The so-called King and Queen of British TV are about to try something different. Richard Madeley opens up about his marriage, on-screen chemistry and new beginnings.
What are you looking forward to most about moving to UKTV?
“What it actually boils down to is a new challenge. Launching daytime in the UK was a huge challenge, but we did it. Now we’re moving to digital and the timing seemed just right. It’s good to be with a channel that’s got the balls and the commitment to make things happen.”
What’s most exciting about launching a prime time show?
“A lot of people who used to watch us when they were students or working on split shifts when we did This Morning couldn’t watch us on Channel 4 because of the time slot. That’s very exciting, to re-connect with an audience that hasn’t been able to see us for a while.”
How will the programme differ from what you’ve done before?
“It’ll feel different going out at eight o’clock, rather than five o’clock. It will be a bit more grown up. There’s all sorts of things we can do at that time. We can conduct interviews differently. We’re still before the watershed – I’m not saying we’re going to get down and dirty – but there will definitely be a feel that we can be more relaxed and express ourselves more, and be a bit more adult.”
What is it about your and Judy’s chemistry that keeps people watching?
“For a start, I don’t think that there are very many married couples on TV that do what we do. When I joined Granada Television Judy was one of the presenters on the nightly news show there. We hit it off as friends straight away, and then we fell in love and got married. That kind of natural chemistry, which we had from the word go, goes very deep and is something we don’t have to work at.
“When people see us bickering or cracking jokes or sharing an anecdote about something that happened over the weekend people know we’re not putting it on. After all these years, we would have been found out.”
And how do your people react to your on-screen relationship?
“There seems to be a two-way relationship with our viewers and when I meet them when I’m out and about in the town, it’s like meeting old friends. There’s like an unspoken bond.”
Are you surprised that The Book Club has become such a success?
“We were astonished. It was sort of an experiment but after the very first one we were getting frantic phone calls from publishers because the book we had just featured had sold out. I think for people who are a little bit nervous about going into a bookshop or library can walk straight to the Richard and Judy pile, pick the book and feel confident.”
*Richard and Judy’s New Position screens on Watch at 8pm each weekday*