BBC’s Breakfast’s Louise Minchin on why she loves triathlons – and Made in Chelsea

The presenter also reveals the trick to her early starts and what really makes her nervous

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You must get up pretty early for BBC Breakfast…

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I used to get up at 3.46am because 3.45 seemed really early, but then I spoke to a sleep expert and they said that, believe it or not, to feel better I needed to get up earlier. So I get up at 3.30am now and I do genuinely feel quite a lot better.

Do you get to have any breakfast?

If I’m feeling organised, I make my own and I’ll eat it in the office about 5am. I’ve had years and years of lovely porridge from the canteen, but I’ve reached porridge saturation point.

So no late-night telly-watching for you, then?

I have to stop watching at 9pm so I can get to bed about 9.30pm. It’s incredibly frustrating.

How do you make sure your teenagers and husband keep quiet after 9pm?

They’re pretty well trained. They know that the volume has to be low – and I wear earplugs, too. My husband [restaurateur David Minchin] loves watching football and often I’ll say, “Can you turn it down just a touch?”

What’s your house’s TV set-up?

We’ve got two sofas and it’s a race between us all for the comfiest sofa – one of them fits three of us and one fits one of us. We negotiate who has the remote control, but the teenagers [Mia, 15, and Scarlett, 12] often get there before me and I end up drawn into watching things I’d never usually choose.

At the moment we’re on a Made in Chelsea run. After 20 minutes I’m totally drawn in. It’s brilliant TV. I try not to watch, but I can’t help it. 

How do you have time for that with all those triathlons you do?

All the competing I do does impact on my telly-watching, although I love triathlons so much that I’ll watch a two-hour-long triathlon on TV. It all started in 2012 when, for Breakfast’s Christmas Challenge, the presenters had to race around a velodrome.

I’d never been on a racing bike before, but I just beat Bill Turnbull. I was like, “Oh my goodness, I really need to do this as a sport.” Then I went on to do the European and world championships in my age group in triathlon. It’s crazy, isn’t it?

What does your family think about it all?

I have dragged them round the world, and round the country, and they’ve got up at 4am to take me to cold places by lakesides. Next year the world championships are taking place on Australia’s Gold Coast and of course they’re all keen to go, but I’ve told them I’m not competing next year – I want a year off! I’m trying not to go, I want to watch more telly…

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Minchin with Breakfast co-host Dan Walker

Do you get that adrenaline rush before you go on air, too?

I’m quite used to going on air now, but if I’m doing an outside broadcast or interviewing the Prime Minister, I will feel nerves. But doing a triathlon is when I still get really nervous.

Are your teenagers still into family time?

Friday nights in our house is movie night and has been since the girls were tiny. We always try to watch a family movie. Harry Potter is massive for us. 

Do your teenagers tell you off about anything?

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My Twitter use. I was definitely addicted. My children were quick to spot it. They were like, “Mummy, no more Twitter!’’