Sian Mary Williams (born 28 November 1964; "Sian", pronounced [ˈʃɑn]) is a Welsh journalist and current affairs presenter.[1][2] From 2005 to March 2012, she was a co-presenter of BBC Breakfast on Mondays to Thursdays alongside Bill Turnbull. Williams regularly presented the News at Six and occasionally presented the News at One and the News at Ten.

Early life[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Williams was born in Paddington, London, to Welsh parents, and raised in EastbourneEast Sussex.[2] Her mother, Katherine Rees from Llanelli, had moved to London to become a nurse.[2][3] Williams' father was from Swansea, and his family had been farmers in Glamorgan, south Wales.[2][3] She gained a BA in English and History from Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University) and went on to study critical journalistic writing at the University of Rhode Island in America.[4]

Radio career[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Prior to her career in television journalism, Williams spent over a decade with BBC Radio after joining the corporation in 1985. She worked on BBC Local Radio inSheffieldLeeds and Manchester before becoming a producer and reporter in Liverpool, and later joining a national spoken word network, BBC Radio 4, as a producer on The World at One and PM programmes. Williams spent the next few years reporting and editing news programmes on the station, and also on BBC Radio 5 Live.[5][6]

Television career[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Williams' first job in television news was when she joined digital rolling news channel BBC News 24, which was soon to launch, as an output editor. During screen tests for potential presenters, one applicant became unwell and Williams was asked if she would be willing to audition for the role. [6][7] When she did, producers were so impressed that they offered her the position alongside Gavin Esler presenting from 4pm to 7pm, one of the prime slots on the channel.[7]

She remained with the channel for nearly two years before joining the Six O'Clock News in 1999 as their Special Correspondent.[5] During this time she also began filling in for the programme's presenters, Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce, and during 2001 to 2002 she presented the Six O'Clock News on Fridays while Fiona Bruce was on maternity leave, as well as regularly presenting the national news bulletins on BBC One at weekends.

She joined the BBC's Breakfast programme in 12 January 2001 as a relief presenter, initially presenting on Friday-Sunday alongside Darren Jordon, to cover for main presenter, Sarah Montague, and then later with Jeremy Bowen, to cover for Sophie Raworth.[7] She also regularly deputised on the Six O'Clock News and the One O'Clock News during this period. In 2004, Williams covered for Raworth on the Six O'Clock News during her maternity leave, co-presenting with George Alagiah, and the following year, reported from Sri Lanka and Thailand on the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and from Pakistan on the Kashmir earthquake.[7]

In May 2005 she was confirmed as the main female presenter of BBC Breakfast, presenting initially alongside Dermot Murnaghan and since January 2008 with Bill Turnbull on Mondays to Thursdays. Williams leftBreakfast on 15 March 2012 due to the programme's relocation to Salford. She joins BBC Radio 4 to co-present Saturday Live.[8] In addition to this Williams will be a relief presenter for all the main BBC One News bulletins.

Other television credits include for BBC Wales the One Show, with Aled Jones, and the Big Welsh Challenge, where she spent a year learning Welsh as well as presenting BBC One daytime programmes includingNow You're Talking and City Hospital. In 2010, Williams reported for Watchdog.[9] In 2013, Williams hosted Your Money Their Tricks with Nicky Campbell and Rebecca Wilcox.

Other activities[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Sian was the President of TRIC (Television and Radio Industries Club) for 2008–09. She supported two charities during her year of office. She became an Honorary Fellow of the University of Cardiff in July 2012.[10]

Personal life[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Williams married Neale Hunt in February 1991, a former director of advertising firm McCann Erickson, London. The couple have two sons Joss Philip Hunt (born October 19, 1991) and Alex John Hunt (born January 30, 1994).

Williams, a recreational runner, suffered from hyponatraemia during the 2001 New York City Marathon and spent several days recovering in the hospital. This experience caused her to give up running for several years before taking up the sport again. She completed her second marathon, the Virgin London Marathon in 2013. [11]

Williams married Paul Woolwich in early 2006 and gave birth to her third son a boy named Seth, was born in October 2006, for which she disclosed in an interview to promote blood donation that she received two litres of blood as a result of complications from the birth.[6] Williams gave birth to a daughter, Eve, in March 2009.

Taking part in the BBC Cymru Wales TV series Coming Home in November 2010, Williams discovered she was the first member of her family to have been born outside Wales in all the 350 years of her known family tree.[3] During the programme Williams said "When I started this journey, I felt Welsh, but I couldn't really understand why. Then I look at my family tree and every single person beyond me is Welsh going back hundreds and hundreds of years. Now I think, actually, it's not about where you're born, it's about where generations of your family come from. I can now proudly say I'm Welsh, it doesn't matter that I was born in Paddington, I'm Welsh, yes I am, and very proud of it too." 

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