THERE were stormy skies and it was blowing a gale as weather forecaster Sian Lloyd walked towards me, but as viewers know, her smile is a ray of sunshine. Ok I admit I'm a big fan, and meeting her in the flesh exceeded my expectations. Despite admitting that she had overslept, and had only had time to throw on some clothes and swipe some lipgloss, she looks radiant. Her shoulder length blonde hair is shining as it swirls in the breeze and she oozes a calm confidence. Now in her forties, she is the second longest serving member of the Met Office International Weather Productions team of forecasters, providing national ITV forecasts and local programmes for the London area on Carlton and LWT. Obviously the veteran of 4am wakeup calls, I was surprised when she confided that she is not a morning person. “I hate mornings!” We nonetheless spent a delightful half hour chatting, during which she disclosed how she became a television weather forecaster, some behind-the-weather-maps secrets, and her future project in Majorca with her friend, fellow Welsh celebrity Catherine Zeta Jones. How did you get into being a TV Weather Forecaster? “It was the age old thing of being in the right place at the right time. I did a BBC graduate traineeship for current affairs after university, which was a great training. I then worked for worldwide television news, which is like a big news agency that provides news throughout the world. So in those days I would broadcast to Australia, Hong Kong and other English speaking countries, but not to the UK. At the time the Met Office asked us to produce a programme on really dramatic histrionic weather, like hurricanes typhoons etc. I produced that documentary for them. (A producer as well. Is there no end to your talents?)
They were looking for someone for their team with journalistic skills. They screen tested a lot of people but I'm fortunate in having a very good memory. We don't have autocue. In fact we are one of the few programmes on telly without live autocue. So it's absolutely essential that your timing is spot on. We have sponsorship worth millions of pounds every year, so you have to begin and end at exactly the right place, taking special care not to crash the sponsorship at the end. The reason I have done well throughout my life is that I have this semi photographic memory. Of course they screen tested lots and lots of people, but the timing and their memory wasn't up to it. So I genuinely think it was a case of bunging me in front of the camera because I had journalistic experience and was the only one that could hit that zero when I was meant to and remember what I was meant to say.
So many people come and go and the real trick in the media is to stay there especially if you're a woman. They do research into us continuously (to keep them on their toes). They say for the next three months we're doing extensive research throughout the country and we're asking everyone's view on everything about you: your smile, your clothes, everything and that makes you very self-aware. Martin Davis and I have reached a stage that it doesn't matter if you're not particularly talented (I think she's being over modest) people are just used to seeing you there. They feel comfortable and trust you and I think that's why we do well in research. You have an aura of serene calm about you.
I don't panic when everything is going wrong. That might be due to the fact that I have a very healthy attitude to it. I just think: ‘It's only TV' (I add I often consider my work as just fish and chip wrapping tomorrow.) I'm not particularly ambitious. One of my biggest failings, which is also a strength, is that I've seen so many highly ambitious grafting people in TV come and go. I suppose I'm calm because in the great scheme of things TV isn't that important to me. I suppose I enjoy the moment more in that way. Lembit would probably tell you I have a vile temper and I can scream and shout with the best of them.” Better out than in we agreed. Although I couldn't envision her having a tantrum. Lembit Opik, the Liberal Democrat MP, is her fiancé. She showed me her heart shaped diamond engagement ring which symbolised her perfectly: tasteful, elegant and nationalistic. “It's Welsh gold and we designed it ourselves. We've been together for three and a half years now. An unusual fusion: a Politician and Weather girl. He's also into astronomy so you can imagine the jokes we get out of that: He's into space. She's into the sky etc. Lembit also has a very analytical mind whereas I'm very impressionistic. For example, following recent elections I would react to losing seats by saying: It's because of David Cameron or whatever, but he would want to analyse who we had lost seats to etc.” How about all those morning calls? “I'm so bad it's not true. Inject coffee into my veins and then I can talk. But the News Channel came off the air just before Christmas, so joy of joys I don't have to do that anymore.” I hear Catherine Zeta Jones is joining you to bring another charity to Majorca. “Yes it's called SWS, which is a wonderful Welsh word for kiss. We make it stand for Social Welsh Sexy. Catherine Zeta Jones is our Patron and our logo is a pair of red sexy lips. They're Catherine's lips. Ten years ago we took the smallest room in the Gaucho club in London. Forty of us came along and we set up SWS. Since then we have over 3000 members. The money goes to various educational children's charities. We have SWS New York, to tie in with Catherine's wedding, SWS LA; we even set it up several years ago in Moscow. We have one in mainland Spain and are now thinking of doing a SWS Majorca. Especially as Catherine and Michael have a connection here.” This may be Sian's first trip to Majorca but it doesn't look like being her last. “I love it here, everyone's so friendly here and laid back” she added.