After two years he undertook a post-graduate diploma at the Centre for Journalism Studies at Cardiff University, and started his broadcast career as a regional news reporter in Plymouth for the BBC in 1995.
Cotton then chose to become freelance to pursue a career in sports broadcast journalism, moving to London to specialise in sport including spells at digital TV network Channel 1, Sky Sports, Five and ITV.
Cotton rejoined the BBC in 1998 as a sports producer and presenter on overnight production shifts for BBC Breakfast, before joining BBC News 24 as a sports presenter. He also reported for Football Focus.
Cotton's partner was former BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid; the couple and their three sons lived in Lambeth, south London. They announced their separation in February 2014, shortly after Cotton was found to have set up an account on Match.com.
- Rebecca Hardy (2011-11-19). "Susanna Reid: BBC Breakfast presenter says her career flourished when she had children". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
- Euro 2004 pack
-  Archived February 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Duffin, Claire (28 February 2014). "'Curse of Strictly' strikes again as Susanna Reid and partner separate". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
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