Born in Royston, Herts, Trish started out as a stage manager in the theatre and was the longest-serving female TV announcer in the UK. She announced live for LWT, ITV, Channel 5, BBC World, BSB Galaxy, Super Channel, TVS, Westcountry TV and The Family Channel.
Trish’s career – which began in 1982 – includes live event announcing, documentary narration, e-learning, online training, the corporate sector, commercials, TV promos/marketing and season launch campaigns, radio imaging, audio books and internet-based projects. She’s also produced pre-recorded announcements for many TV channels in the UK and voiced television promotional trails for numerous TV stations, including a number of the ITV channels.
It’s highly likely that you’ll recognise Trish’s voice – maybe from weekends on LWT (1982 – 2002), on ITV promotional trails (until 2008), CSI Nights on Channel 5 or possibly even from a plane, where she could be heard announcing for British Airways on Flight TV. Trish has also been a radio station imaging voiceover – she has been the ‘station voice’ for Talk Radio, LBC, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Leeds, Radio Pembrokeshire, Wave 105, Radio Scilly (the smallest station in the world) and Breeze 107.
Trish voiced a Bill Gates presentation to the UN and was the live stadium announcer for the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paralympic Games, London 2012. More recently Trish fulfilled the same role as the ceremonies stadium announcer for the First European Games, Baku 2015 and for the Islamic Games, Baku 2017. She started her events career as the English-language opening and closing ceremonies station announcer for the 15th Asian Games in Doha.
Trish has also announced for various award ceremonies and corporate events including the John Lewis 150 Years Celebration at the LG Arena, The Times Higher Education Awards, The Financial Times Business Book of the Year Awards, BAFTA and the Royal Television Society. More recently she was the live ‘Voice of God’ for Letters Live 2017, at the Union Chapel.
In the mid-2000s, we caught up with Trish.
Where were you born and brought up?
“I was born in Royston, Hertfordshire and then had a nomadic childhood as my father was in the RAF. I was sent to boarding school in Littlehampton, Sussex, at the age of 11. So, I suppose I consider the south of England as home.”
What’s your happiest childhood memory?
“Waking up on my fifth birthday and discovering my first bicycle. It was propped up in the hallway all wrapped up!”
Who was your biggest childhood influence?
“I don’t really have one unless you count having my first big crush on David Essex when he was in Godspell in the early 1970s. I discovered theatre because of Godspell, got stage struck and decided I wanted to work in it – much to my parents’ dismay.”
How did you achieve this?
“After school I attended the Central School of Speech and Drama to take a Diploma in Stage Management and Technical Theatre (a degree equivalent). My parents were upset that I didn’t go to university but by then I was hell-bent on working in the theatre!”
What did you do before going into announcing?
“I was a theatre stage manager. I was lucky to work in some great theatres including the Royal Court, The National and the Young Vic.”
Why did you go into announcing?
“I liked the idea of being paid to watch telly! Plus my flatmate from college – a certain Ms Fern Britton – suggested it to me after she had started announcing for Westward TV in Plymouth.”
How did you go about getting a job?
“I made a homemade tape and sent it everywhere. I set myself a year of ‘knocking on doors’ and after 11 months I was given a chance.”
Where and when was your first announcing job?
“It was actually on Channel 4 but via LWT. In late-1982, after Channel 4 had just gone on air, LWT used to insert the commercials into Channel 4’s output in the London region at the weekends. They wanted announcer cover in case there was a problem and also to provide a few alternative viewing announcements for ITV which was part of the reciprocal deal with Channel 4 at the time.”
What were your initial duties/training?
“It was sink or swim! There were only a few announcements a shift so I was chucked on one Friday night. My transmission controllers that weekend (Jenny, Tony and Malcolm) dragged me through it and I am eternally grateful. After I had survived a few shifts I was sent into the LWT studio to shadow Peter Lewis and Sue Peacock who were great to learn from.”
Were you responsible for any howlers in the early days?
“Most certainly yes! If the commercials screwed up during Channel 4 breaks we would dive in and rabbit on about the TV Times – what was in it that week and what a great magazine it was, etc etc. One of the other girls LWT took on for Channel 4 wrote fantastic tongue twisters and I thought I would be clever and write something similar, so ‘One of Britain’s biggest brewers gives Britain’s best known pub a facelift’ (about the Rovers Return in Coronation Street) came out as ‘One of Bitain’s biggest booers gives Britain’s breast known pub a facelift!’ I can still see my transmission controller looking at me through the glass of the studio with an expression of sheer horror and disbelief!”
Has your announcing style changed over the years?
“Yes I think so; my voice has got more relaxed and, therefore, deeper and I have tried to become a bit more conversational. We were very much expected to ‘announce’ when I started. These days it’s more about being friendly and sharing the telly with the viewer which I think is better. Mind you, all of us at LWT loved to give the weekends a good bit of welly when we came on!”
Give us a brief outline of your announcing career – who you have worked for and when?
“I worked for LWT for 20 years during which time I left twice! The first time was to be part of the launch announcing team of Superchannel in 1987. Superchannel turned out to have more than its fair share of misfortunes and takeovers and I was lucky to be taken back by LWT as a freelance after two uncertain years which culminated in live announcers being dropped. In 1990, I was approached to go to British Satellite Broadcasting to be senior announcer for Galaxy – the entertainment channel (I fancied myself as a satellite pioneer in those days!). That too turned out to be an ill-fated venture. However, both experiences were terrific and I worked with some brilliant people who remain friends to this day. LWT took me back again for which I was very grateful! During the 1980s I freelanced regularly for TVS which fitted in nicely with my LWT work! After BSB went belly-up, I was contracted to TVS for six months in 1991. I have also worked as an announcer in the early days of BBC World which launched with live announcers and in the early days of Westcountry TV, I freelanced to provide holiday cover. As a ‘pre-recorded announcer’ I have scripted and recorded for the now defunct Carlton Food Network, GSB’s Men and Motors and was one of the pre-recorded announcers for Artsworld. “
What are you most proud of career-wise?
“That’s a tough one! In announcing terms, probably the day I felt I really earned my money was when Princess Diana died. I was called in early and was on air from 9.25am until midnight or so and was networked for most of the day until the early evening when everyone went local again with their own announcers. It was quite a day. Tthe schedule was all but torn up and in Transmission we didn’t know from one hour to the next what we were going to do. Decisions were being made on high as we went along. The team I worked with that day were exemplary and our presentation office back-up were brilliant too. It was a real team effort.
“In career terms, I am proud to have been part of a fantastic station. LWT always did its own thing, set very high standards, had a terrific buzz about it and taught me a lot. High points? The day LWT got the franchise back at the last round! The building exploded into one big party. Greg Dyke ordered champagne on tap and was hugging and kissing everyone. Low points? The day Granada took over LWT. We all felt like we had lost the franchise after only just having won it.”
Video Clips on the Internet
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Trish Bertram's final solo LWT announcement.
Trish Bertram and Glen Thompsett present the final LWT-branded continuity link in 2002.
PICTURED: Trish Bertram. SUPPLIED BY: Trish Bertram. COPYRIGHT: Trish Bertram.