Belfast Telegraph

Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford: "What people see on air is us, warts and all."

Belfast-born TV presenter helped son Declan with his Gallopers craft beer deliveries on a recent trip home

By Ali Gordon

Eamonn Holmes has revealed the secret behind his successful TV partnership with wife Ruth Langsford.

The Sky News Sunrise presenter hosts This Morning with her  on Fridays, as well as How The Other Half Lives on Channel Five.

“We are what we are — we’re more real than most couples,” Eamonn told Sunday Life.

“A lot of couples are very fabricated, but what people see on air is us, warts and all.”

The 57-year-old admits that sometimes his cheeky on-air comments get him in trouble with Loose Women host Ruth.

“We have a bit of craic and we banter with each other, but that’s just us,” he said.

“We wouldn’t be being us if we were any different and I think that’s why we do seem to work very well together.”

The couple, who have 15-year-old son Jack together, are delighted that a third series of How The Other Half Lives will be on our screens in the coming weeks.

In the show Eamonn and Ruth get a taste of what life is like for some of the richest people in the world.

“Our series for Channel Five is coming back in the next few weeks, and we could be doing it full-time but we just don’t have the time to go around the world, because we’d never be home,” said Eamonn, who is back to work and “recovering well” from a double hip replacement last year.

“The fascinating thing about the show is that you couldn’t physically take a £10,000 cocktail or glass of Champagne and say ‘mmmm... I could see why that’s 10 grand’.

“It’s laughable, and the two of us find it so hilariously funny because you would never do it in real life.

“I’d rather have a bottle of Gallopers personally or some pale ale and know I haven’t just spent a crazy amount of money on one drink.”

In 2015 Eamonn joined forces with his eldest son Declan to bring Gallopers craft beer to the market. The brand is built around the north Belfast tale of Galloper Thompson.

Legend has it that local man Gordon Thompson told his friends if he did not find a place in Heaven he would come back and haunt the streets of Belfast.

“I thought up the name, Declan thought up the brew and he has worked very, very hard to build the brand,” said Eamonn, who has three other children — Rebecca, Niall and Jack.

While back in Belfast Eamonn was up and down the country helping Declan with his deliveries, as well as popping into city accountants Harbinson Mulholland, who support family businesses like Gallopers through the Northern Ireland Family Business Forum, of which Declan is a member. The pair also gave their support for next month's forum event, aptly named 'Keeping It in the Family'.

“I used to work in the pub trade as a student so it was brilliant for me to go in and see these amazing places around Northern Ireland,” said the Surrey-based presenter.

“I loved seeing how good the Harp Bar and the Duke of York were in Belfast, and then Pier 36 in Donaghadee and the Bull and Ram in Ballynahinch, which I was very impressed by.

“It was a grey March morning at about 11 o’clock and there was a lovely sign outside Pier 36 that said ‘Come on in, the fire’s roaring’. It worked for me.

“Donaghadee is lovely – the town centre is looking great, with all the coloured buildings and a host of great bars, like Pier 36.

“The dependence we have on the food and drink industry here in Northern Ireland is tremendous — it’s really growing and it’s something we should be very proud of.

“My son loves working in the industry, and I must admit I do enjoy dipping in and out of it. He’s trying to get a niche in the market and so far it’s going well for him. He’s certainly got his dad’s support anyway.”

While the former GMTV host has become a household name and is no stranger to early mornings and long hours, he was “blown away” by the amazing work that the Friends of the Cancer Centre do on a recent visit. Last week he was named patron of the charity.

“A busy day for me is nothing compared to what these folk do, day in, day out,” he said.

“They basically operate out of a coal hole, it’s the tiniest office. They pride themselves on spending very little money on administration, just five per cent.

“When I was going round the wards people were asking for pictures and everyone was buzzing, and I felt like saying: ‘Just stop’. I’m useless, I just turn up and smile in someone’s selfie, but these surgeons, consultants and medical staff are the real rock stars. They are so excited and passionate about what they do and to have a guy here who is leading the field in the UK for reducing the side effects of prostate radiation.’.

“They’re there for people when they need it most and I really do think they’re brilliant, but I hope I never see them again. Sadly, so many of us are affected by cancer, though. We all know people who have had cancer and it’s not just them, but their families too who need support.

“All I can hope to do is shine a light on the great work they do.”

And there’s somewhere else Eamonn is keen to draw people’s attentions too — north Belfast.

He said: “I’ve always felt that north Belfast is the part of the city that no one really has much to talk about. I was born and bred and educated there, my family and friends are still there and I still love it.

“I often think that east, west, south and south east, around Knock and Carryduff, is talked about all the time, but we’re forgotten in the north.

“People get up to Carlisle Circus and they turn around and say: ‘I’ll not go any further’.

“It’ll always be home for me. The only thing in life I’m sure of is that I’m a Belfast man through and through. I’ll wax lyrical about Belfast forever and it’s the people who make our country what it is.

“The amount of things people say that you’d be arrested for anywhere else is ridiculous, but it’s what we do. We love a bit of banter — it’s all about the craic and that’s why I love it.”

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