RTS Regional Presenter nominee Duncan Wood reflects on the past year, and his life at ITV Calendar.
“I’d been at my dad’s paper since I could walk,” ITV Calendar’s Duncan Wood recalls. “I was smelling the ink, seeing the presses rolling…”
It’s a nostalgic image, and one that drove Wood into journalism.
After flunking both his O-Levels and A-Levels, he got a job at his dad’s paper, the Sunderland Echo.
“My dad hated journalists,” he laughs. “He went from office boy to Managing Director. He hated them with a passion.”
After paying his dues at the Echo, he moved on to radio and finally into television. “I saw it as a natural progression,” he explains.
Since then he has spent 14 years in ITV’s Yorkshire office.
“People say: ‘What is the future for regional news?’ We see it as being very strong. Calendar has that brand and has that identity in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. People stick with you”
It is something he clearly feels very passionate about. “The fact that two of the three [RTS Regional Presenter] nominees are from Yorkshire says a lot about how we are delivering the service to our viewers.”
His fellow nominees have both won the category before. Harry Gration, also Yorkshire-based, won in 2015, and Stewart White from BBC Look East, won in 2016. “It says it all that both Harry and Stewart are nominated yet again. They are very passionate broadcasters. Passionate about regional television. I’m the young lad on the block”
Wood’s region has been at the centre of some of the biggest stories of 2016, from the murder of Jo Cox, to a powerful interview with Kerry Needham, the mother of the British toddler who disappeared on Kos in 1991.
“It was the most powerful thing I have been involved with,” Wood recalls. “She’s an incredible woman who I have known for a long time who has such grit and determination to get to the bottom of what happened to her son.”
“Horrible, horrible things happen, but you’ve got to remember that there is somebody who is a lot closer to it than I am. That’s what drives me on stories like that. You’ve got to be aware of that family in all of that, and the human side of it.”
That interview was picked up by the network ITV News and shown across the nation. “The responsibility is huge. This woman is baring her soul,” he insists. “You just hope that years of experience will let me know what I should ask and when I should ask it.”
The RTS Television Journalism Awards take place at the London Hilton on Park Lane on 1 March 2017.