TV pro­ducer Clair shows she’s got the X Fac­tor

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Thom Mor­ris tmor­ris@thek­m­

YOU will have heard of the shows – X Fac­tor, Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here – but did you know one Ash­ford woman has pro­duced and di­rected all three?

For­mer High­worth pupil Clair Breen grew up in Har­vey Road, Willes­bor­ough, and has been work­ing in the tele­vi­sion busi­ness since she was 22.

Since then the 31-year-old has worked on shows in­clud­ing Big Break­fast, Fame Academy, Soap­star Su­per­star and Hell’s Kitchen.

Now liv­ing in Hack­ney in east Lon­don, her ca­reer started at the bot­tom. She said: “As most peo­ple that work in the in­dus­try would prob­a­bly agree, you have to start at the bot­tom and work your way up with hard work, pa­tience and determination.

“I moved to Lon­don when I was 18 and stud­ied at the Lon­don Guild­hall Uni­ver­sity. In my fi­nal year I was in­tro­duced to a guy who worked on TFI Fri­day. He put me in touch with the pro­duc­tion man­ager and I got some work ex­pe­ri­ence as a run­ner.


“While there I was given a con­tact for the Big Break­fast, and a few weeks af­ter fin­ish­ing my de­gree I got a per­ma­nent run­ner’s job on the show.

“Johnny Vaughan asked for me to make his toast ev­ery morn­ing be­cause he liked the way I made it. That got me a per­ma­nent run­ner’s po­si­tion on set.”

Clair went to St Teresa’s pri­mary school in Quan­tock Drive be­fore mov­ing to the North School and High­worth to take her GCSEs and A-lev­els.

A reg­u­lar in the County pub in the High Street, Clair would also go out with friends to Flat Foot Sam’s or Cales to dance the night away.

She still man­ages to get home at least once a month to see friends and her fam­ily who live in the town.

She said: “I still call it home; it’s where I grew up and where I ex­pect to head back to once I tire of the big smoke. My hus­band is from just out­side of Ash­ford too, so our roots are firmly set there.”

Since then Clair has moved into pro­duc­ing and di­rect­ing while work­ing with some of the world’s big­gest celebri­ties in­clud­ing Richard Gere, Cate Blanchett, An­gel­ica Hous­ton and Daniel Craig.

But what about the big boss him­self – Si­mon Cow­ell?

She said: “I wouldn’t de­scribe him as mean. He al­ways gives an hon­est opin­ion and peo­ple ad­mire him for that. He tells it how it is.

“As a boss he’s in­spir­ing, he works re­ally hard and al­ways drives to come up with new and ex­cit­ing ideas. He never set­tles for sec­ond best.”


With the fi­nal of The X Fac­tor this week­end ex­pected to at­tract about 20 mil­lion view­ers, work is stepped up a gear in prepa­ra­tion, with ru­mours of per­for­mances by Paul McCart­ney and Ge­orge Michael.

She added: “Peo­ple ask about the job ev­ery­where I go. They al­ways ask if I’ve met any­one fa­mous and what the judges on X Fac­tor are like. I say they’re pretty much ex­actly as you see them on the show. The best part of the job is the buzz.

“It’s a re­ally stress­ful, high­pres­sured job but when you see the fruits of your labour there’s noth­ing bet­ter.

“You can watch back and think ‘I filmed that, I in­ter­viewed that per­son – they’re talk­ing to me’ or ‘I di­rected those thou­sands of peo­ple to cheer and wave’.

“The week of the fi­nal is ful­lon and it’s al­ways re­ally ex­cit­ing mak­ing a quick dash for the stu­dio from the edit suite to see the win­ner per­form. You get goose bumps.”

Michael Bublé and Rob­bie Wil­liams will re­port­edly join Ge­orge Michael to per­form duets with the fi­nal three X Fac­tor con­tes­tants this week­end. Ac­cord­ing to The Mir­ror, Bublé will sing with Stacey Solomon, Michael will ap­pear with Joe McElderry and Wil­liams will per­form with Olly Murs.

Ex-Bea­tle McCart­ney is be­lieved to be play­ing a solo song on the Sun­day night of the two-day fi­nal.

For­mer High­worth pupil Clair Breen, from Willes­bor­ough, has been work­ing in the TV busi­ness since she was 22

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