Every Sunday morning she's bouncing around the Fully Booked studio, but knows that presenting children's television isn't kid's stuff.
Words: Alan Morrison
EVERYONE CARRIES AROUND memories of their favourite TV presenters from their youth. John Noakes and Valerie Singleton on Blue Peter. Philip Scofield and Sarah Greene on Going Live. So, years from now, who'll bring smiles of nostalgia to the faces of the current generation of kids? Edinburgh-born Gail Porter is a good bet.
The 27-year-old native of Portobello is a channel-surfer’s delight. She’s already been seen on ITV (Scratchy & Co and It’s A Mystery) and Sky (The Hit Mix). Later this year, she’ll present a maths programme for Channel 4’s education output. And at the moment, she’s scurrying from one end of
Glasgow to the other, filming How2 for Scottish Television and Fully
Booked for BBC Scotland.
’I’ve dedicated my life to working just now,’ she says, ’but I really like | being that busy. Some days I work from five in the morning until ten at 1 night, so I never seem to be going out anywhere or doing anything.But| ,’ just can’t believe I get paid to have a laugh.’
i Porter's times at Edinburgh Acting School set in motion a desire to get in
presenters, she has solid knowledge of the technical side of the business. After studying Visual Communications in Watford and Production Management at the National Film and Television School, she had stints with Scottish-based production companies as a VT operator, an assistant editor, a PA and, at the bottom end, a runner. She’s now got one eye on work geared more towards an adult audience and the other on writing and performing comedy.
’l’m a big fan of things like Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Shooting Stars,’ she admits. 'So if somebody offered me something in a sketch show, a Fast Show type thing, I'd love to do that.’
Slipping away from the ’children’s presenter’ tag won’t be easy, however. ’Other children’s producers are going to be watching other children’s shows, so that’s where they see you,’ Porter says. ’And I do look pretty young, so kids relate to me.’
She's certainly got the ambition - and the inventiveness — to get what she wants. For example, here's how she got her big break: ’One day a friend helped me make a showreel, just mucking about on the Royal Mile, with me going up and interviewing people, anybody. We cut it together into a three- minute tape and sent it off. Within a week I'd had five replies, with one company asking me to go for an audition.’
Soon she'll be flying off to New York to cover the opening of this summer’s mega-blockbuster, Godzilla. ’I remember New York when l was
younger,’ she says, eyes. sparkling in anticipation. ’It was full-on, really busy, really lively. My dad kept saying, "Don’t look at that”. So
now I can go back and look at whatever I want!’ Even the thought of another twenty-odd weekends spent filming Fully Booked
,/ doesn’t make her flinch. With ’ A ._\ enthusiasm like hers pouring
,. -‘ V out of your TV early in the
/ front of the cameras although, unlike many TV
morning, who needs a caffeine kick?
Fully Booked is on BBC2, Sundays, at 9.303m.