Carrie Watson – Presenter Life
Q&A with Presenter, Carrie Watson from Jackpot247 on ITV since 2013.
Carrie began her broadcasting career on the Kiss FM Street Team and eventually joined the Breakfast Show broadcasting across the whole of East Anglia, updating the region with the latest travel reports. She then appeared on Channel 4’s Beauty & the Geek.
Chat shows, game shows, and shopping channels soon followed and she began presenting fashion items for videos and stage events. She travelled to Barcelona to present at the Mobile World Congress, covered pit lane action for Motorsport TV, and has taken part in live events and videos for Superdrug.
Q. What is your background, where are you from and what age did you get interested in Show Biz?
I’m from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. I’d say that I’ve always wanted to present and be on both radio and TV, but when I was young, I didn’t know how to go about it and visiting the Career Advice Centre with the school was absolutely useless unless you wanted to do what was seen as a ‘normal’ job.
However, I was lucky that the Vibe FM studios were based in Bury St Edmunds so after a couple of years of working amongst the street team, travelling the region in the branded vehicles, spreading the love and getting the show on the road, I eventually became a part of the Vibe FM Breakfast Show.
Q. Did you train?
No, I didn’t train. Right now, knowing what I know, I regret not doing a broadcast journalism course. However, I had no guidance and I didn’t know what route I wanted to take. But I also wouldn’t have had the experiences that I do now, both life and work experience if things were different.
Q. What would you say was your first break into Presenting?
I still feel that I haven’t had my break. I’ve been close at times, but it hasn’t quite happened. I had a screen test a few years ago for what then was my dream job – to present on This Morning’s Hub. I felt that it went really well, and I felt at home. Understandably they continued to use people such as Mark Wright and Jenny Falconer. The Hub is no longer a part of This Morning which is a shame.
Saying that, getting Jackpot 247 was a big step up as its live TV. It did feel like my break at the time.
Q. What jobs have you enjoyed the most?
I loved presenting on the Kiss Breakfast Show. I would be in absolute stitches by 7am, but I was also responsible for informing the region of any traffic news so there was a serious element to the job as well. The whole Kiss team were great.
I also love being out and about on location filming corporate videos, or presenting live events. I’ve interviewed rapper Eve at a launch night, and Olympian Amy Williams at Silverstone race track. The variety is so exciting and provides a challenge too as I need to learn about each brand, person or event and present appropriately which may mean that I adapt my tone or even my styling.
Currently though, I also love working on ITV presenting Jackpot 247.
Q. What is it like working on a long-running, late-night show like ITV’s Jackpot 247?
I absolutely love it! Firstly, the team are great. We have amazing producers and the other presenters who I often see if we work a 2x presenter night are lovely!
Although it’s a gaming programme it’s very responsible and we have everything in place to ensure that players only play within their means. Aside from that, I get to dress up, be myself and entertain the nation on what I feel is a fun, upbeat night live on ITV.
Q. How do you manage to always keep it fresh & positive when the format is structured to follow a repeat pattern, or game show format?
We don’t follow a script so once we’ve launched on ITV and covered the basics of who we are and what’s going on, we can throw a bit of personality in and share a story from the weekend, or something that might have happened that day. I’m always over sharing!
There are also different prize draws and bonuses each night which spices things up. Plus, it’s live, so anything can happen which I love!
Q. What is the hair prep & wardrobe like as you always look amazing? Any other preparation required?
Well thank you! We arrive an hour before our shift time and the transformation begins. I choose what dress to wear so this may influence my hair and makeup as it may be a Tuesday night following on from Murder she Wrote so a bright colour might the one. Or, we might be following Bond on a Saturday night so the legs are out, the hair’s big and I’m fierce (or at least that’s the look I’m going for). I literally think I’m a Bond girl lol.
Q.What was Beauty and the Geek like? Did you need to bring in acting skills too?
No, no acting was required – that really was me!
Ok, I may have known when to play up to the camera, but that pretty much was me at that age! The production team worked really hard too to make sure that they captured our first reactions on camera. For example, we didn’t see or meet our Geeks until we saw them during filming and we didn’t even know the exact concept of the show until filming began. Even then it was drip fed, so it was done very well. It was so much fun, I just wish I’d have done it a few years later now that social media is hot. We’d have all got so much more out of it!
Q. As a Presenter how do you go about getting jobs? Is it similar to an actor going on auditions?
I’ll be honest- it’s tough! Some presenters get work through being signed up with a modelling agency, some presenters have a skill or are more knowledgeable within a certain area, such as Motorsport or Interior Design. Networking though for this type of work is key, getting the word out and circulating on social media. There are so many ways and all are still tough. Sometimes there are castings to attend, sometimes a client, or potential client may contact you directly.
No I was absolutely not good at Maths at school and this is something that I’ve had anxiety over as an adult in other jobs when I’ve had to deal with finance and budgets etc – which by the way I’ve improved massively in. At Jackpot though, remembering the table and return rates such as a straight being 35-1, or a corner being 8-1 is easy once you know it, but luckily the calculations of players wins are all done automatically within the system. Money goes straight into their account – phew!
Q. You also went to Kenya to volunteer and raise money for charity. Tell us more about this project?
Oh my goodness! This is by far the most amazing, rewarding and probably most emotional experience of my life, and I’m really proud of myself. I got to a stage where I wanted to do something good, something to help others but that was also a challenge for me. I had lots of comments like “you know you won’t be able to take your heels don’t you”, but there’s very much another side to me minus the lashes, heels and dresses. I’m a grafter, I get stuck in, I get dirty and I crack on.
I went out there with a group of brilliant people and collectively we provided mountains of clothes, stationary and toiletries. We bought a week’s worth of food for each of the homes in the very deprived areas and delivered these ourselves.
Our main project was to build onto and finish a new school. I was digging a trench, rendering with the locals, making mud bricks- I absolutely loved it. This was an unreal experience and so rewarding!
Q. What do you find most interesting & surprising about your career?
The variety will always interest me and keep me on my toes. I constantly want to learn in new areas.
Q. Any on-air funny disasters you can tell us about?
Anything can happen with it being live, but luckily I’ve been drama free. The worst I think is when a player name catches me out. They’ll type a clever version of something rude (very rude sometimes) and you don’t know it’s rude until you’ve said the whole thing and in slow motion it clicks, to me, to my producer and my face is like… Errrmmmm. However, within milliseconds I’ve moved on. I have got the giggles before though and had to just ride it out.
Q. What advice would you give to anyone starting out and trying to break in to what is an extremely competitive career path?
Find out what route you want to go down? Recognise what your topic, subject, interest and area is and focus on that.
Also, be prepared to do some small presenting jobs for free so that you can get some footage for your show-reel.
Q. Where you are hoping & planning to go from here?
I’m actually looking to do a broadcast journalism course. Meteorology really interests me too so we’ll see. I’d also absolutely love to present a feature on shows such as This Morning too.
Q. Any life lessons learned along the way?
Always aim and focus forward though and think positively. It’s all about the law of attraction!