Pride of Britain host Carol Vorderman tells us why she still loves hosting TV’s most popular awards show and how she stays in control when everyone around her is in tears!
You’ve been hosting and judging the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards since it started in 1999. Is it always hard to choose the winners?
“We could easily choose at least 50, but we only have 15 or 16 awards to give out so it is incredibly hard. There are 12 of us on the judging panel and we often have quite heated debates. But this year, most of the awards were pretty unanimous. With all of the winners, it’s their spirit that is extraordinary.”
The show attracts a huge amount of celebrities. Do you know who’ll be involved this year?
“A lot of stars move their diaries around to attend the show which is great. I know that HRH Prince of Wales and Prime Minister David Cameron will pay a special tribute to our Olympic and Paralympic heroes. We’ll also have Sir Elton John, Sir Michael Caine, Stephen Fry, Simon Cowell, David Beckham, The X Factor judges and stars from Strictly Come Dancing. There are too many stars to mention!”
How do you avoid getting emotional during the show?
“My job is to look after winners, particularly as most of them have never been on stage before. They’re all very modest people so when they come on stage, they look out to this sea of household names which is daunting for anyone. So I’ll often hold their hand as they tend to be quite nervous and make sure that the celebration is all about them. But the following day I’m completely wiped out. When I watch the show back, that’s when I start crying!”
Can you tell us about some of the winners this year?
“As there’s an Olympic and Paralympic theme this year, the Teacher of the Year Award is going to Alan Watkinson, who was gold medallist Mo Farrah’s PE teacher. Obviously he’s taught many kids over the years, but he not only nurtured Mo’s talent, he really took him under his wing.
“This year’s Teenager of Courage award will go to Alice Pyne who was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia at the age of 12. Despite that, she’s done a huge amount for charity and has been campaigning for bone marrow donors. Her moto is, ‘You only have one life, you’ve got to live it.’ She’s an extraordinary girl.”
Do you get a chance to meet any of the winners before the ceremony?
“Yes, we have a dinner for all the winners the night before the ceremony which I think is really important. At the end of the meal, I briefly go through everybody’s story. Once they’ve heard what the others have been through, they all end up crying and saying, ‘Well, I shouldn’t have won an award!’”
Will there be any surprises this year?
“We will have some very special Olympians and Paralympians on the show, but I can’t say what the surprise is going to be yet. All I’ll say is that it will involve some very big celebrities.”
The Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards screens on Tuesday at 8pm on ITV1