Photographed in the BBC Council Chamber, Broadcasting House, under the watchful eye of the first Director General, Lord Reith, I wondered what he would have thought of a woman now being responsible for the global acquisition of factual programmes for BBC Television – I like to think he would approve.
In tune with Hertford’s long-standing commitment to broadening access, my fellow historians joining the college in 1982 were, with one exception, entirely female and predominantly state educated. Tutorials spent mastering the competing demands of producing engaging narrative and rigorous analysis, under the exacting supervision of Dr Geoffrey Ellis and Dr Toby Barnard, proved to be the perfect grounding for a career in television. Drawn to Hertford for its strong musical reputation, I flourished too as principle flautist in the Oxford University Orchestra and as a soprano in our wonderful Chapel Choir.
With the love and support of my husband Paul, and children Laura and Edward, my career has seen me shape the European Commission’s media policy, play a strategic role in the launch of three BBC channels, direct countless leading names including David Attenborough and Judi Dench, and win two International Emmys. All due, in large measure, to the life changing opportunity of my three extraordinary years at Hertford.