Belfast Telegraph

It's so elementary for Eamonn Holmes

By Gail Walker

When the going gets tough, you send for the best ... So no wonder bosses of the ailing Daybreak are reportedly trying to lure Eamonn Holmes with a £750,000 contract to replace Aled Jones.

Clearly, action is called for – Daybreak is getting hammered by the unglam BBC Breakfast, which has an audience of 1.5m compared to the ITV show's 1m.

Why would Eamonn stop the rot? Because viewers like and trust him. And he can do both hard news and lighter material.

His Good Evening Ulster grounding here means that he knows what real news is, how to ask the incisive question and reflect the mood of the viewers. He has the gravitas of the real journalist – he isn't just a pretty boy mouthing the questions coming down the earpiece.

Currently, Eamonn keeps all the plates spinning on Sky's Sunrise breakfast show before segueing seamlessly into the lifestyle oasis of This Morning, which he co-hosts with wife Ruth. It's a rare broadcaster who can easily work both formats, with neither detracting from his role on the other. I mean, Philip Schofield has considerable talents but you could never imagine him fronting Newsnight. Not so with our Eamonn.

Even the faux outrage over last week's PDA with Ruth failed to get much media traction. No one seriously believed that Eamonn had really been caught dropping the hand or had ever once lost sight of the fact millions were watching. It was slapstick not sensation.

That's all part of his genius – he makes it look as if he's not actually on TV but has just called round for a cup of tea while never losing his focus for a second.

There's one other attribute that stands to him: he's a genuinely decent bloke. What you see is what you get. For all his success, he always has time for the Press 'back home'. There's no ego.

When the recent history is written about this place, Eamonn will go down as one of the good guys – someone who rose above it all, shunned bigotry and always strove to reflect and endorse the very best of both sides.

Quite simply, Eamonn Holmes is one of the best broadcasters – and ambassadors – of his, and our, generation.

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