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Notts TV's Becky Sheeran

May 2014

HER original plan was to be an investment banker in the City but a lifelong love of the media drew Becky Sheeran back to Nottingham and the BBC, where her late father had worked for years.
“He was the reason I became interested in the media when I was a kid,” says the 26-year-old, who was born in the Nottinghamshire village Widmerpool.
“He was a news cameraman. It was back in the day when he’d have to get on his motorbike with the footage and take it to London for it to be edited.
“He’d tell us stories about all the chaos in the studio.”
Years later she’d have first hand experience of what can go wrong while working for local media.
“I started at the BBC in Nottingham as a news reporter and we did a piece on windsurfing. I was wearing a headcam to get all the footage on the water and when I went to get changed and rip off my wetsuit I forgot the camera was still running,” she laughs.
“The playback on the camera wasn’t working so I couldn’t watch the footage back or edit it. So I took it back to work and gave it to a cameraman saying ‘ There is something on this that you need to delete. And you will know what it is when you see it.’ To this day I don’t know what was on that footage or what happened to it.”
Becky now lives in the village where she was born with her sister Hollie, a recent broadcast journalism graduate.
“It’s out in the sticks and really small. My first school only had 29 children in it. Then I went to Loughborough High School, which was very posh. Hollie didn’t get into the high school so she went to the convent school next door. I’m not sure how I would have coped with that.”
It was while there that she developed a passion for maths and economics.
“I was a geek,” she admits.
After two years at High Pavement College and as a result of “being dumped” by her boyfriend of two years, she went travelling around the world for nine months on her own.
“I was working in orphanages in the Caribbean to start with, which sounds glam but really it wasn’t.
“When I came back I went to the London School of Economics to study economics and human geography. My plan was to be an investment banker.”
During her second year she began working for a financial consultancy firm, who offered her a full-time job when she graduated.
“I was advising banks and shops on credit cards, which sounds dull but I enjoyed it. And it was good money but really long hours. After a few months I realised that I wasn’t doing something that I loved.”
The next step was, to say the least, polar opposite of the finance industry; she became a private investigator.
“Like any child I wanted to be a spy,” she grins.
“I really fancied doing some undercover filming and I came across a lot of private investigation companies; applied for about 20 and the one which gave me a job happened to be in Nottingham.
“It was fascinating work. On my first day I was following around a couple who were having an affair. There were a lot of extra-marital affairs but also fraud and child protection.
“We did one case where a father who hadn’t been given custody of his children wanted to prove that the mum was an alcoholic.
”A lot of the investigators were ex-army and ex-police because the work involved long hours sitting in cars watching and waiting. You had to pee in bottles. Yes, me too; I had to go in a McDonald’s cup.”
Becky lasted about five months before deciding it was time to go.
“I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life stalking people from a car. And I was being pressured to get involved in honeytrap work; trying to get men to seduce me to prove they were capable of being unfaithful to their partners.”
She applied for work experience at the BBC in Nottingham and did two weeks with regular TV presenter Marie Ashby.
“They said that if I was serious about journalism I needed to get a qualification, so I did a masters in broadcast journalism at Nottingham Trent.”
After starting as a news reporter for the BBC, Becky moved to weather presenting on TV and radio at the BBC’s London Road studios, standing in for Anna Church while she was on maternity.
“I was doing the weather for the East and West Midlands and Manchester. And it’s so much harder than you might think. If you get it wrong you get a really tough time from the public.”
At the same time she was making good money from her own YouTube channel TalkBeckyTalk, where she takes viewers through her beauty routine.
“It started while I was at university,” says Becky, who keeps fit by roller skating along the banks of the River Trent.
“It was me, cooking; a student learning how to cook. I did it for fun but then it started to grow and I realised you could make money from it.
“YouTube contacted me after I had just 1,000 subscribers,” says Becky who now has over 100,000 people signed up to get regular updates of her showing different beauty products and tips.
“YouTube put adverts at the start of your video and you get a cut of that revenue.
“Also, a brand may send you a product to talk about.Or they’ll sponsor you to review their product. But I never talk about anything I don’t like.”
The channel is now signed to a fashion network called Style Hall and the agency Storm, which started out as a modelling agency but has branched out in to brand management.
“I do the YouTube channel four days a week at least two hours a day. A lot of the audience are young girls and teenagers because for them it’s like having an older sister.
“As well as make-up and hair, I do talk about fashion, my home... everything about my life really.”
It included a piece to camera about her dad, who died earlier this year from a brain aneurysm aged just 59.
“I was in Los Angeles when it happened, filming for TalkBeckyTalk. I’d seen him a couple of days before I flew out and he was so happy and healthy. We were planning a 60th birthday.
“When he died I knew my life would never be the same. I felt the need to pay tribute to him and to tell my subscribers what was happening. The response was amazing. The comments people left really helped me through it.”
The success of the channel is partly the reason she left the BBC.
“They asked me to shut it down because, as a public organisation, there was a conflict of interest. I miss my time there so much but I’m really excited to be a part of Notts TV.”
She appears on Nottingham’s first ever TV channel, which launched this week, every Thursday and Friday, presenting the news at 5.30pm and the magazine programme The 6:30 Show.
On Thursday that will include a mini-series called Hidden Gems.
Says Becky: “I want to find little places in Nottingham from tea shops and butchers to hardware stores with amazing characters.
“On Friday I’ll be talking about the entertainment on offer across the county and there are plans to do regular pieces on budget fashion.”
She adds: “I’m so proud to be from here and I know that sounds corny but it’s true. And I’m keen to show other people the Nottingham I love.”
Notts TV is on Freeview channel 8 and Virgin channel 159. You can see Becky’s videos on YouTube, search TalkBeckyTalk. She’s also on Twitter: @TalkBeckyTalk.

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