Welcome to my website. I’m a journalist, broadcaster, writer and would-be psychologist and if you’re after a bit of information – here’s a potted history.
For more than thirty years, I’ve worked in daily broadcast news – as a reporter, producer and anchor of some of the BBC’s biggest shows. I’m currently the main anchor on ITN/C5 5 News and continuing to make network television and radio shows for the BBC, too.
But as well as journalism, my passion is to learn more about how our brains work and whether they can be re-wired, especially after a period of adversity or trauma.
I have an MSc in Psychology (Distinction), am a trained trauma assessor and have made three Radio 4 series on the mind and the brain: The Thought Chamber, How to Build a Better Brain (described by The Psychologist magazine as “touching and illuminating, a great listen”) and The Science of Resilience.
My book, Rise: Surviving and Thriving after Trauma, was published in June 2016. It’s a personal story of how we can rebuild after a traumatic event shatters our life. It’s illustrated by testimony (including mine) and backed up by science.
It helps with research to have a rigorous background in journalism. For more than a decade, I made radio programmes, then moved into presenting, first on the BBC News Channel, then on the main News Bulletins, before moving to BBC Breakfast. It’s the UK’s largest TV breakfast show and during my time as main presenter, the programme more than doubled its audience (2004/2005 year average: 0.8m, share 26%. 2011/2012 year average: 1.6m, share 36%. Source: BARB).
Some of the key national events I’ve hosted for BBC Television include the Royal Wedding, the 2010 General Election and the 2012 London Olympics. I’ve also been the host of topical debate programmes Sunday Morning Live and the BBC Radio 4 show Saturday Live. Both shows saw year-on-year increases in listeners and viewers.
I’m still planning to do that PhD and am continuing my research into growth after adversity.
Details of my book, tours, articles and clips – plus ways to get hold of me, can be found elsewhere on my website.
What the Papers Say:
“Colleagues at the BBC testify to her grit and skill as a hard news journalist” Daily Telegraph
“Sian is… valued as a political interviewer” Daily Mail.
“Gordon Brown didn’t expect to be grilled by Sian Williams on his untrue claim that he has lowered that national debt, Sian challenged him, rightly” Fraser Nelson, Spectator
“Modern BBC newsreaders like Huw Edwards, George Alagiagh and Sian Williams have impeccable journalistic credentials. They wade through reams of wire copy and speak to correspondents themselves before writing cues, rather than reading out loud, stuff that’s been written for them” Brian Viner, Independent
“Sad news indeed that the wonderful Sian Williams is quitting BBC Breakfast when the programme moves North, despite pulling double the audience of its rival Daybreak” Amanda Platell, Daily Mail
“The Queen of the Breakfast Sofa” Peter Preston, Observer
“Breakfast TV’s answer to Anna Wintour..her controlled sass is as much a part (of the programme) as the red sofa or the Breakfast logo” Imogen Fox, Guardian
“The departure of popular Sian will be a huge blow to BBC bosses..she and Bill Turnbull have an army of fans” Daily Mirror
“For the past decade, she has been the doyenne of the BBC’s popular Breakfast show… the show has doubled its audience since she joined” Polly Dunbar, Daily Mail
Career to date.
1985 – 1990: BBC trainee reporter. BBC Radio Merseyside, Liverpool. Covered stories like the demise of Militant tendency and the Hillsborough disaster.
Jan – June 1990: Regional Journalist, North West Tonight, Manchester.
July 1990 – July 1997: Editor of the Day. Radio 4 The World at One and PM.
1990 – 1997: Editor R4 Specials. Budgets, Local and European Election coverage. 1992, special programme following the then Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, as he launched his campaign to be US President. Also live programmes on the release of Beirut hostages and the Moscow riots as Yeltsin stormed Parliament. During the Bosnian peace talks, secured an exclusive interview with Radovan Karadic, the Bosnian Serb war criminal.
May 1997: Studio producer, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5, General Election programme.
June 1997: Editor. BBC News 24 (now the BBC News channel).
Nov 1997 – July 1999: Presenter 1600-1900 BBC News 24.
1999 – 2001: Special Correspondent, BBC Six O’Clock News.
2000: Presenter, BBC1 Millennium Programme.
2001 – 2005: Presenter, BBC Breakfast. Fri-Sun.
2005 – 2012: Presenter, BBC Breakfast, Mon-Thurs.
May 2010: Presenter, BBC1 General Election Coverage programme, 1000-1400.
July – August 2012: Presenter, BBC Olympic Breakfast.
1997 – 2013: Newsreader, BBC1 bulletins.
2010 – 2013 : Presenter of prime time series: National Treasures Live (x 6), Goodnight Britain (x 2), Your Money, Their Tricks (x 4). Guest presenter Crimewatch, The Andrew Marr Show.
April 2012 – August 2013: Co-presenter, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live.
August 2013: The Sian Williams Interview Show (BBC Wales)
June 2013 – 2015: Presenter, BBC1 Sunday Morning Live.
January 2016 – present: Presenter, ITN/Channel 5 News, presenter R4 documentaries, author