Schofe & Christine: ‘Every penny goes to charity’

Christine Bleakley and Phillip Schofield talk to TV Times magazine about new festive fundraiser Text Santa (ITV1, Sunday, Dec 11)…

Why did you want to get involved with Text Santa?

Phillip: “I think it’s a nice, new idea to raise money for a list of brilliant charities. I love new technology of course, so it’s a great that you can simply text and donate money. Also, pretty much everyone in ITV is getting involved in it.”

Christine: “I know from doing my water skiing challenge [Christine water-skied across the English Channel last year for Sport Relief] that texting is how we raised our money, because it is so easy for people to contribute. And I think the fact that you can choose the amount as well and that in itself is wonderful. It makes it very, very simple and people can get involved just from sitting on their sofa. And it’s a nice thing to get the whole family to watch.”

Phillip: “Also, the full price of the text goes to the charity. We’re all doing it for free, and everyone is coming out and having what should be a really brilliant family night of Christmas fun, surprises and stars. It should be great!”

There’s a long list of charities that Text Santa will be helping this Christmas. Are there any that you’re especially excited about raising money and awareness for?

Phillip: “I’m going filming soon with Meals on Wheels. I suspect they don’t know that I’m coming, but they ought to be worried that I will be making and delivering their meals. God help them! [laughs] But that’s just one I’m getting involved with. There are lots of brilliant charities.”

Christine: “The charities are right across the country as well. I know the Helping Hand charity back home in Belfast is involved, so I was quite pleased to see the smaller charities make the grade as well as the big names.”

Phillip, do you still deep-fry your Christmas turkey?

Phillip: “We used to, but we haven’t done it for a while. My parents bought the kit and got me into it years and years ago. You cook it outside – so immediately when the food is taken outside it becomes the man’s territory, like a barbecue! But you have a huge pot full of boiling oil that you heat up to some ludicrous molten temperature and then you lower the turkey into it, and it cooks in about 20 minutes. It’s hideously dangerous – it’s not to be recommended. But the oil seals it completely, so when you take it out it’s the perfect Christmas turkey!”

Christine: “This has really opened my eyes to Christmas routines…”

Do you do the Christmas cooking every year?

Phillip: “Oh good Lord no! I did the turkey when it was outside, but we now do Phil Vickery’s method of cooking a turkey, which is absolutely foolproof. And we all have a hand in it – my wife’s mum comes round with a whole load of vegetables she’s peeled and prepared, my mum’s in the kitchen lending a hand and I’ve got the important job of opening the bottles!”

Christine: “I’m going to have to admit to my poor mum doing everything. She’s just a brilliant cook, and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if it wasn’t for my mum’s dinner. It’s the one thing – more than anything else at Christmas – that I most look forward to. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I couldn’t do it the way she does it. There’s no point in ever attempting it!

And if you could text Santa one thing, what would it be?

Phillip: “I would ask him for proper snow that landed on everybody’s gardens and roofs, but that didn’t get on the roads.”

Christine: “Maybe I should text him to ask him to teach me how to Tweet?”

Phillip: “You don’t need Santa – I can teach you how to do that!”