In this week's interview Rachel Dean talks to BBC Radio Ulster presenter Connor Phillips (38). He's married to BBC Breakfast's sports presenter Holly Hamilton and they split their time between Newry and Manchester.
Q. Tell us about your childhood
A. I had a brilliant childhood. I grew up in the country, in Jonesborough, south Armagh, with my parents and my sister Ciara and brother Damien.
When I need fun stuff I go to Ciara and when I need serious advice I go to Damien.
We grew up in a massive family. My mum has 13 siblings, so I have around 40 first cousins on my mum's side alone.
I had a great time. Mum and dad are still very much with us - they're Maureen and Terry Phillips.
Mum was a nurse pretty much up until Covid-19 hit, so she's been off for some time now. I won't say she's retired yet because mum's a very caring type and she's keen on getting back to helping people, so I suspect she's as far from retirement as you can possibly imagine.
Jonesborough has a very famous market and all my family were market traders, including myself. I had my first stall when I was eight and I did that right up until I went to university. My dad has been a salesman and worked in sales for most of his life. He grew up doing the markets too. My grandfather was a market trader, half a dozen of my aunties and uncles were market traders and my brother did it for a while also.
That's kind of where the gift of the gab comes from, I think.
Q. What are you most proud of?
A. I'm proud of my background. I'm proud of being from Jonesborough. Every time I do stuff on the television or on radio, the whole community I grew up in are the first ones to say: "That was brilliant. Well done you. Keep representing our part of the world."
I'm from a part of the world that throughout the years has had negative connotations - it was a very militarised zone when I was growing up. But, one thing I would say about where I'm from is that the people are just brilliant.
Being from my community and being able to represent where I'm from is something that I am massively proud of.
I'm proud of how I'm welcomed, thought of and spoken about in my community, as well.
Q. The one regret you wish you could amend?
A. I'm not one for regrets really because I think life teaches you things. The only thing I would say is I wish I had started presenting a little bit earlier.
When I was younger, I did a drama degree and spent three years on the West End. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it taught me things that I still make use of today.
I'm incredibly happy and proud of where I am in my career at the moment, and I love what I do, so I just wish I'd done it a couple more years earlier.
Q. What about phobias? Do you have any?
A. I don't have any phobias, but one thing that really makes me cringe is raw onion. I can't stand it. If I order a burger at a restaurant I always ask, "Can you make sure there is no onion?" so the burger comes with no onion, but what's in the side salad? Raw onions!
Why would you say to someone no onions, then they put it in your side salad? They think it doesn't count, but it does!
Q. The temptation you cannot resist?
A. Beer. I've tried to be good with it, so I started drinking light and low-calorie beer. I'm doing quite well and I've found a few brands that I like. There's one called Skinny Beer, from Manchester, and the guys that make it sent me out a case, which was lovely during lockdown. You couldn't get anything for a while - when you went to a supermarket, they were sold out of everything from flour and toilet roll to the beer that I like.
So, beer would be the one for me that I can't resist, but I don't drink too much. I'm someone who could go into a bar and have one beer and that would be fine.
Q. Your number one prized possession?
A. A jersey I have that was signed by five players from the first Liverpool team to win the cup. It's in my office at home.
It's funny; I support Liverpool, but I've spent the last seven years in Manchester and working with Man United.
People find it very hard to understand that and I'm like: "If you think football's polarising, live in the political landscape of Ireland. That's polarising."
Football teams don't polarise for me; I'm a fan of football. I know people can get very tribal about football, but I don't. I can give somebody full respect for the team they support. I've worked for Man City, Liverpool, Everton and Man United, but I am a Liverpool fan.
I also have this really old Topman T-shirt that I got about 15 years ago that my wife hates. I mean, she HATES it. It's not the greatest T-shirt in the world, but it fits me so beautifully and I love it.
That's my second most prized possession. I won't throw it out and Holly doesn't understand why - and neither do I really.
Q. The book that's most impacted your life?
A. Roddy Doyle's The Barrytown Trilogy, which is made up of The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van. I just absolutely adore them. The Commitments is my favourite book in the world.
About six months ago, I was halfway across England and my producer rang me and said, "There's an opportunity to interview Roddy Doyle tomorrow but I know you're halfway across the country" and I was like: "I don't care what it takes. I will get my car and I will be there. Yes is the answer."
It was lovely. I was able to say to him if I was ever to be stuck on a desert island with a book, I would be bringing The Barrytown Trilogy.
Q. If you had the power or the authority what would you do?
A. I would make it law that for every single politician, political gathering or massive important meeting, everything that is said would have to be independently fact-checked on the spot.
So, if a politician stood up to say something, that politician is not allowed off the podium until what they've said is independently fact-checked. I think every time some politicians open their mouth, we can't be entirely sure what's true. Everything's changed in the last political generation.
Q. What makes your blood boil every time without fail?
A. Breakfasts with a finishing time in a restaurant. There should be all-day breakfasts. I finish my show at 12pm, but what happens if I want to get a breakfast then?
I probably can't because 95% of restaurants won't sell me a breakfast at 12pm. But that's my breakfast time.
I've always had a really weird body clock because I've never been a 9-to-5-er. I like my breakfast whenever my body feels like it's breakfast time.
Q. Who has most influenced you in life?
A. It sounds a cliche, but my wife and family.
My family have always had a really strong work ethic. My mother worked as a nurse all her life and at 50 went back to university to get another degree.
My dad has a strong work ethic too. That's always stayed with me, and my brother and sister have that as well.
So, in terms of influence, how I live my life, manners and how I treat people - that all comes from my family.
Then, my wife has made a massive impact in my professional life.
We both work in the same industry; we met while working on Cool FM doing a show together.
We both work as TV and radio presenters - and we use each other as sounding boards.
I'm sure there are people in careers who would say to their other half, "You don't understand what I'm going through" but with myself and Holly, there's absolutely no way that we could say that to each other.
We both know what the industry is like and we both know what it's like to be on TV and radio.
I wouldn't be where I am today without my wife and family, so they are both massively important to me.
Q. Your top three dinner party guests, dead or alive, and why?
A. Steven Gerrard because I never got to meet him. I worked in Liverpool on a sports radio station for a couple of years, and doing that I met all my heroes, but never Steven Gerrard. I got jealous when Holly ended up in the same pub as him in Glasgow one day.
Then, Christy Moore, the Irish folk singer, because I love his music.
And the comedian Jerry Seinfeld because he really intrigues me. He's one of those people who never gives away a lot in interviews. He doesn't even do many interviews; he doesn't really have to do anything because he's a billionaire. I'm very intrigued by his life story.
Having those three at a dinner party would be some craic.
Q. The best piece of advice you've ever received?
A. "If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got." You can't moan about your situation if you're not willing to do anything about it. If you want things to change, you have to do it yourself.
Q. The unlikely interest or hobby that you love?
A. I'm a Gaelic footballer and a lot of people think that at my age I would have stopped playing. But I'm still playing for a team in Manchester.
My dad is a champion Springer Spaniel breeder. He's got two of them at home now and they're called Buddy and Holly, after the musician.
Holly the dog only preceded Holly the wife by about six months. It's strange when someone shouts in the house, "Holly, stop peeing on the carpet!" and I have to go find my wife and make sure she's behaving herself!
But joking aside, during the lockdown, we found out that I'm actually not too bad at shaving hair.
I've gave myself a relatively okay haircut - now it's nowhere near as good as a hairdresser, but it's manageable.
And my mum said to me: "Your hair looks nice. Would you come up and shave one of the dogs?"
So, on my wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, Holly was in Manchester and I was back at mum and dad's house, socially distanced in the garden with a set of clippers, shaving a Springer Spaniel.
They say if you don't want to do a job again, do it badly, but I actually did it quite well and they've asked me to come up and do the other one. I love the dogs though, and I love going up home to look after my dad's dogs.
Q. The poem that touches your heart?
A. Digging by Seamus Heaney. I'll never forget the first time I heard it in school. You could have heard a pin drop in the classroom. Heaney was so simply gifted.
Q. The happiest moment of your life?
A. Of course, it was getting married to my lovely wife. We had an amazing wedding; we got married in Portugal. Like I said I've got over 40 first cousins, so if you think of all those cousins and their partners, and all my aunts and uncles - the hardest part about getting married was making the wedding list.
But the day itself was amazing; the sun came out and we got married pretty much on the beach.
Both our families stayed in a villa together and they had never really met before. But they ended up living together in a villa for 10 days and it was amazing.
And, of course, my wife looked amazing and we had a stunning wedding.
So yeah, I'd say that day - or the day Armagh won the All-Ireland in 2002.
Q. And the saddest moment of your life?
A. When my Granda Jim died when I was a teenager. I love the job I'm doing but every now and again I stop to think about my grandad. He was a character and a great storyteller and he was someone that people turned to.
My grandad never heard me on the radio and I sometimes think to myself: "If my grandad knew I was getting paid for talking, he'd be massively proud because no one talked like he did."
Q. What event changed your life?
A. I got a place in the National Youth Theatre when I was 16 and I did the West End for three years - and that made me as a person.
My childhood taught me how to handle myself. Because I was a market trader I knew how to be with people and I knew relatively well how to handle finances. I was a Boy Scout so I knew how to use my hands and do things.
Being away for three months every summer at the ages of 16, 17 and 18, I had to grow up quickly. It made a massive difference to even the little things.
Where I live in south Armagh, everyone was the same, but when I moved away, I had to learn about other people's cultures, sexual orientations, races, nationalities.
I think that's why I'm so open-minded now, because for three months each year I lived with people I wasn't used to when I was growing up.
I have friends from all over the world now and it's unbelievable.
Q. What's the ambition that keeps driving you onwards?
A. To make a TV show with my wife. We did one last year and we really enjoyed the process.
Q. What's the philosophy you live by?
A. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated.
Q. How do you want to be remembered?
A. "He made me stay in the car and keep the radio on until he finished the thing he was talking about." You know when you're in the car and you can't get out until the presenter finishes what they're talking about? I want to be the reason you didn't get out of the car.
The Connor Phillips Show is on BBC Radio Ulster from Monday to Friday, 10.30am to midday, and also on BBC Sounds
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