Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Comedy heart

Sian Welby hosts a primetime slot on Heart radio, Monday to Thursday evenings from 7 to 10pm and Sundays from 9am to 12pm. Sian’s fun, mischievous and vibrant show has attracted high profile guests from the world of entertainment, including Ed Sheeran, Chris Pratt, P!nk and Sam Smith. Away from radio, Sian hosts the BBC One Snapchat account and the hugely popular in-house live trivia app for Heart, Heart’s Triple Play on Facebook, weekdays from 4.30pm.
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Sian Welby hosts a primetime slot on Heart radio, Monday to Thursday evenings from 7 to 10pm and Sundays from 9am to 12pm. Sian’s fun, mischievous and vibrant show has attracted high profile guests from the world of entertainment, including Ed Sheeran, Chris Pratt, P!nk and Sam Smith. Away from radio, Sian hosts the BBC One Snapchat account and the hugely popular in-house live trivia app for Heart, Heart’s Triple Play on Facebook, weekdays from 4.30pm.

Q Sian, you started presenting when you were aged 19 – how did you break into the (TV presenting) industry?
As crazy as it sounds, it was all because of a comment made to me when I was in sixth form: “You remind me of Cat Deeley!” I was into acting at the time and it gave me a new focus, to be a presenter. I searched online and joined a website called It advised dressing for the job and I took it to the next level with a friend who helped film a showreel full of clips of me doing the jobs I wanted: pretending to be at Glastonbury, interviewing celebrities, and it worked! Once I landed real jobs, I gradually replaced the clips until my showreel was pretty strong.

Q You were announced as the new face for Channel 5 weather in 2010. How did that feel?
It was surreal. I was part time presenting, part time working in New Look, and I remember taking a Saturday off without asking to do an advert in London. I got a call from my boss at the time asking: “Sian, where are you?” and I had to admit what I was doing. That advert led to me being spotted by the boss of Channel 5 and the next thing I knew I received a call for a meeting. I left the meeting feeling positive, but never expected a call two weeks later inviting me to be the new face of Channel 5 weather. I knew nothing about weather! It was amazing.

Q You originally wanted to go to drama school after A levels, but no regrets I assume?
No regrets. As corny as it sounds, I do believe in fate; things happen for a reason and my life has been all about timings. So far, it’s been a lot of graft that’s led to some incredible opportunities, but I would like to go back to acting in some shape or form. It’s just so much fun. I didn’t really fit in drama school because all I ever wanted to do was comedy! I have such a passion for comedy, my mission every day is to talk about funny things on the radio or tweet something funny, so the dream would be to have a part in a sitcom. When I look back at shows like The Office or Extras, I just wish I had been part of them. I’ll write something one day, probably about the madness of showbiz!
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Q You’re an extremely versatile talent, can you describe a typical day if there is such a thing for you?
I go through phases where my day looks a particular way. At the moment I’m writing a book, so a typical day involves dragging my reluctant body to the gym before sitting down to a day of editing. I’ve completed the book so now I’m working on turning that first draft into something vaguely readable and funny. It’s a comedy so as well as coming up with a compelling story, I want people to laugh all the way through it. That takes a while to get right.

Q Confidence plays a huge role in life especially in a public, media-facing job such as yours – would you agree?
Yes, but I think it’s also important to balance that confidence with authenticity so that you don’t feel you have to pretend to be something or someone you’re not. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained confidence from just learning more about who I am, avoiding toxic situations and people and being more present.

Q Is it easy to switch between comedy and ‘serious’ acting?
I don’t think of it as comedy acting or serious acting. It’s just acting. I prepare for any role I take on and hope it’s what the director wants and that the style of acting I’ve gone for matches what everyone else is doing! Also, weirdly, despite my stand-up background, I haven’t been in many comedies. I tend to get cast in serious stuff like Kiri.

Q You’ve been very successful at Celebrity Mastermind – what’s your secret?
Pick a topic that doesn’t require too much research! I chose The Matrix as my specialist topic the first time. I loved the films anyway which made it infinitely easier. The second time I chose John Humphreys as my specialist subject. That was harder to research and I felt like a bit of a stalker! It was worth it though because on the night it was funny hearing him ask questions in the first person. I’m glad he was so game.

Q You’re a playwright. Can you tell us a little about this?
I’ve dabbled with playwriting, but my real passion is screen writing. I’ve had a few small commissions with E4 and SkyArts, but my goal is to follow Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s lead and get my own show made. That’s the dream.

Q Have you noticed a change in attitude towards women and minorities from when you began your career?
Definitely. There’s a lot more inclusion on screen, but there’s also more acceptance of the conversation. Previously, people would host panels and wax lyrical that things needed to change, then everything would stay the same. Now there’s much more action to go with that talk. It’s exciting because all we’re really after is for the media to reflect how the world is, diverse. The next battle front is diversity behind the camera which is still painfully mono-cultured.

Q What’s the question you never get asked, but would like to be?
Would you like us to commission your TV series?
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Quick five
Dog or cat? Dog
Favourite current TV programme?
I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!
Guilty pleasure?
Main inspiration?
Work hard, be nice to people.
Glass half full or half empty?
It’s always full. To the brim. I don’t do negative.
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ALL PHOTOS. Photo copyright: Joseph Sinclair
Q Did (and do) you compare yourself to other presenters?
It’s a very small world working in media and you end up meeting all your heroes. I really looked up to presenters like Ant and Dec, Zoë Ball and Jamie Theakston, and I’ve now met, worked with or interviewed them – they are just the most down to earth, talented people. I’ve always wanted to be the best, but not at the cost of being ruthless, by working my way up properly, no shortcuts, and earning respect from others in media. People think it’s a very bitchy industry, but most of us are actually mates. Rather than feel jealous if someone gets a job I wanted, I end up just feeling pleased for them. When the grafters in the industry start getting their break, it actually makes you feel proud and confident that eventually you’ll get your turn too.

Q Have you ever regarded being a presenter as ‘just another job’?
I never take it for granted. I’m from a very small village in the Midlands with no connections to the industry. I have pinch myself moments all the time. Sometimes I look around the room and I’m sat next to Simon Cowell or Barbara Windsor waiting for the tap on my shoulder to say: “Madame, get out” as if I’ve sneaked in!

Q Confidence plays a huge role in life, especially in a public, media facing job such as yours – do you agree with that?
Yes, 100%. Presenting is an amazingly rewarding job, but also terrifying at the same time. You can’t fake confidence. Anyone making a job look easy has always put in so much hard work. You have to be true to who you are and stick to your gut. It’s tricky to navigate sometimes and there’s a lot of pressure.

Q What have you found to be the worst and best thing about presenting?
The best thing is that I never dread Mondays. I love my job, I work with incredible people every day, I laugh out loud every day and I’ve made some friends for life. The worst thing is that the harder you work and the closer you get to those bigger jobs, the more pressure and criticism from the outside world. Stories in the press, comments, tweets, you name it, and it doesn’t matter who you are or how famous, a mean comment or story will always hurt and sadly sometimes overshadow all the lovely ones. I know as my career progresses, I’ll have to face this more and it does terrify me. I’m not a show off, I don’t want constant praise, but I am a very happy person and I just want to stay that way!
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Q You’ve obviously got a marked sense of humour and this came to the fore whilst presenting Channel 5 weather. Can you explain what you did to liven it up?
I’ve been that mate in the friendship group who’s done dares and silly stunts all my life. When I got to Channel 5, it just meant that those dares ended up going out on national television! I’d sneak words in to make the crew in the TV gallery laugh, then I opened it up to Twitter and played a game #daresianonafriday where I’d get random words like ninja or cucumber in a 40 second broadcast! Eventually this escalated to 18 Star Wars’ puns in one forecast! I was getting calls from American TV shows such as Good Morning America asking me to talk about these pun forecasts, calls from radio stations like KROQ and KIIS, followed by Australian media, then movie companies wanting me to feature their film. It was hilarious, such a bizarre time!

Q Fancy going into films?
I’d love to! Funnily enough, I had a cameo in a thriller starring Michael Fassbender titled The Snowman. I appeared as a Swedish weather presenter (with a Midlands’ accent). Surprisingly it got cut! Ha ha!

Q You appear to like presenting various cycling-related shows. Do you cycle a lot yourself?
Yes, I grew up in the countryside, so I love getting out on my bike; you feel so free, I like doing things that make me feel like a kid again. I recently went to Los Angeles and taught myself to skateboard because I thought it looked cool going down Venice Beach. I brought it back with me…haven’t touched it since!

Q You teamed up with Ed Sheeran last year live on air and recently went to his secret gig – how did that go? Big fan?
He is just the best. He genuinely makes you feel like a mate. He was my first interview at Heart radio and he remembers things like that. You interview him again and he remembers your name and what we spoke about. He must meet so many people, so that’s an incredible likeable quality about him. He’s just really grounded. I’m always impressed when people who live such a manic lifestyle manage to stay so down to earth. When I went backstage to chat to him at Heart Live with Ed Sheeran, the first thing he said was: “Hey Sian, you’ll love this, I’ve got a Nando’s delivered!”

Q You are active on the charity front, particularly Leonard Cheshire and the Sick Children’s Trust. Why have you chosen to involve yourself especially with these?
I just love hanging out with kids so much, they always bring out my silliest side! It’s really rewarding just giving a bit of my time. Spending time with people at the day centre at Leonard Cheshire fills my heart, I always leave buzzing. Stepping out of the surreal life of television and radio and meeting real life heroes who have all sorts against them but are still laughing and smiling teaches you so much.

Q Have you noticed any change in attitudes towards women these days?
Yes, and it’s wonderful. From the early weather girl days in 2010 to now, it feels like there’s been huge changes. I’ve never felt more respected than I have at Heart, they are incredible. From day one they’ve trusted me to be me, make my show my own. They’ve taken on board ideas, encouraged my progression and allowed me to realise some bucket list moments, from switching on Regent Street’s Christmas lights to electrocuting Chris Pratt, my CV has definitely become more interesting.

Q How was it turning on the Christmas lights in Regent Street last year?
Literally a childhood dream come true. I still can’t believe it.

Q Who would you walk across hot coals to work with?
Ant and Dec.

Q What’s next for Ms Welby?
I’m loving Heart radio so much and it’s made me a much better presenter. I actually can’t watch any old clips of me on television anymore because it makes me cringe. I would love to do something fun on TV: 2019 is going to be a big year, I can feel it.
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See more about Sian on the Heart Radio website here >>>
Instagram: sianwelby