Celebrities choose the TV moments that have shaped their lives. Eamonn Holmes takes a look back at the classic TV that helped make him a breakfast television star.
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Telly. That magic box in the corner.
It gives us access to a million different worlds,
all from the comfort of our sofa.
'In this series, I'm going to journey through the fantastic world of TV,
'with some of our favourite celebrities.
'They've chosen the precious TV moments that shed light...'
She seems like a nice girl!
-Look at that!
-'..on the stories of their lives.'
Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew...
..Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb!
'Some are funny...'
Could you do the chanting?
I could do "Nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh"...
I was mortified.
'Some are inspiring...'
"I am not a number. I am a free man!"
-Did George Orwell get his predictions right?
-It's all so dramatic!
-'..are deeply moving.'
..heads down the beach to almost certain death.
All of us, weeping...
'So, come watch with us,
'as we hand-pick the vintage telly
'that helped turn our much-loved stars
into the people they are today.'
Welcome to The TV That Made Me.
My guest today has been a household name for over 20 years.
This Belfast boy shot to fame in 1993, as the first host of GMTV.
Good morning. A new day, a new year, a new television station.
Welcome to GMTV.
Eamonn Holmes is one of Britain's favourite morning TV news anchors,
bringing us some Irish charm and a smile with our breakfast.
The TV that shaped him includes
a world of talking animals...
"And I don't want you to make fun of my nose."
..a legendary comic impersonator...
Ronnie Corbett, small comedian,
part-time garden gnome...
I am in awe of the king of hosting,
-Thank you, Brian. Good to see you.
-I want to get mod.
Let's get mod, let's get mod.
-So, are you excited about this today?
-What's not to like?
You, me, we're going to have a chat and we're going to watch TV. Brilliant.
Well, today we've got a selection of TV highlights
that you have chosen
-that has possibly made you the man you are today.
But before we go any further,
you've interviewed many people over the years -
what are the tips to doing a good interview?
-Go on, mate.
-Well, the best interview's if the guest talks.
-Let them just... You know, let them speak, because...
Shut up, I'm writing this down. Next bit?
Be warm, be friendly.
Be interested. Be YOU!
-Would it be good if I'd done some research? Would that help?
-That would help.
Well, we HAVE done some research.
-We've done some research on what it was like to be a young Eamonn Holmes.
Eamonn was born on the 3rd of December 1959 in Belfast,
the second of five sons to housewife mum Josie
and carpet-fitter dad Leonard.
He started life in a red brick house with an outside toilet,
sharing a bed with his younger brother Brian.
For Eamonn, the family telly wasn't just a source of entertainment.
As he sat glued to his favourite children's shows,
it also set him very firmly on the path towards his future career.
Do you think you were destined to be a television host?
Yes, well, you know...
A lot of people know early in life what they want to be
and I knew, from 11, that I wanted to be a TV reporter.
And I wanted to report, because I was influenced so much
by the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The Troubles, I suppose, formed me in many ways.
They robbed me of my teenage years,
but they led to me sitting in front of a television
and learning about the world
and about the conflict that was going on in Northern Ireland.
And I just, sort of, felt that, from 11,
this is what I wanted to do.
Eamonn, your first choice is a presenter
-that your mum loved very much.
-So much so...
-That she named me after him,
complete with one M and two Ns in Eamonn. Eamonn Andrews.
-And here he is.
THEY SING THIS IS YOUR LIFE THEME MUSIC
This Is Your Life.
Tonight, I've joined the BEA ground staff
here at London's international airport. I'm here to meet a plane
that's carrying our globetrotting guest from her home in Switzerland.
Hold it one second, I have a very special message...
Oh! No! Eamonn, don't do this to me.
An invitation to Thames Television,
-because international singing star Shirley Bassey...
..this is your life! And what fun it's going to be.
Oh, you did this to me...
For This Is Your Life to really work
people had to recognise the host, and in Eamonn Andrews
they could do that, because he was sort of multifaceted -
he was an entertainment host. He did kids' programmes, like Crackerjack.
-Well-known as a sports person...
-What's My Line?
-What's My Line? Yeah, panel host.
He knew his boxing inside out.
And he was... Mum named me after him and, I suppose, it's quite
prophetic that I ended up being a sort of general host, the way he is.
Born in the docklands of Tiger Bay, Cardiff,
you were raised here
at 132 Portmanmoor Road.
Your father died when you were only a baby of two.
This is in the days before Hello! magazine and OK! magazine
and this is the only chance you're going to get to see Shirley's family
and you're going to think,
"Oh, the people who brought her up, what did THEY look like,
"what was her house like, where's she from?
-"She's a big international star, but it wasn't always like that."
I think YOU would have been a perfect host. Did they ever get you on a This Is Your Life?
I have to say, I really did think...
Sometimes, cos you live and breathe television,
you think executives live and breathe it as well.
And when Michael Aspel stood down, I thought, "It's going to be me.
"It has to be me, everybody must know the story that I'm named after him. It has to be me."
-And they gave it to Trevor McDonald.
And it was like losing the FA Cup Final to me.
I kept thinking, "Why has HE got it? Why did they give it to him?"
So did you used to watch this show with your mum?
This Is Your Life was one of the ones that would bring the family together.
My dad would have just finished work, he'd have come in,
we'd have had our dinner, or tea, whatever you want to call it,
and that would have featured at seven o'clock or so in the evening.
It would have given Mum a chance to sit down,
maybe for the first time in the day,
and suddenly, you found yourself gathered round there.
Maybe for me and my brothers, it was an excuse
to just delay your homework a little bit longer.
Then, it was often followed by something like Benny Hill.
And my mother could NOT have Benny Hill on in the house.
She banned it?
She, basically, banned it.
Cos there was lots of girls in bikinis running about
and you've got to remember this was Catholic Ireland, very religious,
and we just couldn't understand - well, SHE couldn't understand -
why these half-naked women were running about at eight o'clock in the evening on ITV.
So, how would she get rid of you?
She had this peculiar way of threatening us.
She said, "I wish I had a curtain in front of that television,
"I could just pull it across like that." And she would say, "Oh..." -
and remember I've four other brothers...
So, suddenly the girls are all jiggling about and whatever
and Mum would come in and say, "Have you done your homework?!"
"Oh... Naked woman, is that what you want?
"Do you want to see a naked woman,
"is that what yous want to see?" "No, no...!"
That would clear the room. That would do it.
-Do you remember your first telly?
-Was it a huge event...?
The first one would have looked a bit like that
but much, much smaller, and what I can remember watching on it was
Tales Of The Riverbank very well.
Which was like Hammy Hamster
and there was something else...
-There was a rat - Roly Rat or something.
But I was fascinated with Tales Of The Riverbank.
Johnny Morris... And he did all the voices.
And you would just escape and think, "Gosh, these animals really talk."
-They were the meerkats...
-..of their day.
Did you enjoy Animal Magic? You just spoke about Johnny Morris.
# Buh-buh-buh... # Funny how we remember the theme music to all these programmes.
Johnny Morris, I think, was an amazing man.
-I just assumed he was a zookeeper.
-I don't think he was!
-I'm sure he wasn't.
-I just assumed he was a zookeeper.
Because he got so up close and personal with those animals,
and he then did the voices that we expected.
And he gave, I think, people who would have lived
in an inner city like myself,
an understanding as to animals,
how they behaved, how it was important to treat them well...
-Shall we have a little look?
-There we are, Eamonn.
-Come here. You do all of this.
-All right, then.
ANIMAL MAGIC THEME MUSIC
THEY SING ALONG
# Buh-buh buh-buh... #
There it is, it's a hippopotamus.
No, it's a rhinoceros, aren't you?
"Yeah. And I don't want you
"to make fun of my nose."
I wouldn't dream of it. "Well, I'm very glad to hear it."
But I thought you were thick-skinned? "No. I'm not.
"I'm very sensitive, really."
Oh. Are you?
"Yes, I am."
Well, look, I've brought you some evergreen oak.
"Ohhh... Evergreen oak. Oh..."
RHINO HUMS TO HIMSELF
He got the voices so right. I mean, when you look at that rhino,
you're saying, "Yeah - a rhino sounds like that."
-It would speak like that.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But you see, as a presenter... You and me wouldn't go and do that.
-And that's why I thought he was a zookeeper.
Now, stand still - and I'll give you a nice wash down.
No, I'VE got to have the hose, Christina, you mustn't...
Let me have the hose, the boss said I'VE got to have the hose!
The boss said I've got to have the hose.
Christina, let it go. You're not supposed to have it!
Do you know, somehow I think they wouldn't allow that today.
-Health and safety...
-Yeah. Cruelty to animals?
-I mean, he's soaked, bless him, look at him.
But they're loving it.
That sort of thing obviously went out of fashion at some stage,
it wasn't regarded as PC.
But then you get all these adverts today
which have got animals featured in.
But this was the innovator, this was the man that created it all.
The incomparable Johnny Morris provided the animals' voices
and was the show's main presenter.
His first television break
came after he was discovered by a BBC producer in the pub -
telling tales to an eager and, most likely, inebriated audience.
In 1953, he was given a short slot on the BBC
playing the Hot Chestnut Man,
roasting chestnuts and telling yarns to the viewers
in a West Country accent.
Johnny's best-known series, Animal Magic,
ran for an amazing 440 30-minute episodes.
When you had one television, five boys,
and everybody with a different opinion about what they wanted to see - no remote control...
So, there was a lot of hostilities over what to see on television.
When you eventually got your choice to watch TV, what did you choose?
Well, this worked out quite well because I would have watched this
and my older brother Leonard would have watched...
And he was four years older, so, therefore, basically,
if you got him onside, you were all right,
there was going to be no argument. Eight o'clock on Monday night...
HE SINGS A THEME TUNE
BOTH: "..the final frontier."
What is it, Mr Spock? Is it, er...
-Negative, Captain. Not living tissue.
A trick, then, a projection?
Not a projection, sir. A field of energy.
When I see this...
it's not just the picture, it's not just that colour.
It is the sound. The sound effects - the beeps, the pings,
-the depth, the music...
The whole drama -
the idea of the bridge and strategy and colour. Look at the colour.
Star Trek first beamed onto our UK screens
on 21 June, 1969.
Even though it was popular over here,
poor audience figures in the States
meant it was cancelled after two series.
After a concerted campaign by loyal fans,
the show was picked up again and the rest is history.
It's earned Paramount close to 5 billion
over the last half-century.
This scene is typical of the intricate storylines
the series offered, with the crew battling to escape an alien planet.
There's dramatic acting, a rather flimsy set,
and there's always impressive special effects.
Well, impressive for 1967.
This was just the most amazing thing, indeed.
When we eventually got a video recorder,
the first programme I taped was Star Trek.
Even now, you're an avid fan?
Oh, even now, that man is my hero. That man, Kirk, is my hero in life.
You know, people may laugh and say, "Oh, he's a Trekkie," or whatever.
I'm not a Trekkie, but I hugely admire the character of Kirk.
The way he could think, the way he could think out of the box,
and the way that, if you actually watched what he did -
great leader, great defender of those around him,
great strategist, tactician. There was a very human side to him.
And for me, the ultimate hero.
Mr Spock, fire those phasers.
-Captain, you're too close.
-Fire those phasers!
That's an order, Mr Spock.
I ask myself - I stop when I'm in a difficult situation,
and I think, "What would Kirk do?"
Kirk would have thought out of the box. There is a solution.
-I'm very pleased you've said that.
Because we've got a little game that we like to call What Would Kirk Do?
EAMONN LAUGHS Go on. Go on.
-Are you happy to play?
You have been invited to yet another awards ceremony,
but Man United is playing just when the awards are about to start.
What would Captain James Kirk do?
Kirk would realise he had a dilemma here.
-He should be seen at one, but he wants to do the other.
Mm. He would have the advantage of a transporter,
which he could have got very quickly between one thing and the other.
-So, he could do both.
-He probably could do both, yeah.
Unlike me - I would just lie and watch the football.
Gino D'Acampo has made a lovely home-cooked lasagne on This Morning,
but you have seen your favourite dish of bangers and mash
being cooked in the staff canteen.
-What would Captain Kirk do?
He... EAMONN LAUGHS
He would... He would save himself for his sausage and mash.
-He would. He would definitely.
So maybe a bit of, "Gino, it smells delicious,
"but we've got to take a break,
"and we're going to be right back after this." So maybe that. BRIAN LAUGHS
The Starship Enterprise is listing dangerously on the starboard bow.
The Klingons are about to attack and the ship's force-field is down.
-What would Captain Eamonn Holmes do?
He'd have to think out of the box. He would sort of undo something,
do something no-one had ever thought about before.
Can we actually link up the transporter
with the negative energy field, bank, whatever,
and Scotty'll say...
-SCOTTISH ACCENT: "In theory, Captain. It's never been done before."
"But Scott, could it? Could it?" And Spock will say,
"Hm, Captain, yes, in theory." "Do it!"
And that's what he'd do. He'd just do it. He was brave.
Brave, brave, brave, brave.
-Always took the brave decision, never accepted defeat.
Like a good presenter.
EAMONN LAUGHS I've been defeated many times!
-When in doubt, lie.
-Lie, that's it.
We found a little bit out there, didn't we?
I want to ask, who was your comedy hero?
Well, Dave Allen would have been in there,
but Mum didn't allow us to watch him too often.
There was a man called Mike Yarwood,
who was a great impersonator in the '70s and early '80s.
And if you liked Mike Yarwood, then you liked Tommy Cooper,
you liked Eric Morecambe, you liked Larry Grayson - he did everything.
So I think if I chose Mike Yarwood as a top-notch impersonator,
I'm getting all that rolled into one.
And I want to remind everyone that he was, without a doubt -
no-one had ever seen anyone with this amount of talent.
I mean, he really was a truly magnificent impersonator, wasn't he?
Good evening and welcome to another edition of Celebrity Challenge,
the clever dicks version of Mastermind.
Tonight we're going to be meeting
some of the finest brains in Britain,
but that's enough about me.
But first, let's meet the first of our two teams.
First, representing the Funny Men, we have...
Ronnie Corbett, small comedian,
part-time garden gnome...
..and lover of tall women.
Will bring own trampoline.
You see, you look at this and you think...
we take that for granted in 2015,
but technically, that would have been so hard to do,
whenever that was recorded, which is probably late '70s.
Oh, it's going to take days.
But the other nice thing about that is that all of these people
are household names, and what they do...
Things have changed today.
There's a nastiness in humour today that just isn't there.
So it must be a difficult profession. A very, very difficult profession.
You good at impressions?
-That's funny. Go on, do it again.
-Nice to see you, to see you, nice!
It's very... Eamonn, I've got to be honest!
Got a bit of trouble, yes.
That sounds like Frankie Howerd.
Oh, titter ye not!
-Oh, missus, please!
Yeah. But do you know what?
Anybody I can probably do
probably emanates from watching Mike Yarwood.
Yeah, so you're not actually doing them,
-you're actually doing Mike Yarwood's impression of them.
-That's exactly what you're doing, yeah.
That'll do for me. Well done.
We haven't even been drinking.
If only we had Mike here to complete the threesome.
Eamonn, for your next choice, I know it was something
you would never watch without a treat, so...
-this is a special moment for me.
-Oh, thought you'd never ask.
Well, I am hoping, Eamonn - I'm just going into the kitchen -
-I'm hoping this will appeal...
-Is anything cooking? No?
-Oooh! Oh, lovely.
-This will appeal to your sweet tooth.
-We've got the oysters.
Oh, look at... Oh!
Oh, yes, yes, yes. Sliders, we used to call those.
So we've got an array of... A bit of a pick and mix going on here.
-Well, this is bringing me back.
-Now, this is brilliant.
So here you have an oyster shell with marshmallow.
Ladies and gentlemen, Eamonn Holmes showing us how to...
-Have you got a name for this particular snack?
-Well, it's just...
When I watched the telly on a Sunday, and Thunderbirds would be on,
or the movie would be on, or the big match,
then the ice cream man would come down the street,
and one of the delicacies that he would tempt you with is this -
an oyster, which is wafer shell, marshmallow,
chocolate and coconut on top.
So I believe there used to be a programme that you used to watch
-when you had a treat, which was Jack Hargreaves.
-Out Of Town.
-He had this programme on a Sunday
where... Don't ask me why it was so hypnotic or so addictive,
but it was called Out Of Town,
and he would just talk about lovely, lovely things.
How to make bows and arrows,
how to make a plough,
how ferrets were caught,
how he kept rabbits, whatever, whatever.
-And it had the most lovely, relaxed music introducing it.
Well, have a little look at this while you have a munch.
Every year as it comes up to about 15 March,
the coarse fisherman of England
realise that their sport is going to close down for three months.
There are some people who argue against the coarse season
and say that it could be abolished,
but don't take any notice of them.
This is the commercial interests that are involved in fishing
would argue for it, but it's not just a question of fish spawning.
It's also a question of the fact that the otters have to breed
and the riverside birds want to nest, and the riverside flowers
want a chance to put up their young growth...
Does this feel like Sunday afternoon in the Holmes household,
with a bit of ice cream, Jack?
But what a little bore I must have been.
Listen to this.
I didn't fish!
But I would listen to him talking about fishing.
We would all sit and lick ice cream
and listen to old Jack give his tales.
-I'll tell you what, mate, this is lovely.
And it looked as if...
He would sit in the set
that looked like his garden shed, and you know,
there he is, out observing salmon fishermen.
I've packed up the float and I've gone over to a swim feeder.
A little weighted, perforated canister
that lies on the bottom and feeds the bait out.
Now, I lived in a city. I didn't know anything about the countryside.
But look, listen to him.
How's that for a fishing fly, then?
Monstrous great thing, even bigger than a salmon fly.
And yet beautifully tied and professionally tied with marabou,
and when that goes in the water and the current pulls it,
it'll go out and wobble, and look absolutely as if it's alive.
The best TV transports you. It takes you places.
Whether it's Star Trek in space,
-whether it's Jack Hargreaves' Out Of Town...
You sit in your armchair, you sit on your sofa,
and it brings you somewhere.
In the early '90s, Eamonn's big break was handed to him
by TV's illustrious sporting personality Des Lynam.
Des was offered a presenting job
on GMTV alongside Anne Davis.
He wasn't interested,
but he had a fair idea of who might be.
Des reached a stage in his career
where he didn't have to do everything that came along.
I mean, he was Mr BBC Sport.
And any jobs that he didn't want, he often recommended me for.
He recommended me for the Holiday programme, for instance,
when he stepped down from that, and I got that.
He recommended me for GMTV - they offered him that,
and they said to him,
"Des, we want you to host this new breakfast station on ITV,"
and he said, "Believe me, you don't have enough money to offer me
"to make me get up at three o'clock in the morning."
And they said, "No, no, we will," and he said, "No, believe me, you don't."
The whole GMTV - that was a career-defining moment...
In my career, and in my life, the rest is history,
because that was the big break for me
on 1 January 1993.
Good morning. A new day, a new year,
a new television station. Welcome to GMTV,
Britain's brightest start. It's Friday, 1 January 1993.
It's just after six o'clock, and I'm Eamonn Holmes.
How nervous were you?
Yeah, looking at that, it makes me nervous.
This was a new station. This wasn't a programme, this was a station.
They took the franchise from TV-am.
First two, with the latest from the world of entertainment,
we'll be talking to your favourite stars...
..and dealing with the issues which matter to you and your family.
So welcome to Good Morning Television...
Look at the hair!
-Not just Anne's, mine, too!
So that was a real fire?
That was a real fire in the background there.
And there was so much... I mean, at least there was attention -
-there was so much debate over what we should wear and all that.
Yeah. And again, if Des was ever an influence on me...
I remember for both Anne and myself there, that was really nervous,
that day. And despite rehearsals and things,
-it was all last-minute.
And the whole idea is that you look calm.
So no matter what's going on in your ear, no matter what they have got, what they haven't got,
-whatever, that's what you do.
-So when has Eamonn Holmes been stretched?
When has Eamonn Holmes not been calm?
-Oh, every day. Every day.
Live TV's what I do, right? So that's how I'm employed.
People don't really employ me to do anything else but live TV.
So every day on Sky News, every day on This Morning,
or anything else that I would do.
Ever since I've been 20 years of age,
I have done live television.
So it's live, live, live, live.
I'm only 27 years of age,
it's just the stress of the liveness that's done all that.
But you see, you watch the best, you forget the rest.
You watch the Lynams of this world and you say,
"How does he remain calm? What's the trick to doing that sort of thing?"
And what you have said today is preparation.
Yeah. And it was Gloria Hunniford who taught me that.
I remember I took over from Gloria Hunniford at Ulster television
in 1982 on the tea-time programme,
and I said, "Gloria, what's your advice?"
And she used to walk around like a barrister.
She just had notes everywhere she went.
And she just said, "Be prepared. Always have something to say.
"Always have something to go to.
"Don't expect everything is going to go right."
And she's absolutely right -
I am not paid, when I'm on television,
for things when they go right.
They pay me my money when it goes wrong,
cos that's what I'm there for,
and hopefully nobody knows the difference when it goes wrong.
Is there anything you get excited about now when you watch TV?
I love House Of Cards, but a lot of people won't see that,
and they'll say, "What channel's that on?
"It's not one of the big terrestrial ones."
I love one called The Following,
with Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy in it,
and that's about a weird cult.
So I tend to like a lot of those big American serials that go on there.
And then I like - I honestly will sit and watch
a show called Wheeler Dealers on Discovery.
-Oh, I love Wheeler Dealers.
-And it's about restoring old cars.
-Well, you have been a pleasure to talk to today.
-Thank you very much.
And I want you to know you are an inspiration.
Now, we let our guests choose a theme tune to go out with,
-so what's it going to be?
-Do you know what?
After what you said there, and just sitting talking to you -
and it's been a great privilege, just talking about TV -
it's been magic.
So I think Johnny Morris, Animal Magic.
-What about that?
-Animal Magic. My thanks to Eamonn,
and my thanks to you for watching The TV That Made Me. Bye-bye.
MUSIC: Animal Magic Theme
Broadcasting legend Eamonn Holmes joins Brian Conley to take a nostalgic look back at the classic TV that helped make him the breakfast television star he is now.
Brian's vintage sitting room makes the perfect setting for Eamonn to kick back and enjoy all the shows he used to watch. From the daddy of all sci-fi series - Star Trek - to the children's TV classic Animal Magic, watching the programmes triggers Eamonn's early memories of life at home in Belfast, giving Brian a rare insight into the young Eamonn Holmes. Eamonn also regales Brian with tales of how his mother ensured no one in the house watched Benny Hill, a programme she considered far too risqué for a good Catholic boys, and the part her love of fellow Belfast boy and presenter Eamonn Andrews played in gaining our Eamonn his own place on our screens and in our hearts.
It is not all about what is on TV - the two of them enjoy an ice cream treat - something Eamonn and his family often indulged in while watching the box. Together, they piece together how these television shows from his past helped set Eamonn on the road to small-screen fame.