Phillip Schofield has always been my primary crush. Sure, I danced in front of the telly when Shakin’ Stevens was on Top of the Pops, but that was because my rudimentary grasp of how telly works made this five-year-old think she could be seen by him. So that was less love, more showing off.
But when Phillip Schofield (I remembered the spelling difference between him and my dad Philip by the following saying, “Two ls for Schofield, one for my dad”) entered the Broom Cupboard on Children’s BBC, he introduced me to so many wonders of children’s telly. And he was the only one to do so, as we were discouraged from watching ITV. No idea why. It knocked me out of so many conversations about Tiswas.
He was lovely and enthusiastic and smiled a lot and immediately went on my wall. Often the bits between the shows surpassed the programmes themselves. Like Ant and Dec’s links on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
So my pocket money was spent on Schofield memorabilia. Athena – not the Greek god, but the shop specialising in “arty” posters of men in their pants and forgetful women playing tennis – got a large percent-age of my money.
WH Smith’s got the rest, their magazine pages chock-a-block with clippings and pictures.
I even wrote to the man himself a few times. I took a photo of my bedroom, covered in pictures of him, and sent it to him. He signed it “a true fan” and sent it back. Over the years, I received a few replies from him, all in shiny BBC envelopes. They’d drop on the mat and I’d get so giddy that my mam would make me run up and down the hallway to get some of the adrenaline out of my system. I’d stop, out of breath, and open the envelope.
He said my name aloud on the radio once when I’d sent him a birthday card, too. So you’d think, doing bits of telly like I do, that I’d have met him before now. Because I’ve never made any secret of my crush on him – he was aware of it and we followed each other on Twitter. He waved at me once across Brian Cox’s lecture theatre and the 12-year-old inside me did a surprisingly adept backflip. I’ve always been more athletic in my heart than in real life.
Excitingly, we secured him for the Christmas special of the third series of my TV show (which will air this December), but due to his filming commitments, we only met via a screen. Until yesterday.
I met my hero yesterday. I appeared on This Morning and was more nervous beforehand than I was for any of the recordings of my show. Even the one where I had to dance with the man off Glee. My childhood idol wasn’t horrified when I showed him the photo of my bedroom (when I was ten, not now – that would be weird). He was lovely and enthusiastic and smiled at me. And I beamed.
I daren’t watch the show back as I have no idea if I said anything at all. It’s very surreal to meet someone you used to idolise. And a joy when they prove to have deserved it. People say, don’t meet your heroes. I’d agree, but add, “unless it’s Phillip Schofield”.
Picture rights: Sarah Millican
Cardinal Burns is being repeated at the moment on Channel 4 on Mondays ahead of a new series in January. It’s the best new sketch show I’ve seen in years.
Sarah’s stand-up DVD, Thoroughly Modern Millican Live, is available at radiotimes.com/dvdshop