She is the former Notts shop girl who found fame as a Channel 5 weather presenter – noted for her tongue-in-cheek puns. But Sian Welby, who grew up in Upton (“a field between Southwell and Newark”), is now reaching millions of people on national radio station Heart, interviewing stars such as Ed Sheeran, Pink and Sam Smith.
The 32-year-old, who now lives in South London, recalls her favourite Nottingham haunts, early jobs, celebrity guests and why she won’t be going on Celebrity Big Brother anytime soon.
You went to Minster School in Southwell, so were you aware of actor Mathew Horne while you were there?
I was there between 1998 and 2005 and Mat Horne was a few years above me so I never met him, but we were all aware at the time he had gone on to do big things. The Minster had a legendary drama teacher who we all called Kev and he was one of the first drama teachers to really inspire me to take unusual parts in plays and push myself. I was never the princess, always the ugly sister. Much more fun playing a villain than a hero.
My love of acting and the entertainment industry was really encouraged by The Minster. It was a great school to go to.
Where were your favourite places to go out in Nottingham?
A lot of the bars have changed names now, but we used to go to Revolution, Tantra (the one with the beds), Ha Ha Bar and Dogma. Templars was our favourite because it played the best music and because we didn‚Äôt have much money we could buy a jug of cocktail for about a tenner and put seven straws in it.
In terms of clubbing it was all about Media and Mode. Once we all hit 21 we could finally get into Oceana.
What about gigs? Can you remember your first?
At the time it was all about MCs and garage. I remember going to see a lad from our school, who was a few years older, at Rock City, taking part in a beatbox competition. That was amazing. I‚Äôm pretty sure he won. He was called THePETEBOX and he‚Äôs still touring.
What was your first job?
My very first job was aged 14, washing pots at The Cross Keys in Upton. Then I became a waitress, worked a Sunday job at Waitrose in Newark while I was at 6th form and spent the next five years at New Look in Newark. Despite them not being ‘dream jobs’, I always had such a laugh.
My boss at New Look was called John Finn and I don‚Äôt think there was one shift that I didn‚Äôt prank him in some way or another, from writing fake CVs, to wrapping his car in toilet roll, to writing joke shopping lists and sticking them in his blazer pocket. That once got him in a very awkward position with the dry cleaner.
What was the big break that got you from Notts to London?
Becoming a Channel 5 weather girl. I had taken the Saturday off work at New Look to film a small role in an advert for New! Magazine. I was spotted in that advert weeks later by the boss at Channel 5 and was invited to a meeting. About two weeks later I got a call and they wanted me to be the new face of Channel 5 weather. I couldn‚Äôt believe it.
At the same time I also got a gig with EA games to host all of their online content. I ended up getting a lot of gigs in sport, from The Elite Road Cycling series on Eurosport, to the Revolution series on Channel 4 and Ruby on ESPN, a football comedy show on YouTube and The Formula E series on Sky.
I was also pushing out comedy videos on my own social media, working as an influencer with Twitter and Vine.
The next big jump came from my viral weather forecasts filled with puns. This got me global attention from all sorts of media outlets such as Comedy Central, the NY Times, Time magazine, Buzzfeed, Lad Bible, Good Morning America‚Ä¶ it was crazy.
This also got the attention of radio and ultimately lead me to do spots on Capital and eventually my own network show on Heart.
I‚Äôve recently started hosting a quiz show on mobile only called HQ Trivia.
It all took a lot of work and that hard work never stops.
What attracted you to TV/radio work while growing up?
I was definitely inspired by presenters like Cat Deeley and Zoe Ball. They were funny and not afraid to look silly and I could really relate to that.
I used to pretend to have my own radio show called Radical Radio and I would make endless tapes of utter nonsense with my best mate, Harriet. I would love to hear one of those now. They must still be around somewhere. I‚Äôm still talking nonsense now, just to 9.8 million listeners.
Are your family still here in Notts?
Yes. My dad is retired now, my mum is a nursery TA in Calverton and my sister is a biology teacher at a secondary school in Lincoln.
The last time I was there was for my mate’s birthday and I was really impressed with all the new cocktail bars – Nottingham has really upped its game. We went mainly to bars in Hockley. I love that little cocktail place called Tilt, it reminds me of the experimental cocktail club in China Town in London.
Which celebrities have you had on your Heart show?
Ed Sheeran is great. He‚Äôs the kind of guy you want to go for a drink with and get him to tell you all his best stories. I’ve interviewed him a few times and he‚Äôs always been the same – very humble, very likeable and game for a laugh. I got him to re-record Shape of You on a kazoo with me.
I’ve had a laugh with so many guests. I got P!nk to try Marmite – she said it tasted of belly button fluff and sadness.
I electrocuted Chris Pratt, I‚Äôve done karaoke with Sam Smith.
Why should we listen to you on Heart?
Because you never know what might happen, I‚Äôve got some huge guests lined up and somehow I always persuade them to do something ridiculous.
Strictly or Celebrity Big Brother – which would you prefer to do?
I was once told by the producers that I was ‚Äútoo nice‚ÄĚ for CBB. I really wouldn‚Äôt want to go in there. Way too toxic. But I would love to do Strictly, even though I‚Äôm only good at drunk dancing. I would definitely be a challenge for them, but I would love to give it a go and hopefully not look completely ridiculous.