Angela Scanlon is excited. Excited about her next gig, excited about the future of women in television, and excited about what’s yet to come for her on UK TV.
The 32-year-old flame-haired Irish presenter may look familiar: she regularly features on the style pages of fashion magazines like Vogue and spent much of 2015 serving as the online presenter of The Voice UK’s backstage coverage. She’s even popped up on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch telling Tim Lovejoy about the “stuff she liked”.
When we spoke to her back in July she was preparing for her next challenge: fronting BBC3’s T in The Park coverage. “I’m excited – like really, really excited”, Scanlon said. “I did The Voice backstage and I interviewed a lot of acts that came in to perform each week and there’s a kind of frantic energy that I really enjoy about those kind of set-ups.”
And now she’s been announced as the new co-host of Robot Wars, alongside Dara O Briain, when the build-and-bash show returns to BBC2 later this year.
“I’m so excited to be joining such a legendary show that, after all this time, still manages to make people squeal with joy,” said Scanlon. “I cannot wait to see the robots in all their metallic glory playfully destroying each other!”
This could be Scanlon’s big break but after spending many years presenting fashion and music-related segments online and discussing the latest trends on Irish TV, a significant milestone on the road to Robot Wars was fronting a documentary about what it was like to grow up ginger in her native land in 2013.
“Oi Ginger was kind of the start of it, or at least it feels that way for me,” Scanlon said. “It felt like the first time. It was the first thing that I had lead on my own.”
The one-off documentary was a hit and spawned a four-part series called Full Frontal, in which Scanlon set out to explore peoples’ relationships with the naked body.
Her love of documentary-making won’t send her down the Stacey Dooley road, though, because Scanlon’s all about entertainment . Ask her which TV presenter she admires most and you’ll get a one-word answer: “Winkleman”.
So it’s no surprise that she’s rather excited about the future of women in television, given the fact that her favourite presenter has slipped into such a high-profile role in the past year.
“Having Claudia Winkelman and Tess Daly fronting what I think is the BBC’s biggest show went down a storm,” she said, “so I think that in itself has meant that it’s no longer considered a ‘risk’, and I think that’s a really positive move. The BBC seem to be really embracing that and pushing it forward.”
Scanlon continued the trend as one of three women in an all-female T in The Park presenting line-up, which included BBC’s Clara Amfo and Scottish presenter Arielle Free: “It’s wonderful to be part of that, it’s very exciting”.
Her excitement isn’t just reserved for her own ventures, though: she’s just as enthusiastic about BBC3’s move online.
“Of course there are a lot of people who are slightly terrified,” she said, “and from a nostalgia point of view you feel a little bit miffed at the fact that it will no longer exist because historically it has been a platform that really champions young talent and emerging talent but I also think [the move] is absolutely right for the demographic and for the way people are consuming TV now.
“In a few years, I think people will look back and think that was brave slash terrifying but it was also a stroke of genius.”
Hopefully they’ll feel the same way about the return of Robot Wars – and in particular its choice of presenters…
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