Former Anglia presenter says ‘I do’ to primetime TV role
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
To her university history students and the couples she marries she's Dr Catherine Tremain but many will remember her as Anglia newsreader Katie Glass. Now Kate has a brand new BBC primetime role as a registrar marrying couples live on TV
Reader, she married me…
A Marry in Norfolk registrar will be ringing in the New Year by appearing as the official celebrant on BBC1's new primetime show Wedding Day Winners.
Dr Kate Tremain has been conducting weddings in the county since 2012 (including my own!) but has never officiated over a ceremony to which millions of guests are invited – which isn't to say that she's a stranger to the limelight: readers may recognise Dr Tremain as former Anglia newsreader Katie Glass.
'To some extent I've buried that other life,' laughed Dr Tremain, who also teaches history at the University of East Anglia and has a lively extracurricular job as an extra, appearing in pop videos and high-budget dramas, 'my students and my colleagues have no idea that I used to work with BC the Birthday Club Bear or that I'm about to be on primetime telly!'
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Born in Sussex, Kate moved to the east when she worked for Radio Orwell, one of the first commercial radio stations in the country.
She moved to Anglia Television in the late 1970s, presenting The Next Week Show for children which aired after Tiswas in the eastern region and remembers an exciting job which involved interviewing pop stars of the time, including Shakin' Stevens: 'I have the honour of being the first person to interview him on TV. He really was shaking, believe me!'
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Kate was a continuity announcer for Anglia at a time when announcers were shown on screen and would regularly appear with the broadcaster's cheeky puppet BC.
'David Clayton, who I worked with, claimed that I would terrorise him when he had to 'be' BC, but I can assure you, it was me who was the pussy cat…' she said.
Stints working on programmes behind and in front of the camera followed: Kate worked on The Magic and Mystery Show with Eamonn Holmes ('it was about the occult, but everyone we interviewed was absolutely charming!') and an arts show with an unlikely accomplice, Dale Winton.
Kate continued to work at Anglia until 1999 when the company moved its continuity operation to Meridian – she turned down the opportunity to work outside Norfolk as her two children were at school in the county and she didn't want to uproot them. A stint at Rapture TV, a short-lived youth channel, ended in 2002 with its closure and Kate then took a new role as a media studies lecturer at Norwich City College. She used her married name, Tremain, rather than Glass.
A brush with cancer led Kate to evaluate her life – she decided to go to university and study history at the University of East Anglia. After treatment, she went to university at the same time as her children, graduating with a first and going on to do an MA after being awarded a scholarship and then a PhD in masculinity in the 18th century.
Diagnosed with crippling rheumatoid arthritis after her studies, within six months Kate was confined to a wheelchair and battling a painful condition it took doctors two years to bring under control through a regimen of drugs and treatments.
'When I was told my diagnosis I couldn't believe it because the only symptom I had at the time was a frozen shoulder. Little did I know what was around the corner. I try not to let it get me down or stop me doing what I want to do, but it can be difficult.
'Two years ago I broke my leg and because of the drugs I'm on it can't heal properly so I need to use a stick. But throughout it all I've kept on working because I need to make a living and I love what I do. I just have to accept that I'm a bit slower these days.'
A keen genealogist, Kate took a job with Norfolk County Council in the registration office ('I'd spent a lot of time in registration offices and so being about to work in one was a real dream for me') and in 2012, trained as a peripatetic registrar, conducting weddings across Norfolk.
'I love being part of people's special days and it's such a privilege to meet people from all walks of life,' she said, as I told her how important it had been on my own big day that she'd been such a calming influence.
'People can be incredibly nervous before they walk down the aisle and it's nice if you can just take a moment to remind them why they're there and that everyone they're so nervous about being in front of are there because they love them and want them to be happy.'
She responded to an appeal for a registrar to appear on television and beat 100 others to the role she will take tonight: as the celebrant for Lorraine Kelly and comedian Rob Beckett's new primetime BBC1 show Wedding Day Winners. Each week, two couples, their friends and families will compete to win the honeymoon of a lifetime and an on-screen wedding conducted by Kate.
'I realised that people might recognise me from the job I used to do, so I thought I'd be upfront and say yes, it's me! I had a lovely time on the show and I hope people enjoy it. I have buried my old life so nicely for so long but I think it's time to be upfront about who I used to be,' she said.
'I had the best time, it was so much fun to do, they were the loveliest people to work with. Having not been in TV properly for more than 20 years, it was fascinating to see just how much had changed – one of the best things of all was how many women were in charge. When I was in TV, I was still being asked to do the numbers board for the Farmers' Diary Quiz – we've come a long way!'
* Wedding Day Winners is on BBC1 on Saturday nights at 7.25pm.
Working as an extra for Tom Hardy:
Kate loves her life as a lecturer and registrar but admits she misses 'the luvvies' from the television world – to this end, she has an agent and enjoys appearing as an extra in productions as diverse as Paloma Faith pop videos and Tom Hardy's gritty drama series Taboo.
'I was in make-up for four-and-a-half hours to play the corset-wearing Madam at a Molly House – Tom Hardy had to hand me some money to get in. Being a history buff, I was most excited about the fact it was real 18th century money! I wondered if I could get away with keeping it!' she said.
'I was only on screen for a moment or two but it was so much fun. I've been doing extra work for about 10 years and it means I get a flavour of what I miss from my old life.'