Born in Belfast c. 1970, Kathy attended Methodist College and studied French and Russian at Queen’s University Belfast. The degree course included periods in France and Russia. Whilst at university, Kathy also had a prominent role in the drama society, which included lead roles in various productions.
In 1996, Kathy moved into broadcasting, taking on a continuity announcer/director role with BBC Northern Ireland. As well as introducing the programmes on BBC One/BBC Two Northern Ireland out-of-vision, she also featured as an in-vision announcer on BBC Choice Northern Ireland (1998 – 2001). Kathy was also a regular voice on the BBC Northern Ireland animated political satire, Folks on the Hill (January 2001 – November 2010), where she provided the voices for all the female characters, including Anne Robinson, the Queen and Victoria Beckham..
Since 2001, Kathy has been a freelance voiceover artist, including the core voice – ‘Kathy’ – on TomTom satnav systems. In August 2003, she took up a post with Radio Netherlands in Hilversum. She spent a number of years there, as a reporter and presenter. Whilst working for the Dutch broadcaster, she also took on a newsreader role with the BBC World Service (January 2004 – present). An announcing post with BBC Radio 4 was next (August 2006 – present), which would see Kathy become one of the most familiar voices on the network. She read out listeners’ letters on Scott Mills’s afternoon show on BBC Radio 1 (July 2008 – July 2014) under the guise of “The Posh Radio 4 Lady” or “The PR4L”. Kathy also presents on BBC Radio 4 Extra (January 2010 – present). She made regular guest appearances on the BBC Radio Ulster comedy programme Perforated Ulster, as well as BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz. And in February 2007, Kathy had a brief stint as a BBC TV network announcer in London.
Kathy has written a book, A Brief History of Tim, and a musical, about BBC Radio 4, called But First This, with music by Desmond O’Connor which premiered at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury in October 2014. In April 2016, she presented The Neglected Sense on BBC Radio 4 which described Kathy as being anosmic; she gave a first-hand account of the condition and set out on a personal mission to discover why she can’t smell. In a 2016 Radio Times readers’ poll on radio voices, Kathy was voted the 5th best female voice. The judges described her as “clear, sympathetic and multi-talented.” In February 2014, Kathy met TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to New Broadcasting House.
In March 2019, it was announced that Kathy would become the first woman to chair BBC Radio 4’s perennial favourite Gardeners’ Question Time from 3rd May 2019. She replaced Eric Robson who had chaired the programme for 25 years.
Kathy is now living back in Northern Ireland and has returned to the TV continuity director/announcer role at BBC Northern Ireland, albeit now in a freelance capacity. Her voice was first spotted introducing the programmes on BBC One Northern Ireland again on the afternoon of Friday 3rd May 2019.
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Kathy in September 2017 and asked her why she had only briefly been a BBC TV network announcer: “I am totally freelance and have been since I left BBC NI in 2003. I was there for such a short time, they were trying to use freelancers (they didn’t have any back then) and after training, it turned out that they just couldn’t give me enough notice when they needed me and I was always booked elsewhere! So it really didn’t work out.”
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Kathy which we found on social media sites or have made available from our own archive. The clips are presented here for additional reference. Inclusion of a video does not constitute an endorsement of the hosting site/channel/user. If you find any broken links below or are aware of an additional clip(s) which you believe may be a useful addition to this profile, please get in touch with us via our Contact page.
Kathy on continuity duty on BBC One Northern Ireland in September 1997. Worth noting that she will also have directed the local news bulletin included in this clip.
Kathy reading the Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4 in June 2017.
PICTURED: Kathy Clugston. SUPPLIED BY: Online. COPYRIGHT: Unknown.