“25 years is such an incredible achievement!”
1st October 2013
As This Morning celebrates its 25th anniversary, presenters Holly and Phillip Schofield admit they feel incredibly proud to be in charge of television's 'crown jewels'.
And Phillip and Holly, who have worked on the award-‐winning daytime series for ten and four years respectively, say they are also deeply honoured to be anchoring the show on its landmark birthday.
"You really do feel you are in charge of the telly crown jewels," says Phillip. "It has such an incredible pedigree. Richard and Judy started the show and now for us to be in charge of it and seeing it through the 25th anniversary – which I never would have believed would have happened when it first began – is a real treat. I am very proud."
"25 years is such an incredible achievement," adds Holly, who was just seven when the series began in 1988. "I never ever thought I would be on the show now when I used to watch it when I was younger. But I am so proud to be working on so many varied subjects and if I wasn't doing the show, I would be watching it. I feel guilty calling it a job because it is so enjoyable."
For both presenters, the reason why they feel so delighted to be working on This Morning is the fact it sets the news agenda, pioneers so many television firsts and has such a rich mix of stories ranging from showbiz, politics, real life, fashion, beauty and cookery.
"I love the fact we do break taboos," explains Phillip. "We have done a live breast examination and a live smear test. When we do things like 'Sex Week' on This Morning, everyone gets professionally outraged, but actually Richard and Judy were doing it 25 years ago.
"We do the show in a different way now but we cover all the big issues. They are still fascinating to watch and what is so nice is we get so many letters from people saying 'you have just saved my life'.
"I can still remember the very first episodes of This Morning because I am such a telly geek! I was, and I still am, fascinated by live telly. When it first started, I loved the fact This Morning was an adult version of Saturday morning television."
Everything Richard and Judy did was very new and over the years, the show has changed shape to become a very current one. It's lovely to be right in the thick of it."
Yet as Phillip goes on to point out, nothing gives him more pleasure than the fact that This Morning wouldn't exist without the tremendous loyalty shown by its viewers.
"I love that people come on the show and say to us almost conspiratorially that they have come on because they trust us," he adds. "It is important to me and it is a real achievement they can trust us about the happiest or worst thing that has happened in their life."
So do Phillip and Holly have a stand out favourite ever moment working on the show? Both reply it's impossible to pinpoint one story or interview because there have been so many amazing things that have happened over the years. "It's so tough," explains Holly. "We cover everything and there is always something new happening every day.
"One story that really moved me, however, was when a father and his two sons appeared. His wife had passed away and she had written a list of the things that she wanted her children to do and achieve. That one really got me as a mum myself with two young kids. They were such an incredible family and the children were so strong."
"We do have some very cool guests on the programme," adds Phillip. "Even in recent weeks, we have had Samuel L Jackson on the show and Bill Nighy. I do actually have to be careful at dinner parties as otherwise I turn into a bore when someone asks if I have met a person as I always find myself saying yes!"
With major A-list movie, TV and pop stars queuing up to appear on This Morning, not to mention Prime Ministers and even Royalty, you wonder if the pair ever get star struck.
Phillip reveals he got starry eyed when he met Dame Judi Dench, Will Smith and the Royals whilst Holly confides she got giddy when Joanna Lumley and Joan Collins came on set.
"I love Joan," says Holly, smiling. "She was brilliant. When I found out she was coming in, I thought 'right I need to Joan Collins myself up to the eye balls' and so I put on a power dress, my Louboutin shoes and I had a big blow dry done. She said she liked my shoes and when I asked where hers were from she said 'Office'. I loved her even more because she was so normal."
"She is fabulous," adds Phillip: "I love it when anyone big comes in. We have had Royalty. Princess Anne came on the show. She really doesn't do many interviews and to be trusted with that interview was fantastic. We have also been invited to Clarence House and we interviewed the Prince of Wales. It's a real seal of approval."
Yet, Phillip and Holly both readily admit that things don't always go according to plan.
"My most embarrassing moment has to be with some live knife throwers," chuckles Phillip. "It was before Holly and we had invited a couple from the circus on to the show to break a new record. I can remember asking in the meeting beforehand whether it was such a good idea, but I was assured it would be fine.
"When it came to the show, they started throwing the knives and one caught the top of the other's head. I could see the woman flinch and then there was a little bit of blood on her forehead. I know how much your head can bleed with a minor wound and so I thought I would jump in front of the camera and cut to a break. But before I could, Fern with her fabulous motherly instinct, ran in and all I could hear her say was 'there is blood'. The circus couple were fine and assured us it happened a lot."
As they chat, Phillip and Holly regularly finish off each other's sentences. And it's this close friendship, both on and off screen, which is the reason why they work so well together on This Morning. Both socialise together with their families when the show is not on air and they both regularly go out for lunch.
"If you didn't get on with the person you were doing it with, it would be appalling," says Phillip. "If I was describing our friendship, I would say it is trusting and honest. Holly is an incredibly honest
person and she has a brilliantly refreshing way at looking at something. It is a very complimentary team on-‐air which is born out of the fact we trust each other 100 per cent off-air as well."
Holly agrees, saying "I really value Phil's advice and he is such a good person to talk to about anything. I trust him completely."
They also readily admit that they both enjoy the same things in life. "Our sense of humour is the same speed," explains Phillip. "We both hear it and we both get it."
Nodding, Holly adds, "We are normally very good on air when it comes to the giggles but when we do the promos for the next day's show, we are at our worst!"
Smiling, Phillip and Holly go on to reveal they can't wait for the special 25th anniversary show, which will be broadcast live from the Albert Docks, where the programme first began.
Joined by Richard and Judy and some very special guests,it will, they say, be an incredible programme. So the big question is will they be hanging around for another 25 years?
"I don't think anyone would want us here for another 25 years," replies Holly,
laughing. "But what I do hope is that the show will keep evolving in the way it has doesn't get set in its ways – and it never has done that yet – then I think people will continue to respect This Morning."
Phillip agrees. Smiling, he says: "Another 25 years might be a bit of a push but I will certainly be around for the foreseeable future."
As for the guest they'd still love to appear on the show and both admit it definitely has to be the young Royals. "I'd love William or Harry," says Phillip. "And I would like Kate," replies Holly.
Phillip smiles and then adds: "We are aiming very high but I continue to be very proud of everything we do. At This Morning, we are always working hard to reflect what is happening in the world and in our own lives…"
Be sure not to miss the 25th Silver Anniversary of This Morning, live from Liverpool Albert Docks, Thursday 3rd October from 10:30am on ITV.