My Cultural Life: Pamela Ballantine

The friendliest face on UTV talks Belfast festivals, bloody movies and Colin Bateman

When did you know that you wanted to be a journalist?
I actually fell into journalism - I am a qualified private secretary who got a job in UTV as a countinuity announcer and newsreader and then transferred to the newsroom. My Mum says I'm in the perfect job. 'It's not that you're nosey,' she tells me. 'You just like to know everything!'

How has your job contributed towards you cultural life?
I wouldn't get to hear about half of the events which are going on if I didn't work in UTV and I am very lucky to be invited to so many. I am very grateful.

Is it easier to be successful in your chosen field of work now than when you started out?
Success is hard to quantify - I think if you work hard you will become successful.

Which Irish cultural figure to you most admire?
Seamus Heaney. Modern day poet, in touch with reality. I also like Markey Robinson and Trevor Brown.

What’s your favourite book?
I have so many. It depends on my mood - would you believe I love serial killer thrillers? I'm reading Colin Bateman's Orpheus Rising at the minute. I love his writing. It takes you from sadness to humour in the blink of a sentence.

What's your favourite film?
The Quiet Man. I'm a huge John Wayne fan. Who could resist the cheesy Irishness? Also Scarface. It's bloody I know, but I think it was ahead of its time.

What cultural events are you most looking forward to in 2008? 
The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. Northern Irish festivals have come on in leaps and bounds, each one providing something different. The Festival of Fools is fantastic, as is the Belfast Film Festival. I'm also looking forward to Kylie in the Odyssey and I wish I had tickets for Whitesnake and Def Leppard!

What would be your three desert island discs? 
Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi, Layla by Eric Clapton and the Horslips' Greatest Hits.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 
To thine ownself be true.

You can see Pamela in action on UTV Life and RPM Motorsport.