My Yorkshire: BBC radio presenter Georgey Spanswick

Broadcaster Georgey Spanswick has been a popular and successful radio and television presenter for 30 years.

Georgey Spanswick.
Georgey Spanswick.

She’s now back at BBC Radio York presenting the Breakfast Show. Georgey, 50, lives near Boroughbridge.

What is your first Yorkshire memory?

Twenty nine years ago, I arrived in Headingley from London and was going to stay with the mother of one of my friends. I’d be sleeping on the sofa and had come up to work at what was then Yorkshire Television. I drove into Headingley and the car blew up. I was here for only a month to read the news on Calendar. When my month’s probation was up, it was my birthday. So I went to see my boss and said: “My month’s up. Are you going to sack me on my birthday?” Needless to say, he said I could stay. I’ve been blissfully happy here ever since.

What is your favourite part of Yorkshire and why?

Home is where the heart is. I love North Yorkshire, the countryside and the open spaces. We also have the coast just around the corner, so we have the seaside as well. I love Scarborough and have some good memories of the town. Many years ago, I did an outside broadcast with Richard Whiteley at the boating lake at Peasholm Park and I remember, too, interviewing Take That on the seafront.

What is it do you think that gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

The people, absolutely. It’s the wit, the humour and the warmth. You can stand at a set of traffic lights and someone will strike up a conversation with you, but in the South, it’s as if you’ve landed from a spaceship.

Do you have a favourite Yorkshire person?

My partner Peter Ward. We’ve been together for 11 years and he really does have my admiration. He was widowed 12 years ago and was left with two daughters, then aged nine and 11. He had to rise to the challenge and did so remarkably. I think a lot of people would have faltered, but he didn’t. Peter’s brought them up, made a good job of it and didn’t shirk his responsibilities. The girls lost their mum at the worst possible time and Pete did a great job.

If you took out a Yorkshire personality for lunch who would it be? That would have to be James Norton, who’s from Malton. He’s such a versatile actor and someone I’ve been trying for years to get on to the Breakfast Show. When I watched Grantchester, in which he played Sidney, and then I saw the horrible character he played in Happy Valley, I didn’t believe it could be the same actor.

And if you had the choice of taking a well-known Yorkshire actress out for dinner who would you choose?

Everyone says Judi Dench and my partner says that is so predictable. Nevertheless, I watched Nothing like a Dame with Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins and Judi Dench, and I thought she seemed like a really funny lady. She said the one thing that she wished she’d known was not to fall in love so often. That struck a chord with me and I thought that was really from the soul and the heart.

Is there a particular Yorkshire sportsman or woman you admire?

Nicola Adams, the boxer. I think Nicola is incredible, she’s top of her game and has a good spirit about her. She’s a role model for women. I know people think “boxing and punching people”, but it is a sport and Nicola is a very good boxer who’s done so well.

Do you have a favourite pub or restaurant?

The Punch Bowl Inn at Marton-cum-Grafton, near Boroughbridge. The staff there are delightful and the food’s good. On a Tuesday night, you can get a steak for two and a bottle of wine all for £15. Here in York, we are spoiled, but I like Cafe No 8 and there’s also the Gillygate across the road from BBC Radio York. They do a good breakfast and it’s owned by Brian Fury, an Irishman with a wit to match.

Do you have a favourite hidden gem?

That’s also in York. It’s called Love Cheese and is run by Harry Baines. It’s very popular and, importantly, it’s an independent shop and has a good cheese selection. There’s a cafe as well and the choice of wines is excellent. Harry’s survived cancer and has gone on to have three children.

If a stranger came to Yorkshire and you had time to take that person to one place only, where would that be?

Without doubt it would be Robin Hood’s Bay, which is so quirky. There’s a good pub on the seafront and while you’re eating your fish and chips you can be bashed by the tide coming in. Then you can walk the meal off by walking up the hill, so you feel you haven’t indulged too much.

How much fun do you get from your job? Too much fun and hopefully it’s the party that everyone wants to come to. Even though it’s a four o’clock start in the morning, I’m very lucky and people are kind to the old woman on the wireless. Yorkshire is the place that has given me my career and, while I started in London at 20, Yorkshire people have welcomed me and looked after me. So I’m firmly rooted here – a Southern belle with a Northern soul.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed, for the better or for the worse, since you’ve known it?

When I arrived 30 years ago, everything shut at 10pm and that was in the centre of Leeds. I’d come from London where everything was open till the early hours of the morning. Now, there are so many places to go to and so many good restaurants and bars. The food is fantastic with so many outstanding chefs in both our towns and the country.