In live television, the unexpected is a way of life. Ellie Crisell’s mix of experience and ease in front of the camera has catapulted her to national fame covering major global events for the BBC.
While fronting the broadcaster’s current affairs programme for young people, Newsround, Ellie’s natural ability meant it was only a matter of time before she joined the ranks of the corporation’s best presenters.
Ellie’s career rise involved her being flown out to Indonesia just days after the 2004 Asian tsunami struck. She describes the experience of witnessing the devastation first hand as ‘unforgettable’ and a defining moment.
Memories of her time spent with Indonesians coming to terms with huge personal loss have been refreshed by the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami. ‘You see these images of devastation on television but there’s something quietly profound that broadcasting can’t do justice to – the human reality disappears.
‘You’re standing where a town used to be and meeting people who’ve lost everything they own and their loved ones too,’ explains Ellie (BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1998).
Ellie began her presenting career at ITN, first on radio and Channel 5 television news updates. She then became a reporter and newsreader for regional broadcaster Tyne Tees Television in June 2001. She was offered the Newsround role in 2003 and subsequently joined the BBC News team.
From a young age Ellie knew she wanted to work in broadcasting. ‘I was always a bit of a performer, getting involved with school plays, dancing, music and being on stage,’ she explains. ‘Working in media combines two strong things about me – I’m confident and have a natural curiosity about the world.’
During her time at the University, Ellie’s dream of becoming a TV presenter flourished. ‘The course I chose was perfect for me and what made my time there so special was the people I met. I made a big bunch of friends in freshers’ week and we’re still really close now.
‘I immediately fell in love with the place, as soon as I got there I felt at home. I found kindred spirits really quickly and it’s a place I’d recommend to anyone.’
Ellie says it’s the variety that fuels her passion for television, but come what may, her feet remain firmly on the ground. ‘The best piece of advice I’ve ever had comes from my dad,’ she says. ‘He said don’t believe your own publicity – good or bad – just keep grounded, show willing and work hard.