attending Liverpool University she started her BBC career in Manchester, reporting and presenting for the regional TV news programme Northwest Tonight. She went on to work as Local Government and then Social Affairs correspondent for the BBC in the North West, and also reported for File on Four, the Radio 4 documentary series which is made in Manchester.
She came to London in 1995 as a reporter on the Today programme, specialising in social affairs. She reported on gang warfare in Liverpool, HIV infection in Edinburgh and the riots surrounding the Drumcree stand-off in Northern Ireland. She won a bronze Sony award in 1998.
She had her first baby, Tony, in 1999 and joined the You and Yours team in 2001.