Hayley McQueen: ‘I went to Wimpy dressed as Kylie’ | Small Talk

The Sky Sports News presenter on why she is banned from having soup on set and cheese jokes. Lots of cheese jokes

Hello Hayley. Hello Small Talk.

What's going on today? Today, if you could see me, you probably wouldn't believe it. I'm sat in make-up, in a gown, with bare feet having just painted my nails, with rollers in my hair and halfway through make-up, which is one of the luxuries we have at Sky. I'm about to do a photo shoot for some new promo pictures and then I'm going on air from three 'til seven. So a four-hour stint today, which is an hour less than I normally do. I normally do the full five-hour shift, four days in a row, which can get quite hard.

Do they ever just put on rolling repeats? That would be fun but unfortunately no, you're on high alert the whole time you're on air. The only time you get a break is when you're out of vision on an advert when you're trying to shovel in a bit of lunch, which can be a little difficult. The slot I do from 10-3 means you have to eat somewhere in between, so there's no getting away from sitting at a desk, trying your hardest not to spill everything down you or get caught on a camera while eating.

What do you eat? I'm quite good. Actually I'm not good. That's a lie.

Oh Hayley! How could you lie! To Small Talk! I eat a lot of soup but I'm not allowed to eat soup any more. I'm banned from eating soup on set. I had an incident. It was a bit of a mess. They're actually quite good for soup here at Sky, they upped their game with the new canteen in the past year. Lunch has become a little more exciting than it was.

And now they do shows in the canteen. Every other week, myself and Vicky Gomersall host SportsWomen in the cafe. Not only do I get to host a show which is only half an hour in a cafe, I get to drink free coffee for half an hour, which is great.

You drink coffee for a solid half-hour? Well not when I'm at work. But as soon as I leave.

Is that what Jim White does on Deadline Day? Jim doesn't drink but he loves his caffeine. He loves his KitKats. He's got such a sweet tooth. He eats a lot of chocolate. I think that's his secret.

Is it worrying if you see him with sugar? If we see him near the Red Bull packet in the canteen, we think 'No Jim, don't do it, you're already like a giant man of Red Bull.' I worry he'd spontaneously combust if he goes too near.

What's it like when you're reporting on a quiet day? I am really lucky because while the slot I do is five hours, there is a lot of change. We start with a story when I go on air and I may read that same line from one hour to the next. However at midday we have a brand new production team that comes in and they completely freshen up everything. The packages get changed, the stories get moved on. If the story hasn't moved on, it will be rounded up and packaged in a different way. It will never be the same. It tends to be later on in the evening when you round up the day and you have a little bit more repetition. But people dip in and out of Sky Sports News, we don't expect people to be watching for five hours in a row. If they do … well done.

Small Talk hears you're hosting the Football League Awards on Sunday. I've been on the judging panel before and I've actually attended the last three years in a row. I've just gone and enjoyed myself. I've sat alongside Greg Dyke, let my hair down and had a nice time. But it has become so big now, there are 17 awards, so I think they felt it would be too much for one person to host the whole evening. There's no autocue or prompt. Myself and Manish Bhasin will research all our own questions for each of our categories for our guests. But a lot of it is very off the cuff. I think it's the first time they've ever had a female hosting alongside a guy. It's also quite nice as you have someone from the BBC and someone from Sky so it's kind of joining forces.

Are you the Veronica Corningstone to Manish's Ron Burgundy? [Laughs]. I went to see that in the cinema. It's one of my all-time favourite films. The second one, not so funny but I was a bit younger when the first one came out, when your sense of humour is a bit more warped. But I'm quite strong, I will hold my own. If I want to do something, I will make sure my voice is heard.

Like what? Manish hosts a weekly Football League programme on the BBC so it would be stupid for me to try and come in and try and take the League One and League Two stuff, which I'm maybe not as au fait with. I'm quite Championship-heavy, so a lot of those awards are more suited to me.

Have you prepared any gags? I'm going to have to work on this. I do feel I am fairly dry and I am a bit naughty on Sky Sports News because I do tend to back-reference stuff that maybe I shouldn't and I do tend to say things in a jokey manner. You can be a bit cheeky with your colleagues.

Good old banter. Is it challenging being a woman in sports journalism? I think I've been lucky. As much as having a dad in football [Gordon McQueen] goes against me sometimes because I have the nepotism card thrown in my face, it helps because no one is going to mess with a 6ft 5in defender who was part of the Dirty Leeds crew. So I get quite well looked after. I didn't start presenting in a high-profile job until I was much older, so had I been a 21-year-old presenting as opposed to 28 or 29, I think maybe I would have felt a little more worried about things and been a little more naïve. The older you are, you just kind of get on with it. But I've worked in a football club with footballers coming in every day in a male-dominated world where you almost have to play on the fact you're a girl and use your femininity to your advantage.

Are there enough women in the industry? Television? Yes. Written press? No. You can probably list the women whose names you see. Which is a real shame. I think Sky use women in the press previews. I know Sunday Supplement now do as well. But I don't think they are out there. I think we will see a very big change soon. I think the generation who have been studying journalism, particularly sports journalism, in the last few years is a lot more even between women and men.

You're a big United fan. They're rubbish. They are rubbish. They're terrible.

What's going to happen against Liverpool? It's going to be awful. But I don't mind. A couple of years ago, if we were playing Stoke we'd go into a game thinking we were going to win this one. The excitement is almost taken away by dominating for so long. Like Liverpool. Look at how excited the fans are to be getting Champions League football back. Look at how they are in the league and you're kind of a bit envious sometimes when you do see these other clubs whose fans get so excited about achieving something that United have just ruled the roost over for so many years. I think it's going to be a good thing for the club. United are going to stick with David Moyes. I think big changes will be made in the summer and he'll have to bring in players. But this is going to be the first time where I'm going into the match thinking that Liverpool might do this one. Not that I don't mind. I would hate it if Liverpool win. I think I'm resigned to the fact Manchester United aren't going to win, so if they do I'll be even more elated.

Who would you prefer to win the league out of Manchester City and Liverpool? Oh my God. I said at the beginning of the season that Arsenal were going to win the league. I don't know why. Weird. I said Liverpool were going to finish in the top four. Maybe City. It's good for Manchester. It will further ignite that rivalry. I don't really want Liverpool to win the league. But I'm happy with them getting Champions League nights. I've been to Anfield on Champions League nights and it is pretty magical. Imagine if Leeds get back to the Premier League.

Tim Sherwood once told Small Talk that his favourite cheese is mild cheddar. Could you trust a man who said that? No! No! That's so bland. Tim ... What the hell?

You wonder if it came up in the interview for the Tottenham job. Surely what you eat shouldn't determine how good you are! Just so you know, I do like stilton. Roquefort. Tonnes of grapes. Bit of celery on the side. And lashings of caramelised onions.

Cheese or chocolate? Cheese! I'm not that mad on chocolate. I like chocolate cake. As you can probably see. I'm one of the curvier girls here, which I am happy with, because I am not giving up food for my image.

What was the last book you read? At the moment I am reading quite a girly one because I've just been on holiday. It's called The Engagement. It's one of the books they based Mad Men on. It's set in the 50s. It's about a girl who works in the advertising industry amongst a load of men.

She's the Peggy Olsen of her day? She is pretty much Peggy. I'm only part of the way through it because it got a bit wet on holiday and I had to dry it off. I haven't picked it up since.

Small Talk is reading a book about Hitler. Don't spoil the ending. I do read a lot of football books. I read the Robert Enke book a little while ago. My colleague Adam Leventhal gives me good books. He gives me a lot on cycling.

What was the last film you saw? Blue Jasmine.

What? That was ages ago. Yes but I am one of these people who stays up and watches all the Oscar-nominated movies before the Oscars. I make sure I watch all the best picture movies and all those nominated in best actor categories.

The Oscars must be a great party. What's the worst party you've ever been to? I went to Wimpy dressed as Kylie.

Last year? I was 21 … No, probably about nine. My friend Laura was obsessed with Kylie. We all went as Kylie but she went as a specific Kylie that we weren't allowed to dress up as. Like in a particular outfit in one of her videos. We all had to dress up as Kylie.

What was your worst birthday? I think I sat an exam on my birthday once.

Small Talk is sure you passed. But can you hurdle this obstacle – tell us a joke. Now. I'll give you a cheese joke. How do you hide a horse using cheese?

How? Mascarpone!

Very good. Thanks Hayley... I have another cheese joke!

Oh. Right. Small Talk was about to leave. But OK. Go ahead. Let's hear it. How do you coax a bear out of the woods with cheese?

How? Camembert. Cahm-ohm-bear.

Very good! These are provided by my sister. She loves cheese jokes.

And so does Small Talk. Thanks Hayley. Bye! Bye Small Talk!

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