■ The TV presenter, 43, on hitting George Clooney, the cha-cha-cha and 30 years of This Morning
You’re presenting This Morning’s 30th anniversary show this evening. What will you be up to?
It’s celebrating 30 years of This Morning, which is unbelievable. I’ve been there for 16 years, so just over half the time. It’s lovely to be part of it. The past presenters will be on the show and they’ll be talking about funny stories and great times.
How did you get your job on This Morning?
I did Big Brother and a producer was watching my eviction tape and thought I’d be fantastic on This Morning. The rest is history. I went on for three months to do a diet camp item back in 2002. From that, they asked me to do an interview on the red carpet with George Clooney. I hit him in the face with a microphone and that was that — they didn’t want to get rid of me.
Was that a tactic?
No, but it would have been a good one. The next time I saw him he said, ‘Did you hit me in the face with a microphone?’
Did anyone tell you how to do celebrity red carpet interviews when you started?
No, I’m just good at interviewing people — I just ask the questions I want to ask. In the beginning the producers helped me with questions but then I tailor-made my own style. It’s been 16 years now, so I’m used to going in and knowing how long it’s going to take, and I do my research. I’m just myself.
Who have been your favourites?
Will Smith because he always gives 110 per cent. He’s always so much fun. Hugh Jackman is another favourite. I’ve met him four times now and he’s lovely. For this anniversary he’s done a video message to me saying he thought he was the only person I flirted with and he’s hurt to find out otherwise.
Your Harrison Ford chat was an online hit…
Yes, that went viral because he’s difficult to interview and doesn’t enjoy them — but obviously he hadn’t had the Hammond treatment. When it started I thought, ‘This isn’t how it normally goes’, because he was giving one-word answers, so I had a little drink from a miniature bottle of whisky and it cracked him up. Ryan Gosling being there helped.
Who has left you star-struck?
Denzel Washington — I get nervous with him. The last time I met him he kept saying that I look like his sister. He’s so inspirational with the work he does, giving back to youngsters — he gives a lot of money to charity. He’s wonderful.
How was Beyoncé?
I played Connect 4 with her. I was expecting her to look like Beyoncé but she looked quite ordinary when I met her. She looked like one of my mates but I quite liked that.
Has anyone been more annoyed than amused by you?
Probably all of them but I bring them round by the end of it. I’m not a typical interviewer so I’m not there to catch them out or get any gossip — I’m just there to make them smile because its quite boring what they have to do isn’t it? Doing hours of interviews.
What is your BBC game show, The Time It Takes, about?
It’s with Joe Lycett and I’m like the side-kick. If you’re into quizzes, you’ll love it. It’s on Saturday night before Strictly.
Did you keep in touch with Gillian McKeith after I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!?
No, not at all. The only one I kept in touch with was Stacey Solomon. I went halfway through that series so I didn’t get to bond with anyone. It’s not the same if you go in halfway through. But from Big Brother I’m in touch with Kate Lawler. With Strictly I still talk to Caroline Flack, Pixie Lott, Simon Webbe… Aljaž Škorjanec is always texting me.
Have you maintained your dancing skills?
Those dancing skills are in my blood. I cha-cha-cha everywhere I go.
Are there any celebrity shows left you’d want to do?
I’d want to do my own morning show, Wake Up With Alison, in the USA.
You started as an actress — would you have wanted to do more of that?
I did some acting last year in Dumping Ground. I did two episodes playing an Ofsted inspector so I still do some acting. I don’t say I’m a TV presenter or an actor — I’m just living life and if I want to do something I’ll do it. I’d love my own clothing range and if I put my mind to it I’ll do it. Anything I want to do I will do.
What lessons has your career in showbiz taught you?
Don’t define yourself as any one thing and you can do whatever you want in life and achieve anything you put your heart and mind into.
This Morning — 30 Unforgettable Years is on ITV tonight at 7.30pm