Kay Burley

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Kay Burley
Kay Burley 2009.jpg
Burley in 2009
Born Kay Burley
1960 (age 55–56)[1][2]
Wigan, Lancashire, England
Ethnicity English
Occupation Television presenter
Notable credit(s) TV-am, Sky News

Kay Burley (born 1960) is an English television newsreader and presenter. She has been a news anchor for Sky News since 1988.

Burley has hosted more hours of live television than any other news presenter.[3]

Early life[edit]

Burley was brought up in Beech Hill, Wigan, Lancashire[4][5] and was raised as a Catholic.[6]

Her first reporting job was at the Wigan Evening Post and Chronicle in Wigan at the age of 17.[1][2]

Broadcasting career[edit]

Burley presenting Sky News with Adam Boulton during the 2010 general election.

Burley worked in BBC local radio and TV, including Tyne Tees Television,[1] before joining TV-am in 1985 as a reporter and occasional newsreader. From 1987, she presented TV-am's first hour, filling in for Caroline Righton and covering for Anne Diamond during her maternity leave.[7]

Burley was recruited by Andrew Neil,[8] and joined Sky Television, launching the Sky One Entertainment Channel in November 1988 with her own documentary The Satellite Revolution.[1] She moved to the fledgling Sky News in 1988.

Among her assignments, she fronted Sky News coverage from Sri Lanka following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent tsunami. In 2005, she was prominent in Sky News's coverage of both the General Election and the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, and in 2013 was prominent in the coverage of the birth of Prince George of Cambridge.

Burley is known for presenting news coverage on Christmas morning on Sky News.[9]

Burley is an occasional contributor to the tabloid Sunday Mirror, and in the summer of 2006 appeared occasionally on Channel 5's news bulletins.

She has appeared as a stand-in for Iain Dale on his Sunday Politics show on London talk radio station LBC 97.3.[10]

Burley joined LBC Radio on 23 March 2014 along with The Sun’s Managing Editor Stig Abell to present a show from 8–11am on Sundays.


Burley's first novel, First Ladies, was published on 12 May 2011.[11] The book is an erotic romance set in the media industry, including television news.[12] One reviewer called it a "turgid mess" which is not even bad enough to be good: "Unfortunately, this book, with its dire comic timing, complete absence of irony, pointless digressions, dull plotting and complete lack of any engaging characters, is so mind-numblingly, fist-chewingly awful, that it’s just bad."[13]

Burley's latest novel, Betrayal, was released in May 2012.[14]



Reporting as part of Sky News's coverage of the September 11 attacks in Manhattan, Burley claimed that "the entire eastern seaboard of the United States has been decimated by a terrorist attack".[15][16]


In a 2008 interview with the wife of serial killer Steve Wright (the "Suffolk Strangler"), Burley has been widely criticised for asking his wife "Do you think if you'd had a better sex life he wouldn't have done this?"[17]

Images from 2008 show Burley appearing to strangle reporter Kirsty Wigglesworth outside the Naomi Campbell hearing, which a Sky News spokesperson explained by saying "Kay Burley was provoked by a hard hit to the face with a camera."[18]

In 2009 Burley challenged radio presenter James O'Brien on air for suggesting Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard's was a poor father, not revealing her ex-husband was Lampard's agent.[17]


In February 2010, Burley apologised to guest Peter Andre who "fought back tears" after she aired comments by Dwight Yorke who criticised Andre after he volunteered to adopt Katie Price's first child (and Yorke's son) Harvey. Burley wrote in her online blog that Andre consequently "sobbed on my shoulder".[19] Ofcom received 881 complaints from viewers, the majority opposed to the "intrusive" methods used by Burley; they found that Burley's interview was "persistent and probing" but not "bullying" or "intimidating".[20] Later on that month, Burley was forced to apologise on-air for offending Catholics when she joked that US Vice President Joe Biden, who had ashes on his forehead to mark Ash Wednesday, had a "large bruise" that he had picked up from "walking into a door" or from slipping on ice during his recent trip to Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics.[21]

During the 2010 general election, Burley's interview with electoral campaigner David Babbs from 38 Degrees was criticised for "of bias and aggressive behaviour".[22] Burley said, in part:

The public have voted for a hung parliament. We have got exactly what we voted for ... so you marching down past Westminster today will make no difference whatsoever. ... Why don't you go home and watch it on Sky News?[23]

Ofcom rejected any complaints over Sky News' coverage of the event, despite receiving 2,800 complaints.[22] Burley subsequently was heckled by protestors as she was reporting from College Green, who continuously chanted "sack Kay Burley", prompting Burley to say "Lots of demonstrators shouting 'fair votes now' – not sure what they mean by that" and "They don't like The Sun, they don't like us, they don't like Rupert.[24] In September 2010, commenting on the News International phone hacking scandal, part of an exchange between Labour MP Chris Bryant and Burley went viral, whereby Burley asks Bryant to cite information claiming that phone hacking was "endemic" in other newspapers. Bryant did, accusing Burley of being "a bit dim"[25] and saying:

...the Information Commissioner produced a report which if you had listened to the debate earlier yourself then you would know, or if you had read that report then you would see that he referred to more than 1,000 cases in various different newspapers. I think it was something like 800 – I've not got the figures with me now – 800 incidences in the Mail alone.[25]

Burley also falsely claimed that if he had changed his PIN number, Bryant would not have been hacked. Bryant responded in an article for The Independent, saying that "My PIN had nothing to do with my phone being hacked. Someone phoned Orange, my mobile network provider, and tried to pretend to be me in order to gain access to my voicemails."[26] Bryant has since asked on air for Burley to apologise over the interview.[27]


On 5 October 2012, Burley was accused of insensitivity after she broke the news of the probable death of missing five-year-old April Jones live on air to volunteers who had been assisting in the search for her. The interviewees were unaware that the case had become a murder inquiry.[28][29][30]

In 2014, Burley was involved in "bizarre" scenes at the Kuala Lumpur airport, where "a violent media frenzy broke out as relatives of the missing passengers were chased by officials and the press", following a press conference staged to gain more information about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.[citation needed] Burley then proceeded to mention how one of the relatives had been knocked to the floor by the "media scrum", not mentioning that she was part of the onslaught herself.[31]

During the referendum on Scottish independence, Kay Burley apologised for her "poor language" after she called an independence campaigner a "bit of a knob", allegedly after the campaigner had attempted to assault the camera operator "with a stick".[32]


During the 2015 general election, Channel 4 and Ofcom received more than 400 complaints against bias in their treatment against Ed Miliband (Labour leader) in favour of David Cameron (Conservative leader and Prime Minister), including a "town hall" part of the programme which Burley moderated. Burley repeatedly questioned Ed Miliband about his relationship with his brother David, at one point telling him: "Your poor mother."[33]

In June 2015 Burley was criticised through social media for her interview of Nick Varney, the CEO of Merlin Entertainments. This followed an accident on The Smiler ride at Alton Towers, which led to injuries for 11 of the 16 passengers. Responses to her behaviour dubbed it "disrespectful to everyone involved" and an "outright attack".[34] In response Burley tweeted "For those concerned I was hard on Alton Towers boss, he'll get over it. Not sure those on his ride will be so quick to recover".[35] Her interview with Varney began a negative reaction over social media, prompting 1,816 complaints to Ofcom and also led to over 55,000 signatures on a petition to have Burley sacked.[36][37] Ofcom declined to launch a formal investigation into the interview.[38]

In March 2015, Burley repeatedly asked Cerie Bullivant of CAGE how he felt about the beheading of Western hostages by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. When Bullivant left the interview as he believed Burley's question to be "inherently Islamophobic and racist", Burley retorted that it was "nonsense", and told Bullivant to "get over yourself". This prompted 57 complaints to Ofcom, but no action against Burley was taken.[39]

During the Corbyn leadership campaign, Burley came under criticism for harassing Dawn Butler on why she nominated successful nominee Jeremy Corbyn, rather than her preferred candidate Andy Burnham.[40]

Dancing on Ice[edit]

Main article: Dancing on Ice

Burley was a contestant for the second series of the ITV reality television show Dancing on Ice, beginning on 20 January 2007.[41] She was skating for MacMillan Cancer Care, in memory of her mother, who had died of breast cancer.[42] She donated her appearance fee to the charity. Burley went out of the show in the fifth week following a skate-off.[43][44]

Media portrayals[edit]

Burley was portrayed in ITV puppet/CGI show Newzoids with devilish eyes and a snake's tongue, with the catchphrase "I'm Kay Burley – poking the news with a stick until it cries".[45][46]

Personal life[edit]

Burley is twice divorced. Her lover for five-and-a-half years was George Pascoe-Watson.[47] She has one son from a one-year marriage to Steve Kutner, a football agent.[48]


  1. ^ a b c d "My Life In Media: Kay Burley". The Independent. London. 9 May 2005. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Hoggard, Liz (11 May 2011). "Kay Burley: Revenge? It's probably best served after seven years". Evening Standard. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Biographies – Kay Burley Sky News
  4. ^ "Kay Burley – How I lost my Wigan accent". Lancashire Life. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Natalie Walker (26 July 2015). "What is wrong with Kay Burley?". Wigan Today. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Millar, Paul (18 February 2010). "Burley apologises for Catholic symbol error". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 6 May 2010. Burley, a Catholic herself, conceded: "I know I'm a very bad Catholic. I know I should know that today is Ash Wednesday and that's why he'd got ash across his forehead" 
  7. ^ "Presenters". TV-am archive and museum. Next Level Interactive. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "This Week". BBC One. BBC. 19 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Kay's a winner working Xmas The Sun, 3 August 2007
  10. ^ Kay Burley to present shows on LBC 97.3 over Christmas TV Newsroom, 1 December 2012
  11. ^ Amazon – Kay Burley, First Ladies Amazon.co.uk; Retrieved 28 March 2011
  12. ^ Kay Burley delivers literary lesson in romance guardian.co.uk, 28 March 2011
  13. ^ "Review: First Ladies by Kay Burley". totalpolitics.com. 
  14. ^ Bryony Gordon (29 May 2012). "Kay Burley: 'I don't want to sit here with a paper bag on my head just because I've turned 50 and I'm getting hot flushes'". The Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "Sky News shows how we're losing our religion, because we've already lost the Ashes". News – Telegraph Blogs. London. 18 February 2010. 
  16. ^ "Matthew Norman: The ghouls, the narcissist and top jobs at CNN". The Independent. London. 12 July 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Administrator, mirror (5 February 2010). "Sky News anchor Kay Burley facing calls to be fired after Peter Andre interview". The Mirror. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "'Black eye' Kay Burley may face legal action after grabbing". Evening Standard. 21 June 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "Andre's tears prompt complaints". BBC. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  20. ^ Daily Mail Reporter (27 April 2010). "Alex Reid shows how close he's grown to Princess... while Kay Burley is cleared of bullying Peter Andre over 'adoption'". Mail Online. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  21. ^ Allen, Peter (18 February 2010). "Kay Burley has to say sorry for mistaking Ash Wednesday cross on U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's forehead for a bruise". Mail Online. London: Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  22. ^ a b Sweney, Mark (5 July 2010). "Ofcom rejects complaints over Sky News election coverage". The Guardian. 
  23. ^ Quinn, Ben (8 May 2010). "Kay Burley criticised over 'aggressive' interview". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  24. ^ Wells, Matt (8 May 2010). "Sack Kay Burley: top Twitter trend". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  25. ^ a b Jeffery, Simon (9 September 2010). "Chris Bryant accuses Kay Burley of being 'a bit dim'". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  26. ^ Bryant, Chris (9 September 2010). "Chris Bryant MP: My on-air spat with Sky News's Kay Burley". The Independent. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  27. ^ Chris Bryant MP demands an apology from Kay Burley. TV Newsroom. 12 July 2011. 
  28. ^ "Sky News defends Kay Burley over April Jones live interview having been inundated with angry complaints". The Drum. Carnyx Group Limit. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  29. ^ Williams, Rob (5 October 2012). "Sky News presenter, Kay Burley, accused of being 'insensitive bordering on cruel' in interview with April Jones volunteers". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  30. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (5 October 2012). "April Jones: was Kay Burley right to say family 'don't expect to find her alive'?". guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "Watch Kay Burley run up wrong escalator". Digital Spy. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  32. ^ "Sky News' Kay Burley apologises for calling yes campaigner a 'knob'". The Guardian. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  33. ^ Plunkett, John (27 March 2015). "Cameron and Miliband broadcast gets more than 400 complaints". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  34. ^ Sarah Ann Harris (15 June 2015). "Alton Towers Rollercoaster Crash: Kay Burley Tears Into Theme Park's CEO Nick Varney". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  35. ^ "Kay Burley on Twitter: "For those concerned I was hard on Alton Towers boss, he'll get over it. Not sure those on his ride will be so quick to recover #perspective"". Twitter.com. 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2015-06-13. 
  36. ^ Nianias, Helen (15 June 2015). "Kay Burley cleared by Ofcom". London: The Independent. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  37. ^ title. "Kay Burley's Sky News Interview With Alton Towers CEO Nick Varney Prompts 33,000 To Sign Petition To Sack Her". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-06-13. 
  38. ^ Mark Sweney (15 June 2015). "Kay Burley's Alton Towers interview cleared as petition tops 55,000". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  39. ^ Plunkett, John (30 March 2015). "Kay Burley will not face Ofcom inquiry after Islamophobia accusation". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  40. ^ Ridley, Louise (29 July 2015). "Kay Burley Interview With Corbyn Supporter Doesn't Go To Plan". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  41. ^ Daniel Kilkelly (30 December 2006). "New 'Dancing On Ice' contestants announced". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  42. ^ Dancing On Ice 2007: Kay Burley Dedicates Dance To Deceased Mum Unreality TV, 19 January 2007
  43. ^ Neil Kilkelly (30 December 2006). "Tension between 'Ice' stars Ulrika, Kay?". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  44. ^ Dancing On Ice: Ulrika Jonsson Turns Frosty With Kay Burley! Unreality TV, 14 January 2007
  45. ^ Newzoids – Kay Burley & Mo Farah, episode 2. Newzoids. 28 May 2015. 
  46. ^ Shennan, Paddy (7 May 2015). "Election 2015: Which TV presenters will irritate the hell out of you tonight?". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  47. ^ Hardy, Rebecca (2011-05-20). "So what if I let a Cabinet minister get close?... Sky News anchor Kay Burley admits she turned a politician's attention to her gain despite him being married". Daily Mail. 
  48. ^ Sky News presenter Kay Burley brands colleague 'staggeringly sexist' live on air Mail Online, 18 July 2009

External links[edit]