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Kate Silverton apologises as soon as she dials into our call – her WiFi is “all over the place” and she’s surrounded by cardboard boxes.

The former BBC newsreader and mum-of-two has just waved goodbye to her old life in London and, although she tells us her new family home in the country is almost organised, chaos still reigns in the two places she calls her own – her bedroom and office.

The move signalled the start of an exciting new chapter for Kate, 53, who recently swapped her TV presenting career to work as a child therapist and author of parenting advice books, and she’s enjoying every moment. “I said to myself, ‘I want to see trees outside of my window,’ and now I’ve got a garden for the first time and I can see trees and snowdrops out of the window, it’s amazing,” she says.

Kate Silverton was one of the most recognisable faces in news – but she has a very different career

Kate Silverton was one of the most recognisable faces in news – but she has a very different career
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Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Kate's life is now very different from her fast-paced life in London

Kate’s life is now very different from her fast-paced life in London
(
Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

“I absolutely loved living in London but I don’t need to be there any more. I’m someone that loves to travel and as a former Girl Guide, I’m probably happier living under canvas than I am with bricks and mortar. My husband is military, so he’s the same.” The new pad is now home to Kate, her former Royal Marine husband Mike Heron, whom she has been married to for almost 25 years, their children Clemency Florence Rose, 12, and Wilbur, nine, and cocker spaniel Gatsby.

She spends her downtime in the garden but has other important things to explore, too. “I’ve landed with some really lovely mums where we are and the first things on the list have been, ‘Where do I get my hair cut?’ and ‘Where can I get a massage?’ I just want to go and decompress because I’ve been sitting in a chair for the last two years writing a book.”

Fresh starts don’t daunt Kate. Before becoming a journalist and presenter on the likes of BBC News At One and BBC Breakfast in the early 2000s, she worked in banking after graduating with a psychology degree from Durham University. Then, after 20 years at the BBC, she retrained as a child therapist and counsellor and now also works in a primary school supporting children with complex additional needs. But she insists that with her, it’s a case of “still a journalist, always a journalist”.

From the outside at least, the two jobs couldn’t seem more different, but her skills and experience have stood her in good stead. “What I’m doing now does seem so far removed and yet it’s really similar in a way,” she says. “In journalism and as a therapist you’re helping people tell their stories, to have a voice and be heard. And journalism got me over the line with my books, meeting the deadlines and everything.”

Kate now works as a child therapist

Kate now works as a child therapist
(
PA)

Since leaving the BBC, Kate admits feeling liberated

Since leaving the BBC, Kate admits feeling liberated
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Dave Benett/Getty Images)

She’s also relishing the fact that she’s now accountable only to herself, as she is no longer bound by a strict BBC contract. “There’s enormous liberation in being able to be me, frankly,” she says. “I think if you work in any corporation, particularly if you’re presenting and you’re front-facing at the BBC, you’re not quite you, you’re a persona reading the news.

“I’m still extremely careful, because I have a responsibility to my clients and to parents, so I’m still as contained. But I’ve spoken out on various issues to do with children’s mental health, and it’s liberating to be able to do that and to be responsible for myself rather than worrying about somebody else holding me to account.”

Kate released her first book, There’s No Such Thing As Naughty, in 2021, and has just finished the follow-up, There’s Still No Such Thing As Naughty, aimed at parents who have older children. She recently partnered with children’s television show Bing for their campaign, Bing’s Little Wins, sharing her experience and tips about the realities of life with toddlers.

“I’m a play therapist in the therapy room, I do a lot of art work and creativity,” she explains. “At the heart of what I do now is the message that play is crucial. Being there with your children, and just hanging out with them, is probably the biggest thing that you can do as a parent.”

Given her knowledge of parenting, does she feel pressure to be the “perfect mum”? “I’m smiling at that,” she says. “Because it’s a yes and no. I don’t feel pressure because in the same way that there’s no such thing as a naughty child, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent.

“But I’m really mindful of when I’m not doing such a great job and I need to be more present. We’ve just moved house so I have a daily practice of thinking, ‘What are my kids’ needs?’ They’ve changed schools and I need to be there for them right now. And if I’m not, then I’m going to see it displayed in their behaviour.”

Juggling seems to come easily to Kate, who earned herself a new audience when she took part in Strictly with Aljaž Škorjanec in 2018. She still watches the show and was particularly invested last year in former tennis player Annabel Croft. “I know Annabel really well and we’d go for walks before she started and she’d say, ‘Tell me everything!’ I’d text her each week; she was amazing.”

Watching her friend seems to have reignited something in Kate, and she’s looking to find a local dance school so she and Mike can learn to “do a tango together”.

She has clearly relished the big changes of the last few years and attributes part of that to her “gorgeous, darling” late dad Terry, who wasn’t afraid to take a risk. “He would say, ‘I’m going to go and retrain,’ and he was a lorry driver, cab driver, a locksmith and then a hypnotherapist,” she says. “He always said to me, ‘Kate, hard work works,’ and told me to dream big and follow my heart.”

Her move into counselling felt natural to her after she became a mum. Now a few years into her latest chapter, she says it is turning out to be her best yet. “I know it’s easy to tell people to follow their heart, and that retraining is hard. But life is too short not to be doing things that fuel us and feed our soul.”

Kate has teamed up with children’s show Bing on the Bing’s Little Wins campaign. Watch Bing now on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer and visit bingbunny.com for more information

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