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Relatively Speaking: Denise Watson and her sister Julie

By Karen Ireland

Published 30/12/2015

Sister act: Denise Watson and Julie Hailes
Sister act: Denise Watson and Julie Hailes

Denise Watson is a presenter on UTV and U105. She previously worked at the BBC for 17 years. Her sister Julie Hailes is the owner of Below the Line Marketing.

Name: Denise Watson

Age: 44

Occupation: TV and radio presenter

Relationship to Julie: Sister

This week I am presenting on U105 on the Bistro afternoon show and I am living the dream. I have always loved radio and it's a real thrill to be back presenting. It's like coming home.

I started my broadcasting career in Q Radio back in 1992. At the time, I was finishing off my college course and juggling a job in Marks & Spencer withworking on the radio, but it was great fun.

I was then head-hunted by an independent production company which did sport for Sky and I enjoyed that.

Following that, I got a call to do a screen test for a sports job at the BBC.

I had been writing them letters for years in the hope of securing some work, so I thought I would never get it.

I went for the audition thinking I will just enjoy this as I'll never get the job, but I did and I was over the moon. I stayed at the BBC presenting sport from 1996 until 2013.

Everything was changing in the industry and I was looking for a new challenge, so I got a presenting contract with UTV and I am now back working in television as well as on radio, which is my first love.

Away from work, I juggle home life with my husband, David Scott, and our two daughters, Samantha (11) and Elizabeth (7).

Life is hectic, but I have great support not only from David, but from my in-laws, my parents and my sister, Julie.

There is just the two of us siblings and we have always been close. Growing up, we would have spent a lot of time together and done the same things.

She has two boys who are the same ages as my girls, so the family is very close and the kids get to spend a lot of time together.

We help each other out on school runs, as the children all go to the same school. No matter how busy I am in work, my family will always come first. So, if the girls have choir concerts, or birthdays, or anything special going on, I won't work that day.

I really admire Julie's business sense. She has her own business and is extremely creative and talented. She is brilliant at what she does.

I like to say she is the brains behind events and launches. She comes up with the concept and then other people make it happen, but it's all down to her creativity.

Her business sense is second to none. She is extremely honest and straight-talking, and gets the deal done with integrity.

She's definitely smarter than me when it comes to business. She is also a fantastic mum and a great friend.

I go to her for advice, as she is always the one who makes me see reason and in the cold light of day I realise what she has said makes good sense. She is very direct. I call her my "voice of reason".

I took her to Amsterdam last year for her 40th birthday and that was very special, as we got to spend quality time with each other, chatting, drinking coffee, or a wee glass of wine and just chilling out.

She is great company and I enjoy any time we get together."

Name: Julie Hailes

Age: 41

Occupation: Owner of Below the Line Marketing

Relationship to Denise: Sister

I run my own marketing company. I love the flexibility of having my own business. I used to work for Red Bull across Ireland and, before that, Coca-Cola, but then I had my two boys, Daniel (11) and Charlie (7) and it was difficult to balance working long hours and continual travelling with having a family.

I still work long hours, but I work them around the children and make up time when I can. I have great support from my family, which means a lot.

Denise and I help each other out a lot with childcare. She will pick the kids up one week and I will do it the next. I had her girls last week to enable her to do some Christmas shopping and she did the same for me.

Denise and I were always close growing up, as there is only a few years between us. We had the same group of friends and I was lucky as she would let me tag along with her and go out with her and her friends.

We did a lot of stuff together growing up and had similar interests, but, of course, we would have the usual sibling rivalry.

I love that Denise is so caring. She looks after everyone else and makes sure they are okay.

She is also good fun and the kids love spending time with her, as she entertains everyone.

I am very proud of the job that she does and all that she has achieved. In many ways, she broke through the glass ceiling to have the job she did in television sport, which has always been so male-dominated.

I am proud to be introduced to people as Denise Watson's sister. The only problem is we are so busy we don't see as much of each other as we'd like to - our lives are so hectic. We both have so much going on and I know it drives her crazy when I don't answer her texts, or ring her back.

Honestly, it's not because I don't care - it is just I forget sometimes due to the pressures of work.

But I really am so proud to have her as my sister."

Achieving all her goals...

  • Denise Watson studied at Queen's University, Belfast from 1990 to 1993
  • She worked in Q Radio from 1991 to 1995 and also held down a job in Marks & Spencer
  • In 1996, she joined BBC as a sports journalist. After 17 years, she left and went on to cross-platform journalism at UTV and recently started presenting on U105
  • She is married to David Scott and they have two daughters, Samantha and Elizabeth

Belfast Telegraph

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