Sian Williams

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For the footballer, see Sian Williams (footballer).
Sian Williams
Sian Williams, May 2010 crop.jpg
Born Sian Mary Williams
(1964-11-28) 28 November 1964 (age 50)
Paddington, London
Nationality Welsh
Occupation Journalist, presenter
Notable credit(s) BBC Breakfast
Your Money Their Tricks
Sunday Morning Live
Spouse(s) Neale Hunt (m. 1991–2001)
Paul Woolwich (m. 2006)
Children 4

Sian Mary Williams, ([ˈʃɑn]; born 28 November 1964) is a Welsh journalist and current affairs presenter, best known for her work with the BBC.[1][2]

From 2001 until 2012, Sian co-presented BBC Breakfast from Mondays to Thursdays alongside Darren Jordon, and later Bill Turnbull. Williams regularly presented the News at Six and occasionally presented the News at One and the News at Ten.

In 2014, Williams replaced Samira Ahmed on the factual BBC One programme Sunday Morning Live. Williams will join Channel 5 to present the evening news in 2016.[3]

Early life[edit]

Williams was born in Paddington, London, to Welsh parents, and raised in Eastbourne, East Sussex.[2] Her mother, Katherine Rees from Llanelli, had moved to London to become a nurse.[2][4] Williams' father was from Swansea, and his family had been farmers in Glamorgan, south Wales.[2][4] He was a journalist, working first in print and later in radio.[5] 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.[6]



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 in Sheffield, Leeds 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.[7][8]


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. [8][9] 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.[9]

She remained with the channel for nearly two years before joining the Six O'Clock News in 1999 as their Special Correspondent.[7] 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.[9] 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.[9]

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 left Breakfast on 15 March 2012 due to the programme's relocation to Salford. She joined BBC Radio 4 to co-present Saturday Live for a while.[10] 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 including Now You're Talking and City Hospital. In 2010, Williams reported for Watchdog.[11] In 2013, Williams hosted Your Money Their Tricks with Nicky Campbell and Rebecca Wilcox. Williams also presented a three-part interview series for BBC One Wales titled "The Sian Williams Interview". She interviewed Tanni Grey-Thompson, Suzanne Packer and Siân Phillips in the three programmes respectively.[12]

In June 2014, Williams became the new presenter of Sunday Morning Live – a religious and ethical debating programme airing on BBC One every Sunday morning from June until November. Williams replaced Samira Ahmed.[13]

On 5 November 2015, Williams announced she would be leaving the BBC to replace Emma Crosby on 5 News. She will join in early 2016.[14]

Other work[edit]

Williams was the President of TRIC (Television and Radio Industries Club) for 2008–09 and supported two charities during her year of office. She became an Honorary Fellow of the University of Cardiff in July 2012.[15] In 2014, she began studying for a master's degree in Psychology at the University of Westminster, specialising in the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on journalists and reporters.[16]

Personal life[edit]

In February 1991 Williams married Neale Hunt, a former director of advertising firm McCann Erickson, London. Their two sons were born in 1991 and 1994.[citation needed] After the end of this marriage Williams married Paul Woolwich in early 2006 and gave birth to her third son 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.[8] Williams gave birth to a daughter in March 2009. 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.[17]

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.[4] 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."[2]



  1. ^ Who's Who 2009
  2. ^ a b c d e Rowland, Paul (3 January 2010). "Sian Williams 'may quit' Breakfast show". WalesOnlinewebsite (Cardiff: Media Wales Ltd). Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Sian Williams leaves BBC to front Channel 5 News
  4. ^ a b c Jones,Tudur H (27 November 2010). "Coming Home: Sian Williams". Daily Post Cymraeg website (Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales Limited). Retrieved 3 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Webb, Claire. "Watchlist: Sian Williams". Radio Times (21–27 June 2014). p. 154. 
  6. ^ "Sian Williams". BBC News. BBC. 9 March 2004. 
  7. ^ a b "Sian Williams, BBC Breakfast presenter". Biographies. BBC Press Office. September 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c "Now I value every day" (PDF). The Donor (National Blood Service). Summer 2008. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Sian Williams". BBC News. 31 January 2002. Retrieved 12 July 2008. 
  10. ^ Sian Williams to join Radio 4's extended Saturday Live
  11. ^ Which Breakfast star's in our Meriva car? Watchdog, BBC, 29 September 2010
  12. ^ BBC One – The Sian Williams Interview
  13. ^ Sunday Morning Live returns to BBC One with new presenter Sian Williams BBC Media Centre, 9 June 2014
  14. ^ Sian Williams leaves BBC to front Channel 5 News
  15. ^ "Honorary Fellowships". 
  16. ^ "Sian Williams: from breakfast TV host to trauma psychologist". 
  17. ^ Marathon Talk "Episode 185 – Sian Williams" (24 July 2013)

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Natasha Kaplinsky
Main Presenter: BBC Breakfast
Succeeded by
Susanna Reid
Preceded by
Natasha Kaplinsky
Deputy Presenter: BBC News at Six
Succeeded by
Fiona Bruce