FOR a Birkenhead boy who left school with one and a half "ropey" A-levels, Nick Pollard, hasn't done too badly. His teachers swore he could do better and now as Head of Sky News, Nick, 53, admits they were probably right.
Fiercely unambitious, he says it was mostly luck and a lot of great people that took him from a trainee on his local paper to the forefront of national news broadcasting.
"I never had a burning desire to be a journalist, it hadn't occurred to me until I was told about the trainee job at Birkenhead News," he says. "But once I was in the newsroom I absolutely loved it, and my teachers at Birkenhead School were glad to see the back of me.
"I was 17 when I started, and I remember thinking that I didn't want to leave."
After three and a half years in Birkenhead, and a spell reporting on cub scouts and U10 football in Wallasey, Nick decided to sample life outside Wirral.
Following a spell at Liverpool news agency Mercury Press and BBC Radio Merseyside he took a job in London where, save a few years involvement in setting up Radio City in Liverpool, he has spent most of his career, gradually rising up the ranks.
"I am probably one of few people who has worked for the BBC, ITN and Sky News, " he says. "In that time there have been some fantastic stories. I covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Omagh bomb, and the Russians pulling out of Afghanistan."
It was in Afghanistan in 1989 that Nick experienced one of the scariest moments of his career.
His ITN team were setting up a broadcast when some locals warned them to move on because the Russians knew they were there.
"We weren't too worried about this but decided to move our satellite dish anyway," he says. "The next day the Russians bombed that whole area. I now do what I am told."
With first-hand experience of working in some of the world's most dangerous situations, Nick is keen to ensure his reporters don't take unnecessary risks.
"Competition in this business is intense. Success is often measured in the number of seconds you can broadcast a news bulletin before your competitors.
"But in a war-time situation, most recently with Iraq, we had to balance this with the safety of our staff. A number of people are going to have to take risks, however, and they did.
"One of our reporting team was injured by shrapnel in Iraq, and dozens of journalists were killed out there.
"One of these was a very good friend of mine - the ITN journalist Terry Lloyd. I worked with Terry for more than 12 years and he was a wonderfully enterprising reporter."
Nick puts the success of Sky's war coverage down to meticulous organisation.
"There were many times when we were ahead of our competition, and we had to be organised enough to get some of the technology - whether it be satellite dish or just video phones to some very remote areas.