KIRSTY l)()liS lT standing tip. A cheap gag. maybe. btit one hinting at higher things. Since Big Ben first honged. TV news had been delivered by flat-faced men with sombre suits and clipped tones. sitting behind the simple desk of truth. smothering the day‘s burning issues in RP and textbook gravitas. Sure. there have been women Anna l-‘ord. Angela Rippon. Moira Stuart but they have been desk-bound newshounds. unsexed in hlocky jackets and l-mean—husiness hairdos.

Then. suddenly. in an explosion of primary colours. liive Facts and bite-size items comes (‘hannel Five News. The camera pans across a bustling. buzzing newsroom and settles on a woman. not behind a desk. but perched on the damn thing. giving headlines like they're going out of style. This is Kirsty Young and

At only 29 years old, MRST‘.‘ YOU

she is gloriously. uproariously. notoriously blonde.

Since its rainlmw—hued arrival last March. (‘hannel Five News has thrown television journalism‘s autocue out of the newsroom window. lts audience isn‘t massive. but it's growing. and a recent schedule shift to 7pm. where it now goes head-to-head with the monolithic (‘hannel 4 News. shotild boost ratings. More importantly. they‘re winning back the young people who would rather pour sulphuric acid in their ears than listen to Jeremy Paxman.

Media analysts can talk all they like about


a winning format and a populist ethos. btit the smart money says it‘s Kirsty who's pulling in the punters. With her (iticci trouser-suits and artistically totlsletl gold ‘n‘ chocolate locks. Young is sassier than Sissons. cooler than Snow. When she tells you about the starving millions in I/Iu! husky. dusky Scottish accent. the world don't seem like such a bad place alter all.

Almost certainly. her voice think Mariella l‘rostrup raised in Stirling on a strict diet of (‘uhan stogies helped land Young a lucrative contract with Talk Radio. where she chats tip the nation between 6.30am and 9am every weekday morning. But Kirsty isn‘t the kind of gal who‘s content with a paltry two high-profile jobs. Starting on liaster weekend is Kirsty Young Interviews. a Face To [Vacc—

style. in-depth show where she grills a topical celebrity for 30 minutes. There will be no studio audience and it all sounds a hit serious. not at all the sort of fluff that (‘hannel 5 specialise in.

'The kind of people that we want to speak to usually give these four or five minute press interviews.‘ Young says. 'so the idea is that in half an hour we can see a lot more of them and that‘s more satisfying.‘

In line for the Young treatment is Peter l’onda. recently ()scar-nominated for U/ev's (in/(l. She seems to he genuinely fascinated by the actor. a good sign. perhaps. of the energy


has the world at her feet. Now glam news presenter and DJ is tackling the world's celebrities in a brand new interview show. Words: Peter Ross

she's going to bring to the show.

‘l’eter l‘onda‘s had this very unnatural. bizarre existence where he's been famous from the moment he popped forth from the

womb.‘ she enthuses. ‘If your mother slits her

throat when you're ten and your father is a big movie star. you‘re not going to be the most straightforward of people.‘

Young isn‘t without complexity either. 011 TV. for all her youthful freshness. she seems controlled and authoritative. and you might expect the same measured calm when the cameras stop rolling. In person. however. she is friendly. giggly. normal hard to believe as that is.

At 2‘). Young is rumoured to be raking in {750.000 a year. She rises at 5am and is fronting a demanding radio show an hour and

a half later. She then has a post-show meeting before heading home for a bath. a squint at the papers or a run to clear her head. That done. she nips over to lTN for 3pm to prepare for the (‘hannel 5 News at 7pm. By 7.45pm she's out the door and off home to read tip for the next day when she does it all over again. And this is before the new show is added to the equation. Does she not feel that there‘s just too much going on‘.’

‘My time off is the most precious aspect of my life.” she replies. 'l knew it was going to be really hard work. but it makes an enormous difference if you like what you're doing. I‘m