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

This line: ‘When a story breaks, I must not binge on instant reaction. I must not serve myself slices of thick, buttery outrage on social media’

This just in:
'I am pleased to tell you that your work has now been accepted for publication in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology.'
First peer-reviewed paper!
It's on #journalists, #PTSD, #Risk and post-traumatic growth. Out soon.
@NUJofficial @bectu @DartCenter

Just found myself having my first drink (honest) and listening to #Fortunately .Just to check it’s there. It is. This week with added @Fearnecotton . @fifiglover has gained some spoons, I’ve lost some glasses. Listen . There’s naff all else to do. @BBCSounds

A medical breakthrough could benefit thousands of women.

Around 7,500 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year - less than half live for more than five years.

Those most seriously ill can now be given a drug that works to delay the disease's progression.

Plus the latest #BorisJohnson press conference - statistics and more - on now 5 @5_News

11 year old daughter was a bit upset by slow-cooker stew ‘again’, so helpfully produced a 2-week menu for her parents. We’re on week B.

Out today (open access) - Cognitive Therapy for PTSD and moral injury - thanks to my co-author Anke Ehlers and to @theCBTJournal here’s why we wrote it:

It isn't trauma informed to force formulations on patients who don't consent, to remove all their control & choice, & to share their most painful secrets without their knowledge.
I've started transcribing direct quotes from my mental health appointments & illustrating them...

📢 We've been campaigning to reform the Mental Health Act for years and today is a huge step - but in a lot of ways it's only the beginning.

We need the voice of lived experience to guide this reform at every step.

Get involved in the consultation 👉

Could we be heading for tighter lockdown restrictions?

A further 1,564 people have died with Covid-19 in the UK. That’s the highest number recorded in a single day. As cases also rise, pressure is growing on politicians to strengthen coronavirus measures.


If you want to know how our @NHSuk staff are coping, as they look after the sick and the dying, read this.
Important stuff from @KingsCollegeLon and lead author, @ProfNGreenberg.
For the statistics - and what working in ITU can do to your mental health - join me at 5 on @5_News

Tune in to @channel5_tv at 17:00 GMT to hear @OksanaPyzikUCL speak to @sianwilliams100 on vaccine rollout, involvement of pharmacies & the new pilot for 24/7 vaccine delivery. @uclnews

Breaking: More than 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus have occurred in the UK, PA news agency analysis of official data shows

BREAKING: The Government said a further 1,564 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 - the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began. From PA

Good topic on @itvnews - what to do if you think someone you know has suicidal thoughts?
This, from @samaritans. Don't avoid talking about it.
'By asking someone directly about suicide, you give them permission to tell you how they feel'
If you're struggling, call them: 116 123

Watching @BritainThinks latest focus groups on attitudes to covid crisis. Emotions running higher than I’ve seen, with personal experiences of death and serious illness close to home. Many tears shed.

This #FreeSchoolMeals box is meant to last one child a week. Hannah used to get a £15 food voucher - she says this looks like a fiver's worth.
Join @BootstrapCook on @5_News at 6.30 tonight.

Look at the kids in this: made me laugh tonight.
My 11 year daughter does gymnastics while I'm on air and all I hear is 'thump, thump, thump'

Good point, well made. Will mention to team @5_News