Charlene White thought she was testing an autocue in her breakthrough audition

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Charlene White attends the exclusive screening for Lioness: The Nicola Adams Story at Sea Containers on November 08, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
Charlene White attends the exclusive screening for Lioness: The Nicola Adams Story (Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Loose Women and ITV News at Ten presenter Charlene White says she didn't realise her breakthrough audition was a genuine audition at the time.

The presenter and broadcaster, who was the first Black woman to read the News at Ten in 2014, said she had been in Sheffield on a roadshow when she was working with Radio 1 and 1Xtra but she didn't want to be there for the whole thing because she had a night out planned with her friends.

She told Kate Thornton on the White Wine Question Time podcast that 'nothing was going to stop her' from going on the night out with her friends, so she stayed to help with the set up and then left.

She said: "So I went up to Sheffield on the Friday, helped them to set up, then on the Saturday before the public came in, we had to test the autocue.

WATCH: Charlene White on becoming the first black woman to present the ITV News at Ten, on keeping her identity in the media world, and her emotional journey to discover her Jamaican heritage

"This guy said: 'Charlene and this other girl, Hannah, can you get up on stage and just make sure we've got it at the right distance?' We did that, that was literally five minutes then went on with the rest of the roadshow.

"I left, got the train back to London, went raving, didn't think anything of it."

She said around two months later she had a call from the editor of BBC Three's 60 Seconds news show, the person who had asked her to get up on stage and read the autocue.

Listen to the full episode to hear Charlene talk about how natural Loose Women is for her, and about the early audition she didn't realise was an audition!

She explained: "He said to me: 'From the moment you walked in to the marquee to do the roadshow, I knew there was something different.

"'So I got you to get up on stage to read the autocue, just wanting to make sure. And I'd like you to come in and do a screen test.'

"And I went in, read 60 seconds of news. I got out of the studio to do the screen test and he just went: 'Have you got your diary so we can start booking you some shifts?'"

From ITN Productions 

Wednesday 12th May, 2021on ITV

Pictured: Charlene White and Sir Trevor McDonald 

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, Sir Trevor McDonald and Charlene White host a new hour-long documentary for ITV exploring its impact for people living in the UK.

 This programme investigates the consequences of the tragedy and the conversations that have followed in Britain and around the world.

Sir Trevor and Charlene examine the effect of the Black Lives Matter movement and, in the wake of recent studies, ask to what extent prejudice is embedded in British society.

George FloydÕs death, and the circumstances around it, prompted a re-examination of race, racism and made Britain question what we stand for, who we really are and what needs to happen next.

Sir Trevor and Charlene speak to people across Britain, from all walks of life Ð to gain an insight into the experiences of people in the UK. FloydÕs death prompted both prominent figures and members of the public to share their own stories Ð but, a year on, what has really changed?

© Jack Lawson Photography

For further information please contact Peter Gray

This photograph is (C) Jack Lawson Photography and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme GEORGE FLOYD: HAS BRITAIN CHANGED or ITV. Once made available by the ITV Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the Transmission date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website
Charlene White hosted a show with Sir Trevor McDonald in 2021 examining the effect of the Black Lives Matter movement (ITV)

She said there was a real drive to make sure the show was representative of people in the country, and that the editor who chose her helped to make the careers of many people who might not otherwise have had the chance.

She said: "He spotted each and every one of us in really different situations, saw something in us and brought us into the fold.

"And many of us wouldn't have on-screen careers if it wasn't for him. He was amazing. He was in a position of power, and an authority, and he changed the lives of so many of us.

"He didn't have to do it. He wasn't forced to do it. He wanted to do it. And that completely changed the course of my career."

WATCH: Charlene White on the negative impact of 24 hour news consumption on our mental health