Interview: BBC Breakfast's Carol Kirkwood brightens everyone's day

Flashback to 2012 when Carol Kirkwood was the guest speaker at the West Newton WI meeting, which was attended by The Queen.

Flashback to 2012 when Carol Kirkwood was the guest speaker at the West Newton WI meeting, which was attended by The Queen. - Credit: Ian Burt/Archant

She's the TV weather presenter who brings a smile to even the greyest forecast and recently she revealed her engagement live on BBC Breakfast. In the May 2022 issue of Let's Talk magazine, Carol Kirkwood chats with David Clayton.

BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood holds dear a special memory from our part of the world. She was invited to talk to the Sandringham WI, with The Queen in attendance on her annual visit.
“I’ll never forget it, they made such of fuss of me,” Carol recalls. “It was just after Christmas in 2012. The Queen has a good sense of humour and puts everyone at ease. I was introduced and shook her hand.”
Then Carol revealed another interesting Royal connection. When the Queen is staying at Balmoral, she’s woken each morning by the Royal Piper.
“He watches me do the weather on the TV then decides what to play appropriate to the day’s forecast.” 

Carol in front of the 'green screen' where she gives her weather forecasts.

Carol in front of the 'green screen' where she gives her weather forecasts. - Credit: Carol Kirkwood

Carol is a familiar and friendly face on our  TV screens, having been explaining the weather to us for something like 25 years.
She was born in the hamlet of Morar, in Inverness-shire, in the Highlands of Scotland, and her education started in the small village school, with just seven other pupils in her class. Following her schooldays, Carol went on to secretarial studies influenced somewhat by her parents who concluded whatever happened, she’d always get a job. She did, eventually joining the secretarial reserve at the BBC. That led to being a production assistant on Newsnight and Breakfast Time, where she worked with Frank Bough and Selina Scott.
“I used to give Frank his early morning alarm phone call at 3am. One day his son answered after just tiptoeing into the house from a very late night out. He grabbed the phone quickly, worried his father would find him out. “I left it for a few discreet minutes and called again,” she laughs. 
Carol had a friend working in TV training who needed a presenter so the trainees could practise making television. She’d always wanted to work in front of the camera, and this was a perfect first step. It led to some work on a cable TV channel, by which time Carol had found herself an agent who landed her an audition with the UK branch of The Weather Channel, a much-watched TV station in America. She went out to Atlanta to be trained in meteorology and broadcasting.
“I gave it my best shot,” she says. Carol must have done, because by the end of the 1990s she was one of the BBC’s team of regular weather presenters and popped up on various channels, BBC World, BBC News, BBC One, BBC Two and Radios One, Two, Three and Four.

An insight into how the studio looks when Carol is giving her TV weather forecast.

An insight into how the studio looks when Carol is giving her TV weather forecast. - Credit: Carol Kirkwood


For the past 20 years, or so, Carol has been part of BBC One’s Breakfast programme and has endeared herself to the large audience with her cheery forecasts. She’s very much part of the team to the extent she, Sally Nugent and Steph McGovern have holidayed together on several occasions. Sally has now replaced Louise Minchin as a regular presenter and Steph now has her own lunchtime show on Channel Four.
“Those trips must have been hilarious!” I suggest. “They were,” Carol laughs out loud, especially when I tell her I wished I’d been a fly on the wall ...
Carol competed on Strictly Come Dancing in 2015, partnered by Pasha Kovalev, getting as far as week seven. I wondered whether 
she wanted to do more than her regular weather presenting.
“I just love what I’m doing,” she replies. “I’m about to turn 60 and very content with my lot.”
Part of that contentment is her unusual working day starting at 2.45am, four days a week, because it has given her some space and time to launch a writing career.
“I was first approached by an agent and then commissioned by publishers Harper Collins. I told them if I did write a book it would have to be the sort of thing I like reading; something escapist in a glamorous location with a romantic twist. I came up with a skeleton of the story.”

Carol Kirkwood is reaching a new audience through her writing, with her second novel due out in July

Carol Kirkwood is reaching a new audience through her writing, with her second novel due out in July. Photo: Courtesy Harper Collins - Credit: Harper Collins

They must have liked it because Carol’s first novel, Under a Greek Moon came out in July last year.
“I would have been delighted had it just got in the top 100 best sellers,” she confesses. “When the publishers rang to say it was straight in at number two, it made me cry. I was thrilled.”
So, where did the love of writing come from? “My mother reminded me that at secondary school I’d often write not one but six essays for my teacher Mr Cox, who really encouraged me, so it was always there.” 

Carol's first novel, Under A Greek Moon, was an immediate hit.

Carol's first novel, Under A Greek Moon, was an immediate hit. - Credit: Harper Collins


Carol has repeatedly won awards for her TV weather presenting over several years.
“I always have in my mind who’s likely to be watching and what do they want to know.”
She makes it look easy while the rest of us are rubbing the sleep from our eyes.
“When you see us, we’ve been up for a long while already.”
Do you ever get used to the weird hours, I ask? “I have two alarms, I’d never wake up otherwise,” she admits. On her days off she manages to sleep in until 4.30am.
Carol has completed her second novel for Harper Collins, so look out for more escapism in a glamorous location, as the title suggests. The Hotel on the Riviera is out in July. 
“You can already order it online,” says Carol, enthusiastically.  I sense it won’t be long before she’s on the first chapters of novel number three. ■

Carol Kirkwood is in the May 2022 issue of Let's Talk magazine.

Carol Kirkwood is in the May 2022 issue of Let's Talk magazine. - Credit: Archant