My pager beeped. It was the STV newsdesk number.
You only ever see pagers in hospitals now, but in the pre-mobile era that was the fastest way of contacting a reporter.
I left the court case I was covering and phoned the newsroom.
The instruction was simple: “Get yourself back. You’re doing the news tonight.”
I had joined STV three weeks before with the expectation I might be doing some stand-in presenting further down the line. This was not much further down the line.
Soon after I found myself sitting beside the Viv Lumsden, queen of newsreaders at the time, about to present my first Scotland Today, as it was then called.
Viv was great and I noticed that she wrote the camera instructions on each script, as a large number enclosed in a sweeping circle. All these years later I still do exactly the same thing.
The programme went well, apart from the fact I clearly didn’t know where to look when Viv was reading. Scripts, camera, Viv? Anyone’s guess.
I got away with it and came off air.
As I walked into the newsroom the editor came out of his lair. I paused my step, waiting for the praise that was surely going to come my way.
“Don’t wear that shirt and tie again.”
I wasn’t to know it then, but that’s an opinion I’ve been hearing ever since.