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presenter to psychologist.

Byline: LIZ DAY Reporter liz.day@walesonline.co.uk

AS Sian Williams juggles filming a new series with studying for a psychology degree and caring for five children, she dreams of holidays in Wales.

The 49-year-old presenter, who left BBC Breakfast in 2012 after 11 years on the red sofa, has put broadcasting on the back-burner since announcing plans for a career change.

But even though she has exams in May and her thesis is due in the summer, Sian could not resist the opportunity to film a series about the lives and careers of some of Wales' most accomplished women.

Taking time out of filming in Cardiff this week, the presenter-cum-student told Wales on Sunday: "Too many interviews simply scratch the surface and we do not really get to find out about the person and the difficult decisions they have had to make in life." During an intensive few days, Sian has interviewed Casualty actress Suzanne Packer, Paralympic athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and veteran actress Sian Phillips.

"They are all strong women, who have made an impact not only in Wales, but far beyond. They all have a strong sense of their Welsh identity and have always carried it with them through everything they have done," explained the presenter.

Welsh identity is a subject to which Sian has given a lot of thought. Although she was born in London, she was the first member of her family born outside Wales for 350 years and says she is "proud to be Welsh".

But the mum of four, who lives in London with her husband TV producer Paul Woolwich, admitted there is a bit of conflict in the family home when it comes to rugby.

"I am cheering for Wales, but my husband and my two eldest boys [Joss, 21, and Alex, 19] are rooting for England. Even so, my sons will sing the Welsh national anthem," she said.

Although she is currently immersed in revision, Sian, who is also mum to six-year-old Seth and four-year-old Eve, is planning a family holiday to Pembrokeshire at Easter and another to Llanelli for the Eisteddfod this summer.

The trip will provide a welcome break from studying, as Sian nears the end of her two-year masters course, which she has been completing parttime at the University of Westminster. "As soon as I have finished filming this series, I will have to shut myself away with my textbooks," said Sian. "My older children are brilliant at giving me revision tips. I have post-it notes all over the wall and we have discussions about cognitive neuroscience at the dinner table."

After leaving the BBC's flagship Breakfast show when it relocated from London to Salford, Sian decided she wanted to help journalists who work in conflict zones, following her own traumatic experience reporting on the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.

"When talking to people in such an extreme state of shock, I felt enormously guilty.

"I had people's lives in my hands and I hoped I was dealing with them fairly. It was difficult to square with my conscience," she said.

She decided to train as a trauma assessor, hoping "to do something positive".

The first Sian Williams Interview will be shown on BBC One Wales at 10.35pm on Wednesday

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Sian Williams, born in London but 'proud to be Welsh'

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 6, 2014
Words:556
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