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'TV is in the best shape it has ever been.. it's a lucky time to be alive'

Jeremy Vine replaced Matthew Wright as presenter of Channel 5's morning show late last year. Kerri-Ann Roper gets a catch-up


Jeremy Vine with AJ Pritchard, Storm Huntley, Jason Gardiner and Anne Diamond

Jeremy Vine with AJ Pritchard, Storm Huntley, Jason Gardiner and Anne Diamond

Jeremy Vine with AJ Pritchard, Storm Huntley, Jason Gardiner and Anne Diamond

Jeremy Vine is a morning person. Or at least, if he wasn't, you'd never guess it. It's 6am on a dark winter's morning and he looks positively perky. His alarm clock went off at 4.55am and he's fed the cats, cycled into work and is now settling in to review the day's papers ahead of his Channel 5 show. Come 8am, he's got to be firmly seated in hair and make-up before going on air at 9.15am.

He took over the show, previously Channel 5's The Wright Stuff, from Matthew Wright in September last year and it now bears his name. Vine is also still hosting his BBC Radio 2 show.

Given his early starts and dizzying schedule, just how much TV does he get to watch outside of work?

"I do Radio 2 and I finish at two, so I can come home and see my daughters come back from school and we have a family dinner," the 53-year-old explains while having his TV make-up applied.

"At the moment, finding a programme that a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old and their parents can watch is not easy. We've tried The Crown, but they start yawning really loudly."

He reveals his latest TV viewing has been watching the final series of Channel 4's Catastrophe and also Netflix's Sex Education, starring Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist and Asa Butterfield as her son who starts his own sex advice clinic at school.

"TV is now in the best shape it's ever been, the whole time I've been alive," he muses. "It's an amazing time for British TV and TV generally. Because what you've got on TV, the standard of programmes, the amazing wealth of drama, documentaries, comedy - it's a lucky time to be alive."

During an earlier tour of the studio, executive editor Liam Hamilton reveals a surprising fact.

"Here we are on the Jeremy Vine set which gets built from a standing start," he explains. "It's a blank canvas every morning - from six o'clock the guys are in working hard, so we build the set and by 7.30 it's ready to rock, by 10.45 or thereabouts, the end of the show, it comes back down and gets put away and it starts the next day, all over again.

"The space, the studio, is used for other shows in the afternoons, which is why that has to happen every day, so it's a well-oiled machine, a kind of army regime of moving and shifting everything in the right order from props to major bits of set, but it all happens, touch wood, smooth as clockwork every morning."

The show features a host of celebrity guests every day who will discuss various projects, but also offer up their opinions on key headlines from the day's news agenda.

Today's panel includes Dancing On Ice's sharp-tongued Jason Gardiner, Strictly professional AJ Pritchard and broadcaster Anne Diamond.

Gardiner is immaculately groomed and unflustered when we chat to him about his appearance on the show and you'd never guess he nearly didn't make his call time.

"My car was supposed to get me at 6.30am, but I read the call time wrong, so I didn't get in my car till seven o'clock," he says. "Then I had to come all the way across town to get here for literally 7.30am and then straight into a briefing, make-up and a quick tea, then you're whacked into the studio."

He adds: "What I love about doing Jeremy Vine, by the way, it's the only breakfast show that I will watch if I'm at home, because I think it does very good topical issues that are very relevant today, but you have a whole different panel of opinions, so it's informative, it's irreverent, it's funny."

A guest who is no stranger to early mornings is Diamond, who presented TV-am's Good Morning Britain.

She says: "It's funny, because we were talking in the make-up room earlier about the sort of discipline you have to have to do a programme like this, just because of the timings.

"My alarm used to go off at 2.58am. I used to listen to the three o'clock morning news while I got dressed and I was in the studio by around 3.30am. So, doing this show day in and day out does take a lot out of you.

"Again, Jeremy was saying, like I remember, you go to bed about 8.30pm at night which sounds nice and you are certainly ready for bed by then, but you get invited to everything and you can't go to anything, or if you do go to it, you only ever see the first half of a West End show. It's quite a disciplined life to do this sort of programme."

But it's clear it's a discipline Vine relishes and, since helming the show, it's enjoyed a number of high-profile exclusives, among them the first interview with Celebrity Big Brother's Roxanne Pallett following her controversial stint in the series.

There are, however, still two names Vine says he'd like to have as guests on the show - Irish actress and Catastrophe star Sharon Horgan, and French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, known for his 1974 stunt that saw him walk on a line between the former Twin Towers in New York.

"Sharon is a dream guest. I just said today, if you can book her, it's a bottle of Champagne."

Jeremy Vine's show airs daily, Monday to Friday, on Channel 5 from 9.15am

Belfast Telegraph