Burley in 2009
17 December 1960
|Occupation||Television presenter, news presenter|
|TV-am, Sky News|
Kay Burley (born 17 December 1960) is an English television newsreader and presenter, who is currently a presenter on Sky News. She hosts Kay Burley @Breakfast on the channel. Burley has also worked for BBC Local Radio, Tyne Tees Television and TV-am.
Burley worked for BBC local radio and Tyne Tees Television, 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 maternity leave.
Burley was recruited by Andrew Neil, and joined Sky Television, launching the Sky One Entertainment Channel in November 1988 with her own documentary The Satellite Revolution. She moved to the fledgling Sky News in 1988.
Among her assignments, she was part of the team that covered the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales on Sky, breaking the news of the Princess' death shortly after 5am on Sunday 31 August 1997, she also broke the news of the September 11 attacks shortly after the first tower had been hit and 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 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 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 and joined LBC Radio on 23 March 2014 along with The Sun’s managing editor Stig Abell to present a show from 8 to 11 am on Sundays.
Burley was a contestant for the second series of the ITV reality television show Dancing on Ice, beginning on 20 January 2007. She was skating for MacMillan Cancer Care, in memory of her mother, who had died of breast cancer. She donated her appearance fee to the charity. Burley and her partner Fred Palascak went out of the show in the fifth week following a skate-off against actress Clare Buckfield and her partner Andrei Lipanov. She also appears on the second series of Celebrity Hunted in 2018.
In September 2019 it was announced that Burley would be moving to breakfast time to host Kay Burley @Breakfast. On 3 October 2019, Burley hosted her final afternoon show on the channel ahead of the first morning slot on 14 October 2019.
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (November 2019)
In a 2008 interview with the former girlfriend of serial killer Steve Wright, Burley was criticised for asking her whether if the couple had enjoyed a better sex life he would not have committed the crimes.
Images from 2008 show Burley appearing to strangle photographer 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."
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". 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". 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".
|“||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?||”|
Ofcom rejected any complaints over Sky News coverage of the event, despite receiving 2,800 complaints. Burley was subsequently heckled by protestors while 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".
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" 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.||”|
Burley also falsely claimed that if he had changed his PIN, 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". Bryant has since asked on air for Burley to apologise about the interview.
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.
During the 2015 general election, Channel 4 and Ofcom received more than 400 complaints against bias in their treatment against Labour leader Ed Miliband in favour of Conservative leader and Prime Minister David Cameron, 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".
In June 2015, Burley was criticised through social media for her interview of Nick Varney, the Chief Executive 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". 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". 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. Ofcom declined to launch a formal investigation into the interview.
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.
Burley caused further controversy when, in response to the November 2015 Paris attacks, she tweeted a photograph of a Golden Retriever dog, to which she had added, "Sadness in his eyes #parisattacks".
In 2018, during an interview concerning Boris Johnson's remarks about the burqa, Burley drew criticism when she used as an example the lack of visible facial expression of war hero Simon Weston, who had received severe facial injuries in the Falklands War.
Burley's first novel, First Ladies, was published on 12 May 2011. The book is an erotic romance set in the media industry, including television news. 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."
Burley's novel, Betrayal, was published in May 2012.
She has one child with her ex-husband Steve Kutner.
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- Kay Burley delivers literary lesson in romance guardian.co.uk, 28 March 2011
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- Sky News presenter Kay Burley brands colleague 'staggeringly sexist' live on air Mail Online, 18 July 2009