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My People: Frank Mitchell on his special relationships

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 25/09/2015

Familiar figure: Frank Mitchell is a well-known face from UTV
Familiar figure: Frank Mitchell is a well-known face from UTV
Frank and his daughter Laura

The 52-year-old lives in Belfast with his wife Helena and his daughter Laura (23). He presents the Frank Mitchell phone-in each weekday morning on the U105 radio station and is UTV’s weather presenter.

My wife, Helena

We met at teacher training college many years ago. I might not have become a teacher but I never really escaped teaching (as Helena teaches) - I see it every evening and the amount of hard work that goes into it. It never stops.

My daughter, Laura

Laura is currently working in Newcastle upon Tyne since she graduated with a first class degree in architecture a few months ago.

She took a year out to go travelling in Asia and Australia and then spent a year of her degree studying in Madrid.

It was very difficult when she went away the first time, but Newcastle seems very close compared to some of the places that she has been. Any parent would prefer their child to be at home, though.

My parents, Frank and Lily

My father passed away in 1993 but mum is still here. My father owned a shop selling TVs and electrical goods in Warrenpoint.

The irony was we didn't even have electric at home until we moved house when I was 10. We all worked in the shop from time to time and I learned a lot about broadcasting and interacting with people by seeing how my dad dealt with his customers.

I'm the only boy and was sandwiched between my sisters Eleanor and Theresa-Anne. Eleanor now lives in Dublin but we're all close and have lots of interaction.

My parents always knew I had teaching to fall back on, but they were so supportive about my interest in radio. Even as a teenager when I was at college I would travel to Dundalk every night of the week to broadcast on Radio Carousel and they would even lend me their car. The media was all very new and unusual back then and I thank them for being genuinely interested in what I was doing.

My best friend, Jack

My best friend is Jack. He's full-on, loud and lively and a great listener. I can talk to him for three hours about Manchester City and he won't give me any grief - he just wags his tail. You cannot beat a friend like that - he's a fox terrier.

I don't have one single best friend and I never did. I do have a great group of guys that I played football with on the Burren team where I'm from. They'll all be very good and very important friends for the rest of my life.

My mentor

There are many people in my career who assisted me. To choose a couple who over a long period of time have been beneficial to me, one is Jamie Delargy.

He's the business editor at UTV, he's a font of great wisdom and is exceptionally intelligent.

The other person who greatly helped me when I started out as a radio producer in the BBC is Cherrie McIlwaine.

She helped me carve out my life in broadcasting and I owe that to her.

The person I go to for advice

My mother is like a one-woman advice machine. She'll give me advice on absolutely anything, from haircuts to cars - I think it's built into her DNA. Sometimes you wonder if she's right - but when you look back on it she always is.

Celebrity crush

I remember watching TV one day and saw a young Pamela Ballantine and thinking I would love to meet her. I did go on to meet her at a party and it was she who suggested I apply for a job at UTV, as she thought I would be a good fit - I've been there ever since. She is the guiding light for me.

Fantasy dinner party

I would like the opportunity to sit and talk to the singer John Fogarty, as I think he's a class act.

I'd also invite for Sir David Jason. I'm a massive fan of his and what he does - I find him incredibly talented.

Next, I'd ask Sergio Aguero, so I could cook him a meal and thank him for that goal that he scored in the 94th minute that allowed Manchester City to win the Premiership.

Finally, I'd ask Barabbas - the man Pontius Pilate freed from crucifixion instead of Jesus. I want to ask him if he got any satisfaction out of his release.

  • For more information and schedules go to the UTV website www.u.tv

Belfast Telegraph

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