Burnley brand manager Rachel Bayley column / BBC executive editor Emma Morris on how her hometown of Burnley is inspiration for her work
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And one of those is Emma Morris. My colleague and editor of Burnley Lifestyle Magazine and InBusiness Burnley, Katie McGee, told me she knew of someone who had a high-powered job in TV and that I must interview her because she had a fascinating career and life.
Emma is executive editor of Morning Live and The One Show – two pretty huge BBC shows. It gets better…she lives in Burnley, hops on the train to MediaCityUK and comes home to her two young children after a busy day at work. We LOVE finding talented people and so I immediately got in touch with Emma to arrange an interview.
Our location of choice; the new Icaro Lounge at Pioneer Place. Now, I don’t want to spoil Emma’s feature in the latest Burnley Lifestyle Magazine (the one with Jay Rod on the front cover), but it was everything I hoped it would be and more. Emma is in her early 40s and is of the era where many of our young people at that time were not always given the confidence, skills and push to reach for their dreams – all because they came from Burnley.
Emma honestly told us that when she said she wanted to work in TV, people would often roll her eyes and tell her to aim a bit lower. She had to leave Burnley to be taken seriously, which is such a shame. However, the good news is she’s not only achieved her dream TV career working behind the scenes of big shows (Emma has also worked on This Morning), but she’s recently moved back to Burnley from London and cannot believe the change over the past 25 years.
She told me: “It had never occurred to me that I could work on national TV shows, all whilst living in my hometown. My mum told me about all the amazing changes that had happened over the years, she reminded me of the brilliant upbringing I’d had here, in the very same house, and she suggested I move to Burnley with the children instead - so I did!”
It turns out that Emma’s mum is the litmus test for what topics she decides to feature on Morning Live and The One Show.
“At work, if one of the team says we should cover a certain topic or trend because ‘everyone is talking about it,’I’ve often thought - ‘well, they’re not in Burnley!’ My team teases me because I always say, “If I go down to Asda in Burnley right now, do you really think this is what they’re all talking about in the checkout queue?”
"It’s becoming a running joke, but I think it’s a great barometer for deciding what topics we’re going to do and I often come up with ideas for the show by listening in to conversations in coffee shops in town - or chatting to my mum and her mate Denise,” Emma explained.
I won’t spoil the rest of the story, but as a brand team we’re seeing high-flying people like Emma returning to their hometown for several reasons; the better work-life balance, affordability, for that family connection and because of the incredible changes over the last few years.
Sometimes, it takes time away from a place for you to realise just how special it actually is.