Well done to my friend Phillip Schofield and This Morning

PUBLISHED: 20:45 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:02 02 October 2018

Helen McDermott at Phillip Schofield's wedding

Helen McDermott at Phillip Schofield's wedding


As This Morning celebrates its 30th birthday, Helen McDermott recalls an old friend - Phillip Schofield - and the day she met Anthea Turner

Time’s a funny thing. Years fly thick and fast, so fast that by the time you notice any of them they’ve gone and become shaky memories. Did that really happen; where and when? It might be a news story that happened forty years ago, yet it pops up and seems like only yesterday. Meeting school-friends after an interval of 30 years and expecting them to look about seven years old, which is what they were when you first met. Now they look middle-aged, and so do you.

The thirtieth anniversary of ITV’s This Morning has tweaked memories. When it started I was a youthful presenter on Anglia, wishing I might be spotted by This Morning’s producers and offered a chance to break into network television. It never happened, but the big break did come to a young man who started in broadcasting at the same time as me. Phillip Schofield.

We were at hospital radio in Plymouth, learning our trade with a captive audience of patients. Most of them recovered. Phillip was a skinny and spotty youth, charming and friendly, determined to make broadcasting his career. Plymouth seemed to be teeming with broadcasters then – Angela Rippon, Hugh Scully, Sue Lawley, Fern Britton.

Phil went off to Australia, honed up his microphone and camera techniques, eventually returning to join the BBC. He teamed up with Gordon the Gopher while I ended up with BC.

We kept in touch over the years. I was amazed to learn that not only was he celebrating his This Morning stint but also his Silver Wedding.

Was it really twenty-five years since I put on the glad rags to go and see him and Steph get married? I have a hazy memory of it being a jolly occasion, but can’t remember where it was. Anthea Turner was there, big time then, bigger than Phil or any other guest. Times have changed.

Some smart magazine was there to cover the event. Of course, they were looking for A-list celebrities to shoot; my only hope of being recorded present was to be in the group shot. We looked up and waved and beamed at the camera high on the balcony.

Hoping for a little bit of glory I rushed to buy that magazine, turned the pages, and there was the shot, my nibble at celebrity. Oh, dear. The man just in front of me was much taller, no surprise there, most people are. He waved as we all did, and as the camera clicked his hand covered my face.

Ah, well. When Phil and Steph’s Golden Wedding comes round, if I’m invited, I shall make sure I stand in front.

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