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Love is on the air: Paul Barnes and Helen McDermott

PUBLISHED: 10:37 14 May 2018

Love is on the air: Paul Barnes and Helen McDermott

Love is on the air: Paul Barnes and Helen McDermott

Radio and TV presenters Paul Barnes and Helen McDermott talk about living and working together

TV and radio presenters Paul Barnes and Helen McDermott first met in 1979 and have worked together on and off since then.

“It was the conclusion of the ITV strike and we had been off air for 11 weeks,” remembered Paul. “I went to Anglia and there was this new continuity announcer – and we hit it off immediately.”

Paul, who had worked for Radio 4’s The Today Programme and The World at One, was presenting a number of regional shows, including About Anglia.

It is nice to go home to someone you can talk to and who really understands what you have been doing

“I used to present a segment of the programme called Write Now. Helen became the voice-over for that and was very good at it,” he said.

Paul suggested Helen should be given the opportunity to work in front of the camera – and she never looked back, becoming one of the best-known faces of regional television.

“We developed a sort of double act. There were two successful Christmas specials where we did a tap dance complete with white tie and tails.

“Helen is a real professional. I have always enjoyed working with her,” he said. “We used to be recognised much more when we were out together as a couple than we are now but it has never bothered either of us at all. In fact, it was a joy.”

Over the years, their jobs have changed. Paul left television in the 1990s.

He now presents classic popular music and jazz show The Late Paul Barnes at 11pm on Saturdays on BBC Radio Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Northampton and 3CR, as well as writing for Saga Magazine and The Oldie.

Helen is involved in a number of media projects including producing, editing and presenting corporate videos, and working as a director of Radio Norwich.

“In many ways it has worked well for us,” she said. “It is nice to go home to someone you can talk to and who really understands what you have been doing.

“I think there is a competitive edge too sometimes but mostly we work very well together.

“Paul is a ‘glass half full’ person and I am a ‘glass half empty’ and that has helped me a lot in the past. When things have been difficult, he has chivvied me along.”

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