FIONA BRUCE THE TV PRE­SEN­TER ON CONQUERING HER NERVES, COL­LECT­ING AN­TIQUES… AND BE­ING A FES­TI­VAL VIR­GIN AT 53!

Fiona Bruce talks to Char­lotte Wil­liamson about conquering her nerves, col­lect­ing an­tiques – and be­ing a fes­ti­val vir­gin at 53

Woman & Home - - Contents -

FIONA BRUCE’S VOICE – DEEP, AU­THOR­I­TA­TIVE – EN­TERS THE ROOM BE­FORE SHE DOES. YOU CAN HEAR HER DIS­TINC­TIVE TONES AS SHE CLIMBS THE STAIRS TO THE STU­DIO, APOLOGISING FOR BE­ING LATE (EVEN THOUGH IT’S ONLY A COU­PLE OF MIN­UTES). SHE AP­PEARS UN­AF­FECTED BY THE MID­SUM­MER HEAT IN HEAD-TO-TOE WHITE, HER EYE­BROWS IM­PEC­CA­BLY ARCHED, HER HAIR NEWSREADER-PER­FECT. IT IS IN­STANTLY CLEAR WHY THE 53-YEAR-OLD HAS QUITE SO MANY MALE FANS – AND WHY SHE WAS ORIG­I­NALLY DEEMED “TOO SEXY” TO PRESENT An­tiques Road­show (HER PRE­DE­CES­SOR WAS MICHAEL ASPEL). THIS YEAR, THE BBC SHOW CEL­E­BRATES ITS 40TH AN­NIVER­SARY – AS WELL AS FIONA’S 10TH AS A PRE­SEN­TER – AND SHE LOVES ROAM­ING THE COUN­TRY LOOK­ING AT AN­TIQUES. “I’M PRO­FES­SION­ALLY NOSY, AND THE SHOW GIVES ME AN OP­POR­TU­NITY TO PEER INTO PEO­PLE’S LIVES AND HEAR THEIR STO­RIES.”

THE W&H SHOOT QUICKLY TURNS INTO A BRUCE FAM­ILY AF­FAIR AS NEIL, ONE OF FIONA’S TWO BROTH­ERS, AR­RIVES ALONG WITH HER SON, SAM. HERS IS A VERY CLOSE FAM­ILY, PARTLY BE­CAUSE THERE WAS SO MUCH MOV­ING AROUND WHEN THEY WERE CHIL­DREN. “WE HAD TO FALL BACK ON OUR­SELVES QUITE A LOT.”

FIONA WAS BORN IN SIN­GA­PORE WHERE HER FATHER WORKED FOR UNILEVER. GROW­ING UP, THE FAM­ILY LIVED ON THE WIRRAL AND IN MI­LAN BE­FORE SET­TLING IN SOUTH-EAST LON­DON. SHE WENT ON TO STUDY FRENCH AND ITAL­IAN AT OX­FORD UNI­VER­SITY, AND WORKED IN MAN­AGE­MENT CON­SUL­TANCY

AND AD­VER­TIS­ING UN­TIL A CHANCE

EN­COUNTER AT A PARTY WITH THE ED­I­TOR OF Panorama (AND MUCH PESTERING ON HER PART) LED TO HER FIRST JOB IN JOUR­NAL­ISM.

SHE HAS WORKED AT THE BBC SINCE 1989, AND IS NOW BEST KNOWN FOR PRE­SENT­ING THE Six O’Clock AND Ten O’Clock News, AS WELL AS An­tiques Road­show.

SHE LIVES IN NORTH LON­DON WITH

HER HUS­BAND, NIGEL, AN AD­VER­TIS­ING EX­EC­U­TIVE, AND THEIR TWO CHIL­DREN,

SAM, 19, AND 15-YEAR-OLD MIA. IT’S NOT OF­TEN THAT YOU GET TO WORK ON A PRO­GRAMME YOU WATCHED AS A CHILD.

I RE­MEM­BER SIT­TING ON THE SOFA WATCH­ING An­tiques Road­show WITH MY PAR­ENTS, AND I WAS SO THRILLED WHEN I WAS ASKED TO PRESENT IT. WHEN I STARTED AS A RE­SEARCHER ON Panorama, I WOULD NEVER HAVE DREAMT THAT I’D END UP WHERE I AM. MY PART IS ALL ABOUT TELLING A STORY – I CAN’T EVAL­U­ATE ANY­THING BUT I RECOG­NISE A STORY WHEN I SEE ONE.

SAY­ING THAT, I DID ONCE SPOT A VAN

DYCK! A COU­PLE OF YEARS AGO, A PRIEST BROUGHT ALONG A POR­TRAIT. HE WAS JUST ABOUT TO LEAVE AND WAS ASK­ING FOR MY AUTOGRAPH, WHEN I SAID, “LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT THE PAINT­ING” – WHICH HE SAID HE’D BOUGHT IN AN AN­TIQUES SHOP FOR £400. I WAS MAK­ING A PRO­GRAMME ABOUT VAN DYCK AT THE TIME AND THOUGHT IT LOOKED LIKE ONE. I TOOK SOME PHO­TO­GRAPHS AND SHOWED THEM TO THE EX­PERT PHILIP MOULD WHO I WORK WITH ON [THE BBC ART SE­RIES] Fake or For­tune?. HE THOUGHT I COULD BE RIGHT – AND IT TURNED OUT I WAS! IT ENDED UP BE­ING VAL­UED AT £400,000.

IF YOU’RE LOOK­ING FOR A MEDIUM-TO-LONGTERM IN­VEST­MENT, BUY BROWN VIC­TO­RIAN FUR­NI­TURE. YOU CAN GET BEAU­TI­FUL BOW-FRONTED CHESTS OF DRAWERS FOR NEXT TO NOTH­ING SIM­PLY BE­CAUSE THEY’RE NOT

“IN”. NO­BODY WANTS THEM – BUT THEY WILL. OTH­ER­WISE, BUY WHAT YOU LIKE. THAT’S WHAT I DO. I BUY PAINT­INGS FROM ON­LINE AUC­TION SITES. I OF­TEN SHOW THEM TO PHILIP MOULD AND SAY, “WHAT DO YOU THINK?” IT’S QUITE FUNNY – HE’S USED TO LOOK­ING AT SOME­THING WORTH MIL­LIONS, AND I’M SHOW­ING HIM SOME­THING FOR A COU­PLE OF HUN­DRED QUID.

THERE WAS A DEF­I­NITE TURN­ING POINT IN MY CA­REER. ONE SUM­MER IN THE EARLY >>

ON AN­TIQUES ROAD­SHOW

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