One of Northern Ireland’s best known television presenters has told of the trauma of losing her job.
Pamela Ballantine was recently axed from UTV after a career that spanned 27 years in a shock decision that has stunned viewers.
But the local TV star — who burst into tears when she heard she had lost her job — won’t disappear entirely from our screens, as she will continue to freelance for the station.
“Redundancies have been on the cards and several people have already gone,” she told Sunday Life.
“Technically, my job went last April but they created another one for me as a cross-platform presenter and UTV ambassador.
“As far as I know, that role will be continuing and I’ll be there representing them at the Fate Awards and the UTV Business Eye Awards.”
Pamela, who started out as a secretary at Downtown, had been told at the outset that her new job was on a probationary six-month basis.
However, she was still shocked when she learned her career was to end via a series of meetings that reduced her to tears.
“I cried during the first one, managed to hold it together for the second and really broke down at the third,” she said.
“My initial reaction was definitely one of shock even though the meetings had prepared me for the inevitable outcome.”
When the UTV Life daily magazine was binned, the Belfast woman said it sounded alarm bells for her.
“It was such a big part of my life for almost 10 years and I absolutely loved it,” she said.
“There were times when I was glad to sit down at 5.30 for a rest! I genuinely miss working with Frank (Mitchell).
“Viewers thought we were married I nagged him so much.”
The veteran presenter said she has been touched by the many messages of support from the public and her colleagues.
“I’m a great believer in positive thinking and you never know what might turn up,” she added.
“People have been very kind. I’ve had loads of phone calls and cards and texts. Your morale takes a real dip and it’s lovely when people take their time to let you know how they feel.”
Pamela also praised her boyfriend Alan for being her rock over recent months.
“I simply couldn’t have got through the last year without him,” she said.