"For me, it's an amazing, magical mystery tour"
Presenting This Morning is a real delight and honour for Eamonn and Ruth, especially as they are working alongside their loved one.
The happy couple, who have tied the knot since they first started hosting the daytime show every Friday and during the school holidays, reveal that working together will always make their time on This Morning extra special.
“I have worked with many leading ladies but not with one I love and then married!” explains Eamonn.
“I love doing the show so much and it’s so unique to be working with your partner,” agrees Ruth. “Sometimes we reveal a bit more than we mean to but I do think couples relate to us. I don’t always agree with Eamonn and we have our moments on the show, as you are more honest with your husband or wife. You tell them what you think. But its not arguing. If I don’t like Eamonn’s suit or a question he has asked, I will tell him so. It’s done with love. Even if you are snapping with each other, it is done with love. We just may have a difference of opinion.”
Has working together made their own relationship and marriage stronger?
“We were strong anyway,” replies the endearingly honest Ruth. “Some people can manage it, some can’t. I think it does depend on the personalities. We are very happy and we laugh a lot.”
And yet whilst they are happy to share their own life with the This Morning viewers on air, the couple stress they never take any issues raised on the programme home with them.
Both relishing their role as presenters on This Morning, Eamonn and Ruth admit there have been many memorable big interviews they have both enjoyed. For Eamonn, it was meeting Dame Edna Everage, whilst Ruth loved meeting her childhood hero, Jeff Bridges.
“To interview Dame Edna was a huge career landmark,” reveals Eamonn. “Barry Humphries is such a comedic genius and I can genuinely say we didn’t stop laughing.
“I do get excited when a movie star walks in. I will have watched their movie sitting eating popcorn and suddenly you are talking to them. I have never got over that surreal moment when you are with someone from the big screen.”
“I had been a love struck 14-year-old girl over Jeff and so I was quite nervous when I actually met him,” reveals Ruth. “But he was so charming and lovely, it made me love him even more! Half way through the interview he showed me a picture of his wife who he has been married to for years and I could hear all the girls in the gallery say in my earpiece was ‘ahhhh’. Sometimes you get worried about meeting your heroes but he was fantastic – and I got him all to myself as Eamonn couldn’t make the interview!”
She pauses and then continues: “But on the whole, I don’t get too star struck as you are working and being professional. You are thinking about what you must ask next.”
Very much wearing their hearts on their sleeve, both Eamonn and Ruth admit they can find it emotional when they meet an inspirational person on the sofa. Ruth, in particular, says she does find herself welling up on the show. “We had one young couple who both had terminal cancer and they had their young children with them in the studio, recalls Ruth. “That was one of the hardest interviews I have ever done.
They were both going to die but they were really positive people and talked about how they found comfort with the plans they had put in place for their children. It was so shocking. Normally at the end of the interview you can say ‘good luck with the treatment’, but we couldn’t on this occasion and we both found that very difficult. You do have to be professional though. It’s not about us being upset and crying. It’s our job to help them tell their story and gently help them along. You can cry afterwards or in the break.”
What makes Eamonn and Ruth’s on-screen partnership work so well is both are definitely not afraid to raise their head above the parapet if they are incensed by a story. Ruth admits she found herself getting angry on air with Samantha Brick, who had been invited on to the sofa to talk about her controversial comments about being beautiful last year.
She explains: “When Samantha Brick said women hated her because she was beautiful, I did get quite cross. I quite like Samantha but I couldn’t help myself on that issue. I don’t like someone telling me what I will think when they haven’t even met me. I had quite a few comments afterwards saying ‘Ruth you don’t look very happy today!”
Eamonn, on the other hand, admits he takes a more mischievous approach. “I have a very good way of being mischievous with people,” he says. “The more dislikeable a person is, the more I like the interview. I am quite perverse like that!”
Revealing their most embarrassing moment was when Ruth stubbed her toe off-air but swore when the microphone was still on, the gregarious couple laugh as they reveal their son thinks they are cool parents now they are at the helm of one of Britain’s most iconic shows. “He has never been that fussed about us being on the television but he loves us working on This Morning because it means he gets access to certain pop stars,” chuckles Ruth. “He came in over the summer this year and met Dynamo who is one of his TV favourites. We are quite cool at the moment!’
The couple also relish having fun on This Morning and they are certainly hoping the anniversary show will provide a lot of laughter. “I am really looking forward to it,” says Ruth. “I can remember watching it a lot when it was on at Albert Dock and it’s going to be nice to be with Richard and Judy on the day. It’s fantastic they are coming back.”
For Eamonn, hosting the 25thanniversary show will also be very poignant.
“It is very good that after 25 years, you can look back and be part of a handful of double acts on the programme that people remember over time. For me there is a particularly poignancy when I left Belfast in 1986 to start daytime television with the BBC. This Morning was created to oppose the programme I was on and at that time, it won. It spelt the end of my job and it changed my life incredibly. Little did I know, however, that it would actually lead 15 years later to me becoming part of the programme and marrying the person I was presenting it with.
"For me, it’s an amazing, magical mystery tour and who knows where it will end.” With a cheeky glint in his eye, the 53-year-old Irishman says he hopes to still be watching This Morning in 25 years’ time – but jokes it will be from an old people’s home!
As for Ruth, she reckons she will still try to stagger into the studio. “I will still be dragging myself in with my Zimmer frame,” she chuckles. “Hopefully I will still be here.”
Not surprisingly, William and Harry are both high on the couple’s wish list of whom they would still like to interview, but its Kate’s mother Carole Middleton who they would most like to chat to on the This Morning sofa.
“She is the real power behind the Royal couple,” explains Eamonn. “She gets away with it because nobody gets to talk to her. She is an influence on the way the monarchy has turned out and she is grandmother to the future king. I think she is due an interview and I am the man to do it!”
“And I will be by his side,” says Ruth, laughing.
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.
Tag: ITV This Morning