Alison Hammond is an interviewer extraordinaire with a heart of gold.
Whether she’s “marrying” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on live television, or making Harrison Ford laugh like we’ve never seen before, she always manages to put a smile on our faces.
When we meet up with the Morning presenter at Penguin Random House UK in London, she greets us with open arms. “Come on in, babes!” Alison says as we sit down to chat about her new book.
She’s certainly come a long way since she first started out on Big Brother back in 2002. And with rumours that the iconic reality show could be making an epic return, we were keen to get her thoughts. “I don’t know why they stopped it!” she says.
While the nation loves watching Alison on TV, there is one person who isn’t keen – her son! She tells us how 17-year-old Aidan would much rather watch TikTok or YouTube.
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However, she tells us he has what it takes to follow in her footsteps. “He’s charming and good looking as well. He’d do well on TV, I don’t know why he doesn’t do it,” she tells us. “It’s probably because I’m doing it – he doesn’t want to do the same thing as me!”
Here, Alison, 47, fills us in on writing her book Black In Time, and how a biopic could be her next career move…
Hi, Alison! Do you enjoy doing This Morning as much as we love watching you on it?
It’s amazing. I’ve been at This Morning now for 20 years. I’m really good friends with people on camera and really good friends with people off camera. More so people off camera really, because I see the producers a lot more. It’s just an absolute treat to go to work. It doesn’t feel like work. I don’t feel like I’ve worked a day in the last 20 years because it’s so lovely. The hardest thing about my job
is probably traveling everywhere and getting about, but I absolutely adore it. I feel so lucky every day because you don’t know when your time is up and when someone else is going to come in to do it.
You were praised when you spoke candidly about obesity on air recently. How did you find the response to that?
I was blown away. We’ve had so many letters from people resonating with what I said.
I was just talking from the heart. It caught me off guard a little bit when the caller phoned in. It was one of those things where I felt obliged to speak about my thoughts. I’m like that sometimes, I have those moments where I want to speak about something. You kind of forget that you’re on the telly as well with that show. I’m so comfortable.
Does your son watch you on TV?
I’ll be honest with you, he doesn’t watch me on TV. He watches TikTok and YouTube, and he’s a gamer. I have to go
up to him and say, “Babes, watch the TV!” and then he’ll put the television on and watch it. Occasionally I’ll go home and he’ll say, “I watched you today Mum, you were really good.” I say, “How much did you watch then? Two minutes?!” These teenagers have got a very short attention span now, they need to be stimulated very quickly. This Morning goes on for two and a half hours, and that’s way too long for him.
Can you see him following in your footsteps?
Absolutely. I don’t think he sees himself following in my footsteps at all. He’s really into cars and racing. He goes go-karting most weekends. His passion is cars, he’s doing mechanics at college. So, he might be a presenter in Formula One, who knows? I personally think he’d be brilliant. He’s funny. He’s funnier than me.
Big Brother is rumoured to be returning. Do you think it would do well today?
I thought it did well, up until the end. I don’t get the politics of why they stop things. I think it will do really well because we
all like a bit of voyeurism, don’t we? Watching people and what they’re like. We like a little bit of drama. Reality TV is not over, it’s still very much at the forefront of things.
How did you feel when you were told you were going into the Big Brother house?
I was very nervous because they lock you down before. At the time when I went in, you went abroad for two weeks before you went on the show. I was locked down for several days, and it was absolutely awful. They take your phone off you. In fact, I didn’t have a phone – they took the phone out of the hotel room, they ordered the food, and you had to be watched 24/7. It was just weird.
That sounds intense!
I couldn’t wait to get into the house because I just wanted to get in there. Once I was in, I can remember that my top lip went really
dry. I couldn’t speak because my mouth was so dry. But, it was an incredible experience. I never dreamt it would lead me becoming an author, but you know what? I’m so blessed to have been given this platform.
Congratulations on your new book, Black In Time.
I’m thrilled. To finally see it, after a year’s worth of work and research, is just overwhelming. I’m quite emotional. I know how important this book is going to be for children.
Tell us more about it…
It’s a book about historical Black figures in history who have done amazing, positive things to contribute to the British empire. I brought my interviewing skills to this book. You’ll see a lot of that, and you’ll hear my voice throughout the book. If you’ve read it, you’ll literally hear me all the way through it. It’s brilliant! I came up with questions that I wanted to ask people about their lives, their jobs and the way they are basically trailblazing in their lives. We talked to Nicola Adams, Andi Peters and many more. It was really nice to see people who are here now, who also are going to make history when they’re dead and gone.
Now that you’ve had a go at writing books, is there anything else you’d like to try?
Well, I think there’s one more book in me. Maybe one more fiction, and then I’m done. One more book, and maybe the film
of my life story. How about that?! That would be nice! I don’t know who would play me though…
Black In Time by Alison Hammond and EL Norry (Puffin, £7.99) is available from 9 June online and in stores
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