Background and early lifeEdit
Scott was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, in 1951, the eldest of five children. Her late father, Charles, was a police sergeant and her mother, Betty (née Bumby), was formerly a journalist from Ryedale, North Yorkshire.
She completed her secondary education at the Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, where she was head girl, whilst living in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland. She then continued her studies at the University of East Anglia, reading English and American Literature.
Initially resisting the temptation to continue a family trait working in journalism Scott succumbed and went to work on The Sunday Post in Dundee, Scotland, for two years. She then took up the post of Press officer for the Tourist board on the Isle of Bute. She then began broadcasting after being hired by Ted Brocklebank, then Head of News & Current Affairs, later a Tory MSP, as a reporter and presenter with Grampian TV in 1978. She made her television debut on the nightly news programme Grampian Today, presenting from a North Sea oil platform and at the summit of Cairn Gorm. She later became one of the launch team for North Tonight.
Several months after North Tonight began, Scott, at the age of 29, progressed to national television, appearing first as a newsreader on ITV's News at Ten. In 1982 at the outbreak of the Falklands War Scott became the Forces' pin-up girl, causing viewing figures to soar. She then went on to launch breakfast television in the UK, joining the BBC's Breakfast Time programme in January 1983. She presented the show with Frank Bough and Nick Ross. Ironically, Scott had been hired by ITN to replace Anna Ford who had defected to launch ITV's breakfast television channel, TV-am. Before TV-am began broadcasting in February 1983, Scott had already quit ITN to launch the BBC's rival show. She later presented The Clothes Show, and was a guest host on the chat show, Wogan (named after its regular host Terry Wogan). Scott even worked on BBC Radio 1 in 1985 and BBC Radio 2 in 1986 and then crossed the Atlantic in 1988, joining the US channel CBS and hosting a current affairs programme, West 57th.
Scott has also produced documentaries on royal figures in Europe including A Prince Among Islands, a profile of Prince Charles, a film with King Juan Carlos of Spain (which achieved record viewing figures for a documentary in Spain) and The Return of the King, which involved travelling with King Constantine of Greece after 25 years of exile.
By 1995 in the US she had her own chat show on NBC. By 1997 she was back in the UK, signing a contract with Sky reputedly for £1,000,000. She anchored the breakfast programme, later switching to the 5 pm news. Latterly she had her own chat show but this was halted after eight weeks.
In 2003 she moved from Perthshire, Scotland, to her native North Yorkshire, after buying a 200-acre (0.81 km2) farm near Ampleforth to accommodate her 27 Angora goats. The fleeces are washed, spun and dyed, producing mohairwool for her farm business. The wool is used to create socks for the gun makers James Purdey and Sons, and she has her own company designing and creating socks. Through this venture she has greatly enhanced her role as a Countryside Custodian while living in an area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In October 2006, Scott was chosen to launch the new season's fashion campaign for Country Casuals, now known as CC.
In Spring 2007 Kingfisher Productions hired Scott to co-host Tales from the Countryside.The first series showed Scott's own working farm and her herd of Angoras being shorn through to the eventual production of the socks.A second series was commissioned and shown in spring 2008 featuring unique rural stories.
In 2007, Scott appeared as one of the dog handlers on the BBC 2 dog trials series The Underdog Show, screened to highlight the Dogs Trust Charity for rescued dogs. After six weeks of competition, she was voted the winner, beating singer Huey Morgan and actress Julia Sawalha in the final.
July 2007 saw Scott presenting the BBC's Animal Rescue Live Show daily from Battersea Dog's Home in central London, co-hosting with Matt Baker. Running daily for three weeks, the programme highlighted the plight of many animals at the home appealing to the public to consider re-homing.
In August 2008, Scott announced her intention to sue Five, a UK television station, for age discrimination. She claimed Five reneged on an agreement for her to cover Natasha Kaplinsky's maternity leave because she was "too old". Scott hired Simon Smith of Schillings,and Five denied the claim. A preliminary hearing began on 24 September 2008 with a full five-day hearing scheduled for December 2008. On 5 December 2008 she won, with Five issuing a public apology and a confidential out-of-court financial settlement. It was later reported that she accepted the offer, despite publicly declaring she would have her day in court, as her father had become seriously ill in December. He died on Christmas Eve after a stroke, and she wanted to be at his side and felt unable to continue the action as planned.
In April 2009 Scott wrote a two-piece article for the Daily Mail documenting her experience of ageism, legal action and its coincidence with her father's deteriorating health and death. This piece also records her view of the National Health Service and what she believed were its failings in caring for him.
In October 2008 Scott presented a four-part series for the Sky Arts channel & ITV, Edward Seago—The Forgotten Painter, shown in HD (high definition) and including interviews with and access to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; an admirer of Seago's work.
In a departure from broadcasting, Scott has written her first autobiographical book, A Long Walk in the High Hills: The Story of a House, a Dog and a Spanish Island.
Following her successful claim against ageism, Scott has become a vocal lobbyist for the cause. Age UK and Equal Justice, a legal firm, commissioned Scott to compile a report investigating the employment of women over 50 years old at the BBC. The report was finally delivered to Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust and Jeremy Hunt, the shadow Culture and Media Secretary in April 2010. In summary the report accuses the BBC of institutional ageism against older women.
September 2010 saw a return for Scott to the BBC reading the news on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 for two weeks, deputising for fellow veteran newsreader Moira Stuart. Evans invited her after purchasing her socks online and broadcasting this to his audience. They later met in May at the Sony Radio Awards in London where Evans was hosting and Scott presented an award, again showing the guests he was wearing her socks.
In 2011 Scott again returned to work for Sky Arts presenting a 5 part documentary series Treasure Houses of Britain. The series charts the history of 5 of the best known historical houses in Britain: Blenheim Palace, Chatsworth House, Burghley House, Holkham Hall and Boughton House. It is now available on DVD.