Sian Williams

Sian Williams

Author, Journalist

Sian Williams is a journalist, broadcaster and writer, with a background in psychology.

For more than thirty years, she has worked in daily broadcast news – as a reporter, producer and anchor of some of the BBC’s biggest shows. She is the main anchor on ITN/C5 ‘5 News’ and continuing to make network television and radio shows for the BBC, too.

She is also passionate about learning how our brains work and whether they can be re-wired, especially after a period of adversity or trauma.

Sian has an MSc in Psychology (Distinction), is a trained trauma assessor and has made two Radio 4 series on the mind and the brain, ‘The Thought Chamber’ and ‘How to Build a Better Brain’. The latter was described by The Psychologist magazine as ‘touching and illuminating, a great listen’.

The latest, a R4 documentary on ‘The Science of Resilience’ airs soon.

Her book ‘Rise: Surviving and Thriving after Trauma’ is out at the beginning of June. It’s a personal story of how we can rebuild after a traumatic event shatters our life. It’s illustrated by testimony (including her own) and backed up by science.

What the Papers Say:

“Colleagues at the BBC testify to her grit and skill as a hard news journalist”   Daily Telegraph

“Sian is… valued as a political interviewer” Daily Mail.

“Gordon Brown didn’t expect to be grilled by Sian Williams on his untrue claim that he has lowered that national debt, Sian challenged him, rightly” Fraser Nelson, Spectator

“Modern BBC newsreaders like Huw Edwards, George Alagiagh and Sian Williams have impeccable journalistic credentials. They wade through reams of wire copy and speak to correspondents themselves before writing cues, rather than reading out loud, stuff that’s been written for them” Brian Viner, Independent

“Sad news indeed that the wonderful Sian Williams is quitting BBC Breakfast when the programme moves North, despite pulling double the audience of its rival Daybreak” Amanda Platell, Daily Mail

“The Queen of the Breakfast Sofa” Peter Preston, Observer

“Breakfast TV’s answer to Anna Wintour..her controlled sass is as much a part (of the programme) as the red sofa or the Breakfast logo” Imogen Fox, Guardian

“The departure of popular Sian will be a huge blow to BBC bosses..she and Bill Turnbull have an army of fans” Daily Mirror

“For the past decade, she has been the doyenne of the BBC’s popular Breakfast show… the show has doubled its audience since she joined” Polly Dunbar, Daily Mail

Career to date:

1985 – 1990: BBC trainee reporter. BBC Radio Merseyside, Liverpool. Covered stories like the demise of Militant tendency and the Hillsborough disaster.

Jan – June 1990: Regional Journalist, North West Tonight, Manchester.

July 1990 – July 1997: Editor of the Day. Radio 4 The World at One and PM.

1990 – 1997: Editor R4 Specials. Budgets, Local and European Election coverage. 1992, special programme following the then Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, as he launched his campaign to be US President. Also live programmes on the release of Beirut hostages and the Moscow riots as Yeltsin stormed Parliament. During the Bosnian peace talks, secured an exclusive interview with Radovan Karadic, the Bosnian Serb war criminal.

May 1997: Studio producer, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5, General Election programme.

June 1997: Editor. BBC News 24 (now the BBC News channel).

Nov 1997 – July 1999: Presenter 1600-1900 BBC News 24.

1999 – 2001: Special Correspondent, BBC Six O’Clock News.

2000: Presenter, BBC1 Millennium Programme.

2001 – 2005: Presenter, BBC Breakfast. Fri-Sun.

2005 – 2012: Presenter, BBC Breakfast, Mon-Thurs.

May 2010: Presenter, BBC1 General Election Coverage programme, 1000-1400.

July – August 2012: Presenter, BBC Olympic Breakfast.

1997 – 2013: Newsreader, BBC1 bulletins.

2010 – 2013 : Presenter of prime time series: National Treasures Live (x 6), Goodnight Britain (x 2), Your Money, Their Tricks (x 4). Guest presenter Crimewatch, The Andrew Marr Show.

April 2012 – August 2013: Co-presenter, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live.

August 2013: The Sian Williams Interview Show (BBC Wales)

June 2013 – 2015: Presenter, BBC1 Sunday Morning Live.

January 2016 – present: Presenter, ITN/Channel 5 News, Presenter R4 documentaries


Sian Williams @sianwilliams100

There is always heaviness to this week. I will never forget where I was twenty years ago and what we were waiting for. Go gently on your harsh, clever critique of whether the ultimate sacrifice paid by so many was worth it. My ❤️ is with all those who suffer still #Iraq20YearsOn

How did it go, @YoungMindsUK?
Hopefully you got some transparent, measurable, costed pledges to #EndTheWait in #mentalhealthsupport
Thanks for continuing to fight for young people.

From my sons - a kit for my first ever (!) festival this summer…came with curated playlist and phone charger - what else do I need?

This #MothersDay will have been tough for many.
Those who lost their Mums might have spent the day thinking of things they wish they’d said or done but didn’t get a chance to.
It’s ok. She’s in your thoughts now. Say a quiet ‘thank you’

.@eliistender10 is a lovely person.
If you haven’t sent him love already - please do.
He’s very generous with his.

Quick question for academics: how often do you find yourself working (even if just for an hour or two) on a day where you have annual leave? #AcademicTwitter

Good luck @aliceoutthere1!
Hair is LUSH (book’s good too)

Filming advice about young people and #mentalhealth
Thanks to the team - lots of good videos here 👇
@NHSEngland @healthymindsbdc

You’re bigger than the big kids who made you feel small.

Recommending this series on @BBCRadio4 - on now - the dangers of bad science (and fraudulent papers) by @StuartJRitchie
And this one from @suicideresearch @helenlewis

📣📣📣Calling all #nurses and #midwives. A great opportunity to help the system recognise and celebrate the wonderful work you do @theRCN @WeNurses @WeMidwives

Just seen this @journalismnews - thanks for including me in your list! 👇
Speakers you need at your next #journalism event to avoid all-male panels

Thinking of women everywhere especially those living under repressive regimes run by men who want to crush their spirits and silence their voices #InternationalWomenDay

Delighted to be a panellist discussing
the findings of the Online Harms for Women in Journalism survey, hosted by @WIJ X Reach on International Women’s Say

Speakers include me, @y_alibhai, @MirrorAlison, @RebeccaWMedia. This Wed, 1-2pm. Sign up here:

Also on the @BBCWomansHour wall of wonderful women - the magnificent @BreneBrown 👇

Ahead of #IWD - am waiting to record #Lifechanging in the @BBCWomansHour studio - and looking at a wall of amazing women who’ve all been on the show…without zooming in - who do you see?

Listening to women in their 20s on @bbcradio4 talking about the horrific frequency of ‘flashing’ (itself a term that doesn’t remotely cover the crime) and realising this was a frequent occurrence when I was in my 20s.
At least three decades ago.
How have we let this happen?

They’re #grounding with 5 senses on @BBCTheArchers @BBCRadio4

5 things you can see 👁️
4 things you can feel 🖐️
3 things you can hear 🎧
2 things you can smell 🌸
1 thing you can 👅

If you’re in #panic with mind on high alert - it’s worth a try
#mentalhealth #anxiety #worry

Last weekend - both together - but where?
Clue: location starred in a famous TV spin-off (minus the dog)

Saturday dog walks. Coast or country - what’s your favourite?