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Arfon Haines Davies is one of ITV1 Wales' main presenters. Since joining in 1976, Arfon has fronted a wide variety of programmes including telethons, children's shows, rock and classical music, and sports. Caernarfon-born Arfon is married with one daughter

Q. You've been on TV for nearly 30 years, what stands out in your memory as a career highlight?

A. Hosting the first ITV Telethon on HTV Wales in 1988 - 27 hours of live television during the May Bank Holiday at a time when television normally closed down about midnight. It was an incredible experience and we raised three quarters of a million pounds for charity. It was a tremendous team effort and I was proud to be part of it.

Q. You've worked in everything from children's TV to sports presenting: do you have a favourite?

A. As you say, I've been extremely lucky to work on a variety of programmes. One week I'd be interviewing David Broome and Harvey Smith at the Welsh Horse of the Year Show, the next I'd be with a Romanian folk dance troupe in Llangollen. Being an avid collector and a bit of an antique myself, I really enjoy filming and presenting the current series for ITV1 Wales, Prized Possessions.

Q. What's your 'media week' like? Which newspapers, magazines, TV and radio can't you do without?

A. As far as TV and radio are concerned I'm a compulsive channel-hopper. Having said that, I rarely miss an episode of Coronation Street - a love affair which began when I used to introduce it as a continuity announcer.

Q. If you had to give advice to someone starting out in TV, what would it be?

A. Forget it. Become a plumber or a private dentist.

Q. If you hadn't taken this path, what else might you have done with your life?

A. As a schoolboy growing up in Aberystwyth in the '50s and being a railway enthusiast, strangely enough I didn't want to be an engine driver because I knew you had to be a fireman first and that was extremely hard work. My ideal job was always a station master on a small country stop on the Cambrian Coast.

Q. Are you a film fan? What kind gets you queuing at the cinema?

A. Films are one of my great loves. I recently saw The Godfather on TV for the sixth or seventh time and I still think it's a masterpiece. These days, with a ten-year-old daughter, the films I see mostly are the likes of Finding Nemo, Scooby Doo and School Of Rock which, incidentally, I thoroughly enjoyed.

Q. You went to the Central School of Speech and Drama: were you ever destined for the RSC?

A. One thing drama school taught me was that I didn't have the talent, dedication nor the discipline to become an actor. As for the RSC, the closest I got was the RAC.

Q. Get Gardening was one of your programmes ... are you a dab hand with a hoe?

A. What's a hoe...?

Q. What are your vices when time off allows?

A. The only one I'd admit to is buying stuff at auctions that I don't really need.

Q. What TV show would you have loved to have been involved with?

A. Great Railway Journeys Of The World; I'm also a huge fan of Dad's Army and would have loved to have been one of Captain Mainwaring's platoon but the one person I'd most liked to have been was Parkinson in the 70s interviewing all my Hollywood heroes including John Wayne and James Stewart.

Q. What's your favourite thing about Wales? And least favourite..?

A. Favourite - the traditions, the language, the people, the scenery, you name it! Least favourite - when I first came to Cardiff it used to take me four hours to travel north to south; 30 years on and it still takes me four hours.

Q. How do you deal with your stress?

A. Listening to music. I was fortunate enough to see Frank Sinatra perform a number of times and his voice and musical arrangements are easy to relax to. Failing that, Led Zeppelin on full volume and a bit of air guitar!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 17, 2004
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