Chris Hollins tells us about leaving BBC Breakfast – and what it’s like working with Anne Robinson on Watchdog.
This is your third series co-hosting Watchdog – are you enjoying consumer affairs?
“It’s actually been really rewarding, in fact it’s a dream job. As a journalist, you can get your teeth into all sorts of stories. You just have to keep the big boys on their toes and make sure that the consumers out there who watch the BBC don’t get taken for a ride.”
Does it fit in well with your sports presenting on BBC Breakfast?
“Yes, although that won’t be an issue soon as I’m leaving! But I usually finish Breakfast about 10am then I go bombing around the UK following up on other stories for Watchdog.”
When will you leave Breakfast?
“Well, the Breakfast team are all moving up to Salford in March or April next year, but I’m not going with them. So I’ll be on the show until they find a replacement.”
How will that affect you and the 2012 London Olympics?
“Good question! I’ll be leaving BBC Breakfast just before the Olympic Games, which is a real shame. Hopefully, I might be able to get a job within the BBC doing something else.”
As a former sportsman you must be excited about the games?
“Of course, it will be fantastic, not just for UK sport, but it really will be an enormous occasion for the whole country.”
When you joined Watchdog did you find Anne Robinson a bit scary?
“Yes, I will openly admit that I thought, ‘What am I letting myself in for?’ But she was absolutely fantastic with me. The first item we ever did together I had to come on and do a piece about food being labelled as British, when it clearly isn’t. Then I had to create a dish live on the show for her. I was really under pressure, but we still had a good giggle!”
Do you admire Anne?
“Journalistically, Anne is absolutely top drawer. Plus she has a big sense of fun. When you watch the programme that really comes across and as it’s a live programme, I think it works really well.”
She’s quite flirty, isn’t she?
“She does like a bit of a flirt and it’s good fun. I don’t mind at all as it keeps us on our toes!”
Is there a particular TV job you’d love?
“I did a daytime show called Show Me The Monet – a kind of X Factor for the arts! I don’t know if it will get another series but I really enjoyed that. I love doing programmes like The Weather Show that are live and fun, where you can also learn something. But I do desperately need another job!”
Do you still play a lot of sport?
“Not too much recently, but I like to get out and about and stay fit. Sadly, I don’t get time to do too much dancing. You need to train non-stop when you’re as bad as me. A wet Tuesday night in a town hall is not going to do it for me. And Orla’s always busy with her husband. You know how it is!”
*Watchdog screens on BBC1 on Thursdays