It's good to talk: Eamonn Holmes at home on new radio show... and loving the lie-ins
Eamonn Holmes says he has gone radio gaga over his latest job - and that people tell him he seems "reborn" and looks better.
The 59-year-old presenter admitted his job on Talk Radio has been a "revelation" after years of getting up for breakfast TV, now that he can get a lie-in or stay up late.
The north Belfast TV and radio star, who also co-presents This Morning on ITV, said: "For a man who has spent half his life getting up at ungodly hours to host breakfast television, my 18 months of anchoring afternoon radio has been a revelation.
"For a start, I can go to bed as late as I wish and get up, by and large, from 8am onwards. Those around me say I am reborn.
"Some even say I look better for it! You would have to be the judge of that, but I certainly feel better.
"If you haven't discovered it yet, The Drivetime Show on Talk Radio, 4-7pm, is my new stomping ground. I'm not sure if we are a magazine programme that does a lot of news, or a news show that has a lot of magazine features, but judging by the 30 per cent jump in listeners over the past year, it seems to be hitting the spot.
"Recently, we came into possession of an email from Extinction Rebellion, outlining plans to shut down Heathrow Airport.
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"The flexibility of radio meant that we could run a whole two-and-a-half hours on that subject alone, bringing people up-to-date with breaking news, and hearing the reaction from listeners towards the disruption that would be caused.
"So state-of-the-art are these new studios in London's Borough Market that much of what I do is still like television anyway.
"The technology is so modern that I am surrounded by cameras. What that means is that the radio you listen to becomes the video you can watch - blurring the distinction between traditional TV and radio.
"For me, it feels very familiar, and very like Sunrise - the show I left behind on Sky News. We are right across the news and, thankfully, because of my years in the business so far, attracting big-name guests hasn't been an issue."
And he said he has got a particular thrill from interviewing pop idols from his youth - but that cheeky comic Keith Lemon (below) has been his favourite guest.
He said: "The beauty of radio is that you get to give your guests much more time to talk. The item gets more time to breathe compared to television.
"I am very lucky that people feel they want to come on the show and talk to me. It always gives me a thrill to have people who I admired as a youngster.
"To be able to sit down for half-hour chats with Leo Sayer, Toyah Wilcox, Francis Rossi, Suzi Quatro - people who provided the soundtracks of my youth - as well as top political guests who provided the headlines that I reported on, gives me a certain comfort and satisfaction.
"I'd say Keith Lemon is one of my favourite people to chat to. Yes, he can be devilishly filthy at times, but never in an awful way. There is a kindness to his humour, and his smile and energy are infectious."
Writing in his column in Best magazine, Eamonn said that he enjoys a post-show pizza most days but that nothing beats getting home to wife Ruth Langsford for a home-cooked meal.
He added: "Of course, this all means that, like many couples, Ruth and I have an intense working schedule. But we work hard at finding 'us' time - made somewhat easier because a fair proportion of our work is together.
"You may have seen us on Celebrity Gogglebox arguing over crisps. All I can say is, Ruth and I have very different attitudes.
"Basically, my belief is that crisps should be simple and come in two flavours - cheese and onion and smoky bacon. Ruth is much more pretentious and lives under the illusion that if crisps are dandelion and saffron-flavoured, they are somehow more acceptable and less calorific.
"But yes, Ruth on an average day is usually, but not always, home before me - and if she is, she makes a big thing of greeting me with some lovely home-cooked food.
"And that's the way many of our days end - with the two of us catching up and chatting away over the kitchen table."