Freelance Journalism

I have enjoyed a rather bizarre but fantastic career. One minute interviewing Victoria Beckham as she munches through a plate of marmite on toast, the next sipping Champagne at a table with Brad Pitt and George Clooney in Cannes and then bent double laughing in Leeds Town Hall while chatting to Liz Dawn AKA Vera Duckworth, after she became Lady Mayoress (one of my favourite moments).

Throughout my 25 years in the industry I’ve been lucky enough to make a vast amount of contacts, especially within the circles of national and regional press. This means I’m able to continue my first love of journalism – old fashion style – which means having contacts that you meet for lunch and call rather than just email.

Among my most recently published features in the Sunday Express was an interview with BBC presenter Kathryn Apanowicz, who gave me her only in-depth interview after her late partner and national TV treasure Richard Whiteley was accused of being a spy for M15 by actor Ricky Tomlinson. And apart from interviews and comment pieces, I also write national and international travel features for a number of publications including OK! and S Magazine.

I love writing for the iconic Yorkshire Life Magazine, and have penned columns on numerous topics, ranging from my many meetings with members of the Royal family, attending glamorous celebrity parties such as Sir Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball as well as personal subjects such as dealing with a diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer.

Apart from writing, I relish doing TV and radio work and have appeared on a number of programmes including This Morning, BBC News and I’m a regular newspaper reviewer on BBC Radio York.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Lisa Byrne for nearly twenty years since she first walked into the OK! editorial room as a freelancer. Through sheer determination and hard work Lisa quickly worked her way up the editorial team to features’ editor, then deputy and finally editor. Her tenacity paid off when through her tenure overseeing the magazine, OK! became one of the best selling publications in the world. During bidding wars for celebrity weddings, engagements etc often rival publications would offer more but people chose to go with OK! purely because Lisa and dedicated her team developed personal relationships with celebrities, agents and PRs.

Since she moved into PR I am immensely proud of what Lisa has achieved and how she has amassed such a high end group of clients. I know she works extremely hard to do the best she can for each and every one. But probably Lisa’s best asset is her personality which is always warm, empathetic but focused.

Martin Townsend, Editor-in-Chief Sunday Express and former Editor of OK! Magazine