He is – in his own words – “the UK’s longest serving breakfast TV presenter”, but now Eamonn Holmes is officially the nation’s favourite UK Breakfast TV presenter of all time.
The Belfast-born star topped a poll of more than 33,000 RadioTimes.com readers, who were asked to vote for their top early morning host from a shortlist of more than 50 contenders.
Holmes – who’s illustrious career has included fronting GMTV from 1993 to 2005 and Sky’s Sunrise from 2005 to 2016 – came out on top with a whopping 35% of the vote and told RadioTimes.com that the win was very humbling indeed.
“Well, I’m the longest serving Breakfast TV presenter of all time so I’d like to think that, in some way, you’re not only the longest or just hanging in there but it also equates to being quite good at it,” he said. “If people feel fondly for you, for what you’ve done, or what you’re known as, my goodness me, it begins to make all those early starts, all that lack of sleep, almost worthwhile.”
Holmes, who currently presents a number of programmes across the schedules – including ITV’s This Morning alongside his multi-talented wife Ruth Langsford – revealed that he was touched by the messages he’d received from fans while voting was underway.
“Thank you for remembering that I was there in good days and bad days when the weather was good, when the weather was bad, when the news was good, when the news was bad, and thanks for your memories of me,” he said.
And he also had a message for The Big Breakfast’s Johnny Vaughan, who finished in second place. “I would like to say to Johnny, RESPECT! I’ve no idea what he ever did on breakfast telly because I never saw him because I was always on the other side, but respect to him anyway.”
Vaughan was also a hugely popular candidate, amassing 22% of the vote thanks to his incredibly successful stint on Channel 4’s morning show in the 1990s.
The battle for third place was an intense one, but Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan powered through to take it with 6.3% of the vote. Holmes said he was very impressed with Morgan, who he filled in for over the summer and believes will one day take up his breakfast TV mantle.
“I think [Piers] is the anointed one,” Holmes told RadioTimes.com. “I think as a genre breakfast is dying because people’s tastes are changing and their habits are changing, but I think what Piers has done is that he has said ‘we may be dying but we’re going to go out kicking and screaming on this one’ and I think that’s interesting.”
Morgan’s weekday morning rival, BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker, also put in a stellar performance and finished fourth on 6.2%. Walker’s predecessor, beloved BBC broadcaster Bill Turnbull, came fifth with 5.3%.
Turnbull’s former sofa pal turned Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid was the highest ranked female presenter in sixth place, followed closely by BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin and Steph McGovern in seventh and eighth, respectively. The Big Breakfast’s Chris Evans – who’s now to be found hosting breakfast radio – took the ninth slot and TV-am, GMTV and Daybreak favourite Lorraine Kelly rounded out the top ten.
While male presenters seemed to dominate the top five spots, female hosts proved incredibly popular among voters with Naga Munchetty, Sian Williams, Penny Smith, Kate Garraway, Sarah-Jane Mee, Anne Diamond, and Sophie Raworth all taking slots in the top 20. Ben Shephard and Charlie Stayt were in good company among them.
The late Jill Dando was also fondly remembered by viewers for her work on the BBC’s breakfast programmes in the early 1990s.
The Top 20 UK Breakfast TV Presenters – as voted for by RadioTimes.com readers
Find out more about the Top 20 UK Breakfast TV Presenters and read an exclusive interview with winner Eamonn Holmes in the latest edition of Radio Times magazine, on sale from Tuesday in newsagents and via iTunes and Google Play