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Nick's the pick of GM crop; Hunky presenter is the latest Scot to land top job on breakfast show.

Byline: By Lisa Adams

MEET the man thousands of women love waking up with every morning.

Sexy Scot Nick Dixon has attracted a small army of female fans since he joined the GMTV team as a reporter last November.

Now we're set to see a whole lot more of the 34-year-old as he's been chosen as the first male newsreader on the breakfast show for 14 years.

In fact, get out of bed a bit earlier on Thursday and you'll catch him reading the news between 6am and 7am while regular presenter Kate Garraway is on the famous red sofa.

"I'm loving the job," said Nick.

"It's very exciting and I still get quite nervous about it.

"I look round, see Kate Garraway or Penny Smith or John Stapleton there on the sofa and think, 'Blimey, I'm here too'. It's a great opportunity."

Former Scotland Today presenter Nick's arrival is also turning heads in the studio. It's meant a major rethink for the camera crew.

A GMTV insider revealed: "He's so much taller and broader than the other newsreaders so the camera has to be repositioned, otherwise he'd completely fill the screen."

Nick, who has been with girlfriend Charlotte for two years, blushed furiously when asked what his newfound status as a sex symbol felt like.

"I'm just an ordinary journalist," he smiled.

Despite years of experience, stepping on to that famous GMTV set was daunting.

In fact, Nick admits he still gets nervous before going on air. But he has had plenty of advice from the other GMTV stars. "I'm lucky," said Nick. "It's a bit like a mini Scotland here anyway so there's plenty of people to have a blether with."

Nick follows in the footsteps of Scots stars such as Jenni Falconer, Carla Romano, Andrea McLean, Richard Arnold and, of course, breakfast telly queen Lorraine Kelly, who have all carved out successful screen careers on GMTV.

Nick said: "They tell me to try not to think that seven million people are watching the show.

"It's best to relax for the camera and have fun."

The bright studio lights in London are a long way from where Nick started out after he left school in Carluke, Lanarkshire, at 16.

His first job at BBC Scotland was delivering the mail. One year later, he kicked off his journalism career working as a copy boy in the newsroom of Radio Scotland, moving on to typing up stories for reporters and helping out on location.

From there, Nick steadily worked his way up, eventually staying for six years with STV's flagship programme, Scotland Today, covering major news items including the Maryhill gas explosion and the opening of the new Scottish Parliament.

A key ingredient of his success is a willingness to throw himself into any situation on camera. Soon after signing up as a reporter with GMTV, Nick stripped off and plunged into the murky waters of the Thames in an unforgettable live broadcast.

He was sent out with a cameraman to cover the story of record-breaking endurance swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh, who was determined to become the first person to swim the entire length of the Thames, an incredible 201 miles from its source to the sea.

Nick said: "There was a news crew from another television station too.

"They were just filming and reporting from the side of the river.

"But I thought if this swimmer was braving the Thames I really had to experience it as well.

"We were lucky. It was quite a warm morning but at only 6.00am it was a tough way to wake up."

By far the biggest buzz he gets from his job is never knowing what he's going to do next.

During his first week at GMTV, Nick reported live from the Paris riots on the Champs Eleyses. On his second week, he was chatting to a talking dog.

He recently jetted off to New York to chase Boy George around the streets of Chinatown when he was picking up rubbish as part of his community service. Nick also reported live from the Big Apple's Times Square on David Blaine's world record attempt in May.

The next day he played Scrabble in the middle of Times Square with an expert who can beat anyone at the game, even wearing a blindfold.

But it's not all glamour. Closer to home, Nick discovered the job needs a tough skin when he was sent to Scotland in May to cover troubled rocker Pete Doherty's three-day drug-fuelled jaunt north of the border.

Nick recalled: "We'd heard Pete was at a bash in Gourock and stood in the rain for six hours waiting for him.

"When he finally came out and I asked him for a word, he spat at me.

"The next day I was sent to pick up the story in Aberdeen where Pete had a gig."

Fans of the rocker had to flee the venue after the star's guitar amp exploded. There were chaotic scenes as police were called to break up fights inside and outside the city's Music Hall. And GMTV's Nick was there in the thick of it.

"We got Pete on tape throwing beer at us and he wasn't at all pleased to see me," said Nick.

But there are compensations. He's just back from filming a series of reports for GMTV'S travel series, Great Escapes, which goes on air in January.

He was even asked for an autograph for the first time.

"I was stopped by a woman from Kirkcaldy who said she was a big fan," said Nick.

It's moments such as that which make even the 3.30am starts worthwhile. In fact, he's got those early rises down to a fine art.

"It's not much fun when that alarm goes off," he said.

"But I only live about 10 miles away and the studio normally sends a car. I'm actually thinking about cycling in.

"It would help wake me up so I can handle whatever challenge is thrown at me next."

GMTV is on ITV from 6am to 9.25am Monday to Friday.

I'm lucky.. it's a bit like a mini Scotland here anyway, so there are plenty of people to have a blether with..


BULLETIN BOY: Nick's the first male newsreader for 14 years on GMTV, where colleagues include fellow Scots Lorraine Kelly and Jenni Falconer' SPITTING IMAGE: Doherty
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 17, 2006
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