Find out how our fabulous Entertainment Editor Richard Arnold got to where he is today...
It’s been a long and winding road to my new role as Daybreak’s Entertainment Editor. How long have you got?
I left school at 16 in stretch denim and white slip on shoes to stack shelves at the local supermarket. I also cut grass for the council up in Aberdeenshire (I changed my footwear for that gig), which is where I was raised as a teenager after moving from my native Hampshire.
After a summer of hard labour, I started a law degree at Edinburgh University. Within six weeks, I realised I was better suited to propping up a bar rather than working AT the bar so I swapped to English Language and Literature, honed my craft as a verbal gymnast and via a brief career in events management finally headed to London in 1992 to train to be a journalist.
By 1993, I’d started working on Inside Soap magazine, had nabbed regular radio slots on BBC R5 and BBC Scotland before landing a gig as one of the presenters on BBC2 Sunday morning youth programme - The Sunday Show. Two years later, the call came from GMTV to join the team and I became a regular fixture on the sofa for 13 years. My fate and future social life was sealed.
Meantime, I had my own mid-morning radio show in London, including a years stint recently at LBC 97.3. I have also peddled my wares for most major newspapers and magazines in the UK from The Sun, The Mail, Heat, The Express and still regularly write a TV column for People. I currently have a weekly column in Hello! and Woman’s Own. I also present for Australia’s Channel 7 which technically makes me bi-hemispheral!
Over the years I’ve had cameo roles in the TV shows Footballers Wives, Rock Rivals, Shameless and Hustle. When I’m not playing myself, I’ve been known to take to the stage, most notably (ahem) with fellow presenter Kate Garraway on Stars In Their Eyes as Frank Sinatra to her Nancy and again on Let’s Dance for Sport Relief - as Danny Zuko to her Sandy where I was described as a tubby Shakin Stevens - a definite career highlight!
Elsewhere, I hosted three series of the popular quiz show Take It Or Leave It, worked up a lather as the host of telly quiz Soap Addicts, co-hosted Loose Lips alongside Melinda Messenger for Sky Living and presented ITV1’s live tea time celebrity cook off Soapstar Superchef with Nicki Chapman.
I was also a quarter finalist in the first series of Celebrity Masterchef, presented Great Food Live, headed to the North Pole as a contestant on ITV1’s 71 Degrees North, hosted the Planet’s Funniest Animals and The Animal Roadshow, have appeared on Celebrity Mastermind, The Paul O Grady Show and won the top prize for charity on Celebrity Are You Smarter Than a Ten Year-old.
Safe to say it’s made for a giddy lark so far and since returning to Daybreak this summer I’ve interviewed Tom Jones, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger and met all our Olympic stars, who I reckon could be the closest I’ll ever get to TV gold!
1. What do you most enjoy about working on Daybreak?
Upstage, backstage - wherever you are on breakfast telly you get to meet anyone and everyone who is in the news - be it heads of state, sporting heroes or just ordinary people with extraordinary stories. I've been through three Prime Ministers now, so to speak.
2. Who would you most like to meet/interview that you haven't already?
I've been lucky enough to chat to some of the biggest names in showbiz over the years so I'd have to go for historical figures. Queen Victoria, Elvis and Kenny Everett spring to mind!
3. Who is the most memorable celebrity/personality you have ever met and why?
From Kermit to Basil Brush, Sooty and Sue - I'd say it's the muppets and puppets I've found most memorable over the years, but for all the wrong reasons. You're terrified of blowing away the smoke and mirrors and spoiling the illusion for kids at home. That said, when I started chatting to WallE (the robot from the animated flick of the same name) in a lift at ITV, he short circuited when I touched him. I was left with eight minutes of dead air to fill with actress Jennifer Ellison. It was like chatting over a broken toaster.
4. If you weren't a presenter what would you be doing as a job?
Probably a tour guide at Southfork Ranch in Texas, home of TV show Dallas. I'm a dedicated Forkie, the Dallas equivalent of being a Trekkie. I could shift a lot of fridge magnets.
5. Are you a good morning person?
Irritatingly so! I can shave, make porridge, wash behind my ears and observe nature's call in exactly 22 minutes before I leave the house at 5am. But then, unlike Bruce Forsythe, I'm not that fussy about how my blueberries look on my oats.
6. Who would you choose to play you in a film version of your life?
Over the years I've been likened to (and we are talking three decades here) Patrick Swayze, David Duchovny, Simon Le Bon and - ahem - William Hague. Most recently from my young (er) team I'm getting Will Ferrell. He's a comedy hero of mine so I'll take it, even if that's all I appear to be getting these days.
7. Tell us one fact about yourself that we'd be surprised to learn?
I went to University in the late 80s to study law. I was so bored after six weeks I woke up only once in the lectures and that was when Sue Ellen and JR Ewing's second divorce in Dallas was cited as an example. I refer you to question 4.