Alexandra Hamilton

  College: Grey College
  Subject: BA (hons) English Literature & MA Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies     
  Class of: BA 2011 & MA 2012
  Location: East Midlands

Your Durham Inspiration

Do you remember why you first chose to study at Durham?

I first chose to study at Durham when I was going through the UCAS process at school. The English department frequently topped the results tables and the course was one of the most interesting and dynamic of all the places I researched. I didn’t want to go to a large campus-based university. I much preferred the idea of a small, collegiate environment. After visiting for an open day I fell in love with the city and the rugged coasts and countryside of the North East. When I finished my undergraduate degree, it felt natural to progress to my postgraduate studies in Durham – the department was second-to-none for my specialism and I wanted to continue my involvement in the societies I had joined.

Tell us about any sports, societies or clubs you were involved in at Durham.

I did a huge amount of student media at Durham. I joined Purple Radio as a Fresher, I went on to be Head of News and then I became Station Manager in my Master’s year. I worked as the Comment Editor and Deputy Editor of Palatinate – the student newspaper. I also co-founded The Bubble online magazine – which is still publishing today I believe! I also loved being part of the Durham Union Society and I enjoyed watching lots of student theatre during my time at university.

What work or moment were you were most proud of at Durham?

That’s hard to answer. Academically I’m probably most proud of my MA Dissertation – it remains the longest and most thorough piece of academic writing I’ve ever done and it became a real labour of love. I’m also proud of the student journalism I did, particularly at Purple Radio. I interviewed Russell Crowe and Bill Bryson, I organised a debate between the MP candidates for Durham in the 2010 general election and I interviewed Nick Clegg and David Miliband – it was a busy time! Purple Radio was also nominated for “Best Student Station” for the first time in its history at the Student Radio Awards. This was a big achievement as lots of universities have professional studios to go with their media courses. Purple Radio was entirely self-taught and self-funding so it was great to get the recognition!

What are your fondest memories from your time here?

It might be cheesy to say but honestly – my fondest memories are of the friends I made through my subject, my College and the societies I was involved with. Whether it was sledging down one of Durham’s many hills in the winter, trips to the beach in the summer or celebrating exam results – I met friends for life during my time at Durham. I also never intended to study medieval literature – two really inspirational lecturers opened my eyes to the subject and it fostered an interest which I never would have found.

How has Durham inspired you to get to where you are today?

The university students and staff are passionate and inspiring people. There is a culture of healthy competition which really pushes you to “be the best you can be” both academically and in your societies. At the same time, it is a very caring environment – people support and take care of each other when they are struggling as well as celebrating each other’s successes – it feels like a family! The student media opportunities I had at Durham led directly to some work experience which turned into a job – without that experience, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What have you been up to since you left Durham?

I did a Post Graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism. After that I worked as a reporter, producer and newsreader at the BBC before becoming a BBC Weather Presenter and Broadcast Journalist. I broadcast to three television regions and ten BBC Local Radio Stations – often doing 40 bulletins a day. When time allows I do reports for the Sunday Politics programme as well.

What are you doing that is most meaningful to you now?

I love working for the BBC. Public Service Broadcasting is a very special thing – particularly in the midst of a global pandemic. Many people are lonely or isolating but through radio and television you can reach people and keep them company, make them laugh and keep them informed at the same time. I also love the weather of course – it’s always part of the “national conversation” and I join that conversation every day!

Is there anything from Durham that has stayed with you and still inspires you now?

The Durham work ethic has certainly stayed with me. You need to work hard to get to where you want to be. It’s not just about hard work though! The culture at Durham also encouraged you to look out for your friends and fellow students. It really felt like a family and it taught you to take the time to listen and check how other people are doing.

Tell us about your latest news or developments.

The pandemic has turned everything on its head! I used to be in the television studios at 4.30am for breakfast news, now I’m working and broadcasting from home a lot of the time. This has meant learning new skills very quickly as well as being flexible and adaptable.

Personal interests

I’m lucky to live near to the Peak District and I really enjoy hill walking. I love to ski and I’ve recently been on a sailing course too. Whenever I can I love to go and see live music and theatre – I’m really missing this now the theatres have closed. Also, once a literature student – always a literature student! I still love to read and whenever I can I try to dip back into medieval literature.

Pass It On

What would be your top piece of advice for current students and/or recent graduates?

Staying in touch with your university friends after you leave is really important. When you all travel to jobs at different ends of the country (or even around the world) it’s easy to let friendships drift but if you put the effort in, you’ll be rewarded with a “Durham family” for life. I wasn’t quite a “Durham cliché” – I didn’t meet my future husband at university but I did meet wonderful friends who were the bridesmaids and ushers at my wedding!

Is there anything that you know now that you wish you’d known when graduating?

Your aspirations as a student will probably be very different to your aspirations when you are 30! You can’t look for “life satisfaction” or happiness in work alone. Leisure time is important and it’s often where the happiest memories are made. Spending quality time with the people that matter to you is more important than the amount of “overtime” you do.

Related links

Twitter: @AlexHamiltonTV

LinkedIn Profile

Meet the team
Gift Policy
Donor Recognition Policy
Dunelm Support

TLS Update -
Please ensure that your OS and browser are updated for your security. More info
Development and Alumni Relations Office
The Palatine Centre
Stockton Road

0191 334 6305

The full team is currently working out of the office due to Covid-19. We always love to hear from you but it may take us a little longer than usual to respond - especially by mail or telephone. Thank you for bearing with us. Please do get in touch with us online for anything time-sensitive at