PHILIPPA Tomson is a presenter on Sky News. Born in York, she came to prominence during her time with ITV Tyne Tees and Border.

The journalist now splits her time between West London and Durham.

Philippa is competing in this weekend’s Great North Run where she will be running in aid of the Weardale animal sanctuary Ark On The Edge and the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Follow her on Twitter @skynewspip

What was your first car?

A Renault 5 which my parents sold to me at a knockdown price. Making me pay at least something for it made me appreciate my first car so much more than receiving it as an expensive birthday gift. I think I kept it for a year before investing in a Nissan 100 NX. It wasn’t a proper sports car, but it certainly looked the part.

How many times did it take to pass your test, who taught you and what in?

To my older brother’s disgust, and unlike him, I passed first time. It was down to the practice I did in between the paid-for lessons. I was training as a newspaper journalist in Wolverhampton. My mum accompanied me 20 miles each way to the training centre. We had dreadful rows because she hung onto the seat like she was sitting on a rollercoaster and frequently ticked me off about my speed.

Looking back now though, that extra practice was essential. You don’t become a decent, experienced car driver on the basis of a few lessons, regardless of whether or not you pass first time.

Who would be your ideal fantasy passenger and where would you go?

Kiefer Sutherland. Or may be it’s his 24 character Jack Bauer. It’s my favourite television series ever and my Talking 24 keyring – a gift from North-East comedian Ross Noble – takes pride of place in my car. Jack Bauer could clamber into my vehicle any time, anywhere. Aside from him, I’m quite happy driving around passenger free. No one to tell me I’m driving too fast, too slow, riding the clutch or asking me to turn down my music.


What is your dream car?

I’m quite partial to the Audi R8 Spyder, although it’s not particularly practical seeing as we’ve got two dogs. I love convertibles, but I don’t see the point of driving them in this country when our summers are so short. However, stick me on the Pacific Coast Highway driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles and I’d relish being behind the wheel of a Jaguar XK Convertible.

How would you describe your driving style?

My other half thinks I’m over-cautious, but I think I’m just sensible. I always assume that other drivers will make the wrong manoeuvre so I’m prepared to take evasive action. In my job as a journalist, I’ve clocked up thousands of miles over the years so I like to think I’m an experienced driver on city roads, motorways and country lanes. The only place I’ve refused to drive is along Italy’s beautiful, but stomach churning, Amalfi coast road. One needs to be supremely confident to tackle those hairpin bends – I prefer to be the passenger admiring the view.

Tell me a driving anecdote from your past?

Only one? There’s been a few, but I can’t forget the nasty prang I had in the centre of Durham a few years ago. I was on my way to a live outside broadcast for ITV’s North East Tonight. The accident happened about an hour before I was due to go on air and I had to go through the process of exchanging insurance details etc while knowing I was on a tight deadline. I have no idea how I managed to get through the live broadcast, but I did.

Then I drove home unware I had a huge hole in my tyre.

What is playing on your in-car iPod or CD player at the moment and why?

Mark Knopfler’s Going Home. The Great North Run is upon us and I’m trying to motivate myself for the big day seeing as I haven’t exactly committed to training this year. Nonetheless, I’m determined to get round in aid of Weardale animal sanctuary Ark On The Edge and the Children's Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital. Emeli Sande’s debut album is also getting a lot of airplay. That woman can sing. Oh and Whitney Houston’s last ever album. Like millions of others, I was gutted when she passed away earlier this year. I grew up listening to that voice.

What do you drive now and why?

I drove an Audi A5 Coupe until recently, but a few scuffed alloys and door scratches later, I realised it’s not practical for driving around London. So I’ve swapped it for a super cute Audi A1 which is brilliant for zipping in and out of narrow parking spaces and nipping in and out of heavy traffic in the big smoke. Plus I wanted something more economical.

When I drive home to the North-East, it’s a round trip of some 500 miles. I love the Audi brand. They’re such solid, well-built cars with a high spec interior to match.