GMTV's Marcella Whittingdale loves mornings in Manchester

PUBLISHED: 19:43 16 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:39 20 February 2013

Marcella Whittingdale

Marcella Whittingdale

GMTV's new Northern correspondent tells Lancashire Life why she just loves her new life in Manchester

If you ever stare at your wardrobe wailing I have nothing to wear then spare a thought for GMTVs newest correspondent for the north, Marcella Whittingdale.

By now, the Manchester-based broadcaster and producer will have returned from her most demanding assignment yet - reporting on the troops over in Helmand Provence in Afghanistan - and she reveals that clothes will have a far greater function than just making her look presentable on the telly.

I know its going to be hot, but not THAT hot and cold at night, she explained, prior to flying out.

And obviously, I have to take my editing equipment as well as body armour, a helmet and general clothes, however, nothing that looks too military. I have just done a hostile environment course and I was told that should the worst happen when you get out there you shouldnt wear khaki or beige, you should look like a reporter.

She admits that the trip is a big deal for her. It is the sort of assignment every journalist dreams of and when they asked me, there was no hesitation. It was yes please although my cameraman said to me youre going to Afghanistan, you get really excited and then as soon as you touch down you say Ive made a really big mistake although hes going again so can it be that bad?

This was what I always wanted to do. I wanted to be like Kate Adie, who was there at college in Falmouth, Cornwall, to give me my postgraduate diploma in journalism. She has always been a hero of mine. And the big thing is finding the stories and doing a good job.

As one of only two GMTV correspondents covering the entire north of the UK, she has had to decamp from the Brighton home she shares with her husband Pete (who she reveals was a soldier before becoming IT manager for the Terence Conran Group) and move to a city centre apartment in Manchester.

It is very, very different from the house in Brighton, which is one of those multicoloured Victorian terrace, she says of her new contemporary loft-style home.

My apartment is in a converted mill, functional and quite modern, but it really suits me because it is so close to everything. And I can just walk to Granada Studios. Without going there I would be completely insular. Everyone at Granada is really lovely and it is a really impressive newsroom.

It is all those things and more which have quickly turned her into a big fan of the north-west. Its the shopping, the accessibility and the friendliness of the people.

I was researching a piece about shopping in Hale in Cheshire, a place I am so keen to explore and everyone was just so helpful, she reveals. And Pete loves it here too. When I worked in London for two years he visited once and in three months hes already been to Manchester three times. The place suits us both because it is vibrant and theres so much to do. When hes here, we go out a lot. My favourite restaurants include Tampopo and Abode. Weve been to Abode a fair bit, the food is fantastic.

She loves it when informed that another favourite haunt, Zinc Bar and Grill was actually designed by her husbands employers, too - Terence Conran. We didnt know! But we must have sensed it, she says delightedly.

We met in Brighton but it is a very dull story. He was the flatmate of a very good friend of mine and we just hit it off. Our wedding was in 2008 so weve been married for a year and a bit.

Before she came to Manchester, she admits she didnt really know what to expect from the city and indeed from her new GMTV role.

Obviously I had been around the north of England but mostly the countryside; I wasnt so familiar with cities themselves. But I love Manchester, it is very vibrant, fun, lively and so fashionable everybody make an effort when they go out for the night.

The shopping too is fantastic, very different to Brighton, which is all about boutique shops in alleyways. In Manchester youve got everything and shops like Zara and Next are huge. I adore the shops.

Not that she has much time for retail therapy judging from a schedule that takes her one minute to cover the floods and their aftermath in Cockermouth in the Lakes and the next, to Bishop Auckland to interview a girl whose big ambition is to be the next Jordan. Of course, she cant afford any wardrobe malfunctions and explains that although she loves a party as much as the next girl, even one drink will show on the face the next day.

I was up at 3.30am covering the floods then changing clothes to do a story about the girl who wants to be Jordan, then back into the boots and the long johns. But I will always wear make-up. Even when I was in Cockermouth I wore it and I will always have my hair done. Ive been going to Trevor Sorbie for four years now as they have a salon in Brighton and thank goodness they have one in Manchester.

And the reason why I love it so much is that whichever salon you go to and whoever you get an appointment with it will always be a great cut, plus I enjoy going there for a good gossip too.

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