Ranvir Singh puts practicalities before politics as she braces for another Downing Street doorstep.
My alarm has been almost constantly set for 3:30am for seven years now. My body is so attuned to it that I almost always awake before it goes off. It’s now 3:03am on Monday morning and I’m staring at my phone, having just been happily dreaming about glaciers.
I flew back late last night from four magical days in Iceland marvelling at the power of Mother Earth. After a few hours’ sleep, it’s time to get my head back into the man-made fireworks of Westminster politics.
I’ll be out in the dark, freezing-cold conditions of live TV outside Parliament and No 10, talking about Brexit in the week we’re supposed to be leaving the EU. You’d assume that my first thoughts of the morning/middle of the night would be about the latest news lines, but it’s more important to consider the correct thickness of thermals, boots and coat for the day.
Get it wrong and brain freeze sets in very quickly. Practicalities before politics, people.
Later on, it’s time to get ready for the Pride of Britain Awards red carpet. It’s the one big TV event that’s about brilliant people, and I love meeting them but, to be honest, I don’t find it easy to enjoy red-carpet events. Some people live for them. Not me.
As I sit in make-up, 12 hours after I woke up, I’m repeating to myself, “Enjoy this, enjoy this”. I get a photo with Harry Kane while I’m inside, feel humbled and inadequate hearing the stories, and flop into bed at midnight.
It looks likely a snap election will be passed by the Commons tonight. I’m at ITN to do the national evening news. It still excites me every time I hear Big Ben’s “bongs” at the top of the show, and tonight’s is a big show. There’s an electric, hyper-focused atmosphere in the newsroom.
It’s decided that we should take the programme out of the studio and on to the platform erected in front of Parliament. It’s my first OB for evening news, and, for the first time in years, I’m actually nervous.… By 7:00pm we are done and I’m genuinely thrilled.
The next day, I’m in Sunderland for a family funeral. The following day, after Good Morning Britain, which I do Monday to Thursday, I go to the gym with my personal trainer. The evening is dedicated to spending time with my son – and making Halloween fun for him.
The internal battle rages daily, sometimes minute to minute: pursuing a career that needs a lot of attention but which takes me away from him a lot, and the pressure and guilt of being a single mum with an only child who deserves my full, undivided attention. I’m pretty sure I’m doing both badly sometimes.
Saturday, and we watch the Rugby World Cup final while out having breakfast. I shed a tear over the South African captain and secretly want them to win because it means so much more to them than just being a game. That’s not patriotic, I know, but it’s how I feel.
I’ve been invited to watch Strictly at Elstree Studios tonight. So, after handing my son over in Warwick services car park to my sister, I get ready and drive there with a friend. In the VIP tent we have to hand in our phones – just like you do inside Downing Street.
We’re shown to our seats, and told they’ll give us water and a biscuit in about two hours to keep us going. Even though I’ve worked in live TV for years, it’s still exciting being here.
My hands hurt from all the clapping we have to do, sometimes to order for the edit. It’s bloody exhausting watching close-up how fast the dancers’ bodies move. Wow. Mike Bushell is saved again.
Ranvir Singh is Good Morning Britain’s political editor.