A Week in My Life: Chelsea Norris, BBC Radio Manchester presenter

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin
Chelsea Norris

It's the turn of Chelsea Norris, Breakfast presenter on BBC Radio Manchester, to take us through a week in her working life. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email david@prolificnorth.co.uk.

Monday

Usually, my alarm goes off at 4.10am, but not today. I’m off as my mum is away and I can’t cover childcare. That’s the one thing about presenting Breakfast - making sure my daughter Minnie is taken care of. My husband Ben is up and out as a personal trainer at his gym in Stockport - and mornings are his busiest time, so it’s down to my poor mum to come round and relieve him around 5.45am and wait for Minnie to wake. There’s no wrap-around care or before school clubs that start that early! She’s a huge help to us. 

Today, Minnie has to be in school for 9am for her class photo (even though she doesn’t go on a Monday) so it’s uniform on and looking her best. An hour later and we are back in the car for the next stop - swimming! We’ve been going to Puddle Ducks swimming lessons in Gee Cross since she was five months old. She’s very good by now and I think it’s good for her to have that lifesaving skill. After that’s done, it’s home for a rest for her and some cleaning for me. Imagine Monica in Friends and you’ll have a good idea of what I’m like!

The evening soon comes by which is super warm and it’s Ben’s turn to take over as I drive back to Minnie’s school to host the Parent Teacher Association fashion show to raise funds for the school. It’s a huge success and I manage to sneak a glass of Prosecco so I’m happy.

Back home by 9.10pm and straight to bed!

Tuesday

Alarm at 4.10am - I always lay there for about 10 minutes though combing social media - hasn’t the world changed? I like to see what’s happened overnight, what people are chatting about and if there’s anything trending - all of which we incorporate into the show. I arrive at the BBC in Media City for around 5.20am and it’s a quick log in to the studio - chat with the team and two to three minutes on air with Mark Crossley to promote what’s coming up from 6am.

The show is always very busy and can be a moveable feast - changing things to balance when guests are not there or when we change the conversation subjects from what we originally had planned. I never leave the studio from 6-9am. Today all went well and I hang around until 10.15am for our morning news agenda meeting. Everyone gets together to discuss what should be in the day’s news bulletins and what news items we should be including for the next day.

By 11am I’m free and today it’s GYM DAY. The afternoon flies by and before I know it - Mum is back to take Minnie to her house while I head back into Media City and the BBC studios for a photo shoot. Myself, Mike Sweeney, Becky Want and Phil Trow are all there to pose together for a daytime line-up picture. It will feature on a huge board outside Manchester Piccadilly for a few months so we are all a bit giddy with excitement.

The highlight was Mike trying to make us laugh by shouting expletives and me having to stand on a pack of A4 paper to give me those valuable few inches God forgot to donate! The photo looks great and by 7.30pm its time to head home.

Wednesday

Minnie stayed at Nana’s house so it was a full sleep of 9.25pm-4.10am and I’m feeling good. Great show chatting about what songs make you feel happy! Loads of people calling in and I leave with a skip in my step. Out at 9.30am today as I’m off to meet a radiographer at Salford Royal to interview her about what she saw the night of the Manchester Arena bomb.

It’s nearly 12 months on and we will be broadcasting the Breakfast show live from St Ann’s Square next Tuesday to mark the anniversary. The chat with the radiographer was difficult as she was so emotional - I still can’t believe what happened that night. And imagining it so easily could have been me taking Minnie. It doesn’t bear thinking about. In bed by 9pm – I’m exhausted.

Thursday

If I thought I was exhausted yesterday today is a new level. Minnie was poorly in the night and had me up a total of six times.
Off to work I go still with a call to my mum en-route to ask her to keep Minnie off nursery and take her to the doctors. Turns out she has an ear infection so Mum keeps her off until I can get home to look after her.

Great show again. Inzy was teaching me all about Ramadan - why Muslims do it, if they look forward to it and if it’s hard. Inzy is Muslim and was dreading it as he loves food. He is a great guy and I love working with him and, on a cultural level, he has taught me so much.
We got some lovely comments about the new show today. I’ve only been presenting the Radio Manchester Breakfast show since the end of March, so it’s still so new but I’m really enjoying it. I’m lucky to be working with the legend that is Paul Lockitt, who I worked with previously at Radio Key103. I don’t use the term legend lightly but with him it’s easy.

After the post-show brief I head to the new Police Headquarters at Newton Heath. It’s very swanky. I’m here to interview the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, about his memories of the Manchester arena attack night nearly 12 months ago.
Ian tells me it will always be the biggest event of his career, how it will always stay with him and how people from all over the world now know what strong and fabulous people live in Manchester. It makes you feel proud.

I head straight off to collect Minnie from Mum’s after the interview and she’s a lot brighter after her antibiotics. We have a chilled afternoon in the garden – I mow the grass and Minnie plays in her little house. We then nipped to Aldi to buy cakes and naughty treats to take into work in the morning.

Minnie went to bed about 7.30pm and I must admit having a cheeky gin and bitter lemon tonight. Seemed wrong not to with the weather so nice. Also late to bed tonight as I got engrossed in 24 Hours in A&E and watched until the end at 10pm. Oh well - only one more day to get up early!

Friday

4.15am - the alarm says Time to Wake Manchester Up which always makes me smile! 

Up, ready, check on Minnie, feed the dog, Teddy (who’s actually a girl doggie), and feed Dora the rabbit. Grab my breakfast - today it’s chilli from the night before. I know it’s weird but I kind of stick to a Paleo way of eating. High protein and low carb (have good carbs on training days), and I enjoy that kind of food. People at work have kind of just about got their heads round it but still think I’m bonkers.

This morning I also have a bag filled with scones, clotted cream, ham sandwiches, fondant fancies, Bakewell slices and cupcakes. I have Harry and Meghan flags as I host a Wedding Breakfast show and I’m also getting excited for the FA Cup Final this weekend. The Radio Manchester team laugh at me - but are very happy to steal my food!

We do a phone-in about whether you need someone to give you away when you get married and if you had someone who wasn’t your dad, who was it? We were inspired by the news Meghan Markle’s dad won’t be giving her away tomorrow. Inzy was at a street in Compstall near Marple where there’s going to be a big party tomorrow, and we had a ball.

After the show we gather for a meeting – we talk over what we liked and what we didn’t and how we could make things better. We arrange to catch up with two of today’s callers about the Royal Wedding on Monday’s show to see whether they enjoyed it and liked Meghan’s dress. I can’t wait to watch it now!

Week done and all ready for the next one!