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Jenni Falconer: 'I can't dance, but I'd just love to have a go at a show like Strictly Come Dancing'

The Scottish-born TV presenter (38) is best known for working on shows such as Splash!, This Morning and the BBC One National Lottery Draws. She is married to actor James Midgley, with whom she has a daughter, Ella Rose (2)

By Carrie Gregory

How do you juggle your hectic work commitments with your home life?

My priorities have definitely changed in the last five years. Whereas before I maybe used to have quite a nice social life, things are different now.

Social life unfortunately is at the bottom of my priority list, family is way up at the top and work is in there as well.

My husband [actor and presenter James Midgley] and I are both self-employed – I do my radio show [on Heart], but we haven't really got a lot of fixed hours so between us, our work is quite ad hoc.

We try and make sure that one of us is available to look after Ella and if not, we try and keep it within the family as much as possible, because we know that she's going to be at school soon enough and then we won't have the opportunity to spend all this time with her. We're realistic – we know we have to work.

 

Do you feel like you're in your dream job?

Oh yeah. This year marks my 20 years in television and I absolutely love it.

I genuinely do not know what I would do if I wasn't in the job I'm in and it varies continuously.

I've done travel shows, adrenaline sports shows, entertainment shows, journalistic documentaries and now I'm doing radio which is a new string to my bow, but I really like it.

I think the reason I love it so much is because it's constantly varying.

 

Which has been your favourite programme to present?

There are so many different shows. I loved working on This Morning when I filled in for Holly on maternity leave because it's such a huge show and it has so much variation.

But my favourite show of all time was Entertainment Today [with Ben Shepherd], which I did for eight years.

He's a very good friend of mine, and we had great fun. On a weekly basis, it'd be like Justin Timberlake on a Monday, Daniel Craig on a Tuesday, maybe Nicole Kidman on a Wednesday, a set visit to Coronation Street on a Thursday, then the show would go live on a Friday, so it was a pretty good life.

 

Have you managed to catch Ben on Good Morning Britain yet?

Yes, I have, I've been watching quite a lot.

The thing is because I worked there so long, a lot of the people that still work on the team are from GMTV days and they're all good friends of mine, so to be honest I wish them all luck, and I've enjoyed what I've seen so far.

 

Last year you did Splash! Which was something totally different. Would you consider any other reality shows?

I like sport and exercise, so when they asked me to learn how to dive I was like, 'Yes, that'd be amazing'.

There was a little bit more dancing in my swimming costume than I'd anticipated, I'll be honest, but I did really enjoy it.

There's really only one show that I would like to be on; that would be Strictly.

I can't dance, but to be taught to dance by someone so professional is quite appealing.

 

Your TV career started out on Blind Date...

Yes, that was 20 years ago now, it went out in Christmas of 1994. It does feel a little bit weird now because it was such a long time ago, but it's quite strange that before doing Blind Date I hadn't really expressed an interest in television, I'd never actually thought it was something that could feasibly happen.

When I did Blind Date, I just fell in love with the whole filming process. They groaned at ITV like, 'Yeah we've heard that before' so that's when I started doing work experience.

I just tried to make it happen, and perseverance certainly made it a possibility. It was luck really that I got into the industry and I'm so pleased.

 

And did you keep in touch with your Blind Date?

Well actually, Cilla Black has recently celebrated her 50 years in television and last year ITV did a 50-year anniversary programme and they interviewed me and the guy I chose.

They gave me his email and Twitter, and he and his wife have been in touch. He was about 20 stone when I knew him and he's lost a load of weight and he still has his fish and chip shop! He's a lovely man called Donda.

 

Where else can we expect to see you in the near future?

I'm excited to be part of the [pub chain] Table Table family tasting teams campaign, and I'm also working for This Morning on a section they have called Weight Loss Wedding, which is meeting brides-to-be and helping them drop a dress size or two before their big day.

And I'm back on the lottery on Saturdays, and on Heart every morning with my new breakfast show. It's all still very exciting, so I'm very enthusiastic about getting up at a stupid time in the morning, but ask me when the winter comes!

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