I’m Emma Hignett
My background is in theatre. I grew up loving being in a theatre, dance was my thing, but I also sang and acted whilst at college. One of my earliest jobs was with a group of 18 British dancers all of whom, bar me, came from the south of the UK. It sounds odd to say but that tour massively influenced my accent, it actually changed the way I spoke. I’m not complaining, of course.
My first broadcasting work was presenting traffic reports on radio. I was presenting radio shows within a year, and within two years had discovered and fallen in love with breakfast radio. Most of my radio career involved early starts – I particularly loved my years in Cardiff co-hosting Red Dragon FM’s breakfast show with Jason Harrold.
I started presenting TV weekend weather reports in 1996 for ITV Wales and West, and occasionally for Central, Anglia and Meridien. This was quite amusing as my sister and her children occasionally got to watch me on the telly which her kids thought was hysterical. One niece (I won’t name you) did say to me a few years later: “You used to be cool Aunty Emma when you were on the telly and drove a top-off car!”
Along with the radio and tv work came requests for voiceovers. If I’m honest I didn’t put my heart and soul into voicing until Transport for London came along. London Buses were launching their iBus scheme and looking for the right voice. I was lucky enough to be invited to put my voice in to be tested along with several others. And in January 2006 they put my announcements on the Route 149. A few months later we started recording the initial 20,000 announcements for iBus. I’ve since recorded for London’s Riverbus, the Overground Train system (some of which was recorded when I was 8.5 months pregnant) and bus services outside London including Go North East, East Yorkshire, Midland Classic and Transpora. In 2022 the Elizabeth Line went live in London, and I’m thrilled to be the voice used on the capital’s latest underground line.
So I built and equipped a studio in 2010 and since then I have combined voiceovers with my other two businesses: I run a PR consultancy and my husband and I have a rather lovely holiday home we rent out in Richmond, North Yorkshire.
I have a passion for helping in my community so am Chair of Governors at my son’s former Primary School and am a Trustee of Age UK County Durham.
So to answer ‘how did I end up doing this’ … via theatre studies, working in theatre, years in radio, a bit of television along the way and then being lucky enough to be invited to try out for Transport for London’s iBus project.
“We’ve worked with Emma for more years than we care to remember! Emma is a versatile voice, who has an amazingly high level of accuracy on the trickiest of scripts.”
Andrew Hughes, Radio Facilities