“If you can’t see, you can’t be”: Claire Brock shares importance of female fronted Tonight Show

Ciara Doherty and Claire Brock Pic: Brian McEvoy

Claire Brock is ready to get back to a routine.

The Tonight Show has been off air in August and she’s eager to get back to the buzz of live telly. She’s also excited to get her little ones back to school.

She’s the proud mother of three – seven-year-old Pearse, six-year-old Eve and three-year-old Ruby. She tells us she’s running out to do the school pickup as soon as we finish chatting.

We catch up about a new female-centered Tonight Show, parenting, and what she’s most excited about for the new season.

Claire Brock Pic: Brian McEvoy

Hi Claire! How are you?

I’m brilliant, thank you!

You and Ciara Doherty have been helming The Tonight Show for over a year. We’re loving the female-facing line-up! How has it been?

It’s been brilliant. It brings a real fresh feel to the show. We come with that perspective of being a woman and a mum. Myself and Ciara are similar ages, we both have kids. We can talk about the childcare issues out there and we understand the cost of living pressure and the pressures of being a mother as well. Just to have a female perspective on a programme like that, where let’s face it, the legacy of that show has been very male-dominated. It’s really fresh. It is four days a week, it’s your current affairs and news dive. We go beneath the bonnet of things. But I think we come at it from a fresh place. We like to ask questions that intrigue and hopefully get some answers to them.

In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of trolling towards women presenters in more male-centered spaces. Is that something you’ve experienced in your career?

I’ve never found that. I’ve always worked in news. I’ve been a news reporter and a news presenter. Before The Tonight Show, it was The News at 8 and before that I was anchoring and presenting across programmes. There has never been, I feel, any negativity. I feel like there is a positive sentiment that when you are an established female anchor there is a strong credibility that comes with that. And importantly, being here shows to young girls that they can do it too. If you can’t see, you can’t be. But why wouldn’t you go and study journalism and go to pursue that story and go front a programme. When you look across Virgin Media, we have a very strong female lineup. Women to the fore. I have never dealt with any negativity nor should I!

Claire Brock
Claire Brock Pic Brian McEvoy/PIP

The Tonight Show can be very intense. Do you find it hard to switch off?

I’ve always worked late nights. So at 11 o’clock at night, coming off air, I am wired! You’re on that buzz. But is it hard to switch off from a story? Well, every night comes with fresh stories and fresh angles. There is a fresh focus for the team. So you do think ahead for tomorrow, what’s going to happen, how to cover this, who’s lined up and what question am I going to ask them. It is intense from that point of view. The fact that it’s on last thing at night, it means that during the day, you are thinking a lot about what you’re going to produce for the show. But that’s what keeps it fresh, it’s what keeps you on your toes. But it is entirely possible for me to switch off. I do so every day. I have to pop out of here and do a school run. You are forced to get into that other day job which is parenting and being at home.

Speaking of the school run, how has the back to school routine been?

It is amazing. For them, as well as me. I think it’s great for the household that we’re back in a routine. We had a great summer, the show was off air in August, so we took a nice break. We holidayed. We were down in Brittas, which isn’t too far away from home. But it was brilliant with the kids. They had a ball. But I always find that last week, we’re ready to get back to school. We’re ready for a routine again and a bedtime! We need to push this 10:30 at night back to 8:30! That’s the big challenge to get them used to that again! It is brilliant, I have three kids. I have no Junior Infants starter this year. My eldest is going into 2nd Class, my daughter is in 3rd Class and my youngest is in her second year of preschool. So they were all in today!

Busy ages!

Really busy! They have all these new interests now that they’ve got over the summer. And things that they liked before they don’t like anymore! It’s lovely it’s great, they keep you on your toes.

The Tonight Show airs Monday to Thursday at 10pm on Virgin Media One


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