What happened when ITV News West Country presenter was told to self-isolate

ITV News West Country presenter Jonty Messer was required to self-isolate after his daughter was sent home from school.

Three hours before going on air, ITV News West Country presenter Jonty Messer was told he needed to self-isolate.

Here is how the newsroom adapted and his account of watching our programme from home.

  • By Jonty Messer, ITV News West Country presenter

It felt strange sitting at home last night hearing the titles of ITV News West Country from my TV. 

I think my kids found it odd as well, sitting next to me rather than having the option of watching dad read the news (I say option, I'm often second best to children's TV). 

It's a very rare occurrence. Five days a week, that studio is my office and in the minutes before we go on air, we are busy rehearsing some of the more complex parts of the run order - preparing for guests and checking reporters on location can hear us okay. 

Jonty Messer pictured alongside fellow ITV News West Country presenter Kylie Pentelow.

But not last night. 

Just a few hours before I had read the lunchtime news, and after a quick break, I had turned my attention to the 6pm run order. 

The producer and I talked through our main stories and we had discussed the reporters live on location, including our Political Correspondent David Wood in Westminster and Charlie Powell with the forecast (will it ever stop raining)!

'Then came the call'

And then came the call from my daughter's school. She was being sent home with a slight temperature as a precaution, but we were advised to get a Covid-19 test. 

That meant I needed to self-isolate immediately. If the test came back negative, I could return to work - but until then, I had to be at home.

A further 646 people died with the virus. Credit: PA

That was three hours before we went on air and, as I sat at home that evening watching our programme, I was really proud of how the team had moved so quickly to adjust and get the programme on air so smoothly (although I owe Eli-Louise a cup of tea for presenting solo - it is a very different experience for a number of reasons). 

Fortunately, we have had a very positive experience. My wife managed to get a test booked that afternoon and it was fairly close to our home in Gloucestershire as well. 

She and our daughter were home by 4pm and, like many have done before, we are now waiting for the text message to come through with the result. 

Hopefully, I'll be back in the studio reading the news - rather than watching it - sooner rather than later. 

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