Eamonn Holmes trikes me as one of those phenomena where, after the fact, we’ll wonder how we allowed it to continue for so long. A televisual throwback, Holmes’ woolly and frequently bizarre television appearances work perfectly well on a daytime sofa interviewing celebrities. But as a political journalist?
I would suggest that Holmes’ bumbling, idiotic interview with Jeremy Corbyn has less to do with media bias as simple ineptitude. And in these moments, where he’s played so hopelessly out of position he’s everything that Alan Partridge represents about media personalities: banal, awkward, insensitive and seemingly operating in a world of his own.
It’s no surprise that Steve Coogan and the other Partridge writers make such frequent references to him – the JPEG of a mutilated squirrel, the rock-climbing partnership and the voice ‘clogged with throat fat’ – he’s a gift in the fictional world of a ridiculous TV presenter.
The only problem is, Eamonn Holmes is real.
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“A diet of Tracker Bars means I’m able to lead the kind of physically active life that’s simply out of reach for many men my age such as Eamonn Holmes.”
“In the male TV presenter category, the field is more crowded but I think it’s fair to say I’m there or thereabouts. For whatever reason, Eamonn Holmes and myself have broken away from the peloton of over-50s male broadcasters. Alastair Stewart, John Stapleton and Nick Owen huff and puff without gaining ground, while Schofield and Madeley have had to stop by a safety car to be sick (still metaphor). Eamonn and I seem to have gone from strength to strength. Watching him in a bar, working the room, helping himself to crisps and nuts, it’s easy to see why he insists the make-up girls at Sky call him Mr Brilliant.
I like to think I share that standing. “How can you? You’re not even on the telly,” he jokes, before laughing while making a “dzaaah” sound with his mouth which would make some people want to thump him in his stupid throat, but which I find genuinely endearing.”
“People assume I’m constantly surrounded by celebrity friends, but it’s not like that. I used to Skype chat with Eamonn Holmes every Sunday morning but he started to do it from the bath and I didn’t like that. It wasn’t his flesh – the bubble bath covered that – it was the fact he’d be eating sliders while he chatted to me (they’re basically small burgers). With the suds on his face, he was like Santa playing Pac-Man.”