■ The TV presenting legend, 56, talks about Theresa May, on-air bloopers and his new app for deaf children
You’re promoting an app to help deaf children learn to read. How did you get involved in that?
It’s no secret I’m a gadget nut and new advances in tech always excite me. This is a new app that helps deaf children learn to read with their parents. There are 32 million deaf children in the world and I didn’t realise how hard it was for them to learn how to read. This app uses AI to translate words into sign language — you can use it with a smartphone and a physical book.
What other gadgets excite you at the moment?
Smart tech in the house is massive at the moment. We recently covered gadgets on How To Spend It. We went to a smart house that had tech playing music, opening the curtains and making me a cup of coffee. It’s the thing of the future but, having said that, if your wi-fi goes down, nothing works. And it’s nice to be able to make a cup of tea without connecting to the internet. There will come a time when everything will be done for you and the smart tech will have to treat your heart attack as you’re not getting any exercise.
How smart is your home?
We’ve got some smart stuff but we’re in the middle of nowhere so our wi-fi comes via satellite. For someone who loves tech, our house isn’t massively tech-friendly. That’s the price you pay for living in the countryside.
How did you find doing This Morning while Holly was in Australia for I’m A Celebrity…?
Rochelle Humes is absolutely lovely and I had a great time with her. She was my choice to come and sit on the sofa — we’re all part of the same friend group and it fitted really well. Holly has triumphed in Australia, she’s been amazing, and Rochelle’s done the same on the sofa here.
You and Holly often laugh your heads off. Are you easily amused?
No, but we do have the same sense of humour. The bulk of This Morning is fairly serious stuff. It’s light and shade. But what helps with us is that we have the same sort of sense of humour and it works at the same speed so I can tell what’s going to make her laugh and she knows the same about me.
What are those things?
It’s usually rude. You can’t plan it. It happens spontaneously.
Will anything eclipse ‘dunking your meat’ with Fern Britton?
That was definitely a moment and a half. It’s just one of those things where something leaves your mouth and you think, ‘Oh God, what have I just said?!’ There are hundreds of them. There’s a massive amount of them on YouTube. Susan Sarandon came in and said, ‘You guys make me laugh,’ because she’d been watching the YouTube clips. It travels far and wide. There are people who say they’ve had a crap day then seen the clips and it’s made them smile — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Were you happy with how your chat with Theresa May went?
Yes, we had Jeremy Corbyn on the previous week so hopefully the tone was the same — we interviewed them the same way. It’s challenging because we all want a bit of clarity about what Brexit means. Regardless of what you think of all of the options available, she’s certainly worked very hard and there’s respect for the hours she’s put in.
Why did you want to become a TV presenter in the first place?
It was radio I was interested in to begin with. I grew up in Newquay and every year the Radio 1 Roadshow would come to Fistral beach. I’d be the first person there as soon as the railings were put up. I’d watch them set it all up, watch the kit being plugged in and the crowds arriving, and then for two hours that part of the beach was broadcasting to the entire country. Part of wanting to do it came from the excitement of watching that and also watching Nationwide being transmitted live from our beach.
You wanted to do it since you were ten?
Yes, and there’s no record of this broadcasting tradition in the family. I’m lucky because when I was building TV studios out of Lego and then started wheeling around a camera on our tea trolley my parents encouraged me. And I had a brilliant careers teacher at school — when I said this was what I wanted to do he took it as seriously as the kids who said they wanted to be vets or farmers. He knew someone at the BBC in Plymouth and they let me go in and watch the news go out. I was never up against anyone who told me it was a ridiculous idea.
What lessons has your career in showbiz taught you so far?
Not to take what I do lightly. I appreciate how lucky I am. And there are always things to learn and do better. It’s taught me a bit of humility.
The Huawei StorySign app is available now