Monday 20 November 2017

Wogan's death hit me the hardest in 2016: Richard Arnold

Arnold is celebrating 20 years as a breakfast TV entertainment news presenter
Arnold is celebrating 20 years as a breakfast TV entertainment news presenter

TV presenter Richard Arnold said Sir Terry Wogan's death hit him the "hardest" out of all the celebrity deaths in 2016 as he was the inspiration for his career in broadcasting.

Good Morning Britain's Arnold is this week celebrating 20 years as an entertainment presenter on ITV's breakfast TV programmes, and credits "the voice of radio" Sir Terry for getting him into the industry.

He told the Press Association: "The (death) that really hit home was Sir Terry Wogan. I've been a long-time admirer and I'd met him briefly only once.

"He was the reason I actually got into broadcasting and he was my idol. I remember breaking the news he had died to my mum, and she burst into tears. She said, 'but he was the voice of radio', which I thought summed it up beautifully.

"Even to this day I remember listening to Wogan as a child when he announced that Elvis Presley had died back in 1977... It was Wogan that delivered the news."

Arnold, 47, first appeared on ITV's GMTV in January 1997 as a TV critic before landing a more permanent role as an entertainment reporter from 2000, appearing daily to relay the showbiz news.

He has appeared on the different iterations of the channel's breakfast programming, including Daybreak and now Good Morning Britain, on which he appears alongside hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.

Despite having been an entertainment editor for two decades - and having made appearances on other TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 - it was the death of singer David Bowie in January last year that gave Arnold the most memorable day of his career.

He said he "became a Bowie expert in three minutes" due to the nature of live broadcasting and having to relay the story to millions of viewers.

He said: "The one moment of 2016 that set the tone for the year, about a week in - I'd just done a comedy tease into the break about the internet craze planking - and during that break the news broke about David Bowie dying, it was a shock to us all.

"Piers and Susanna are huge fans, all of us are obviously aware of his legacy, and so we broke that story and I became a Bowie expert in three minutes because I had to.

"And in a few hours I was on a plane to New York to interview fans of his outside his apartment."

He said: "It was an extraordinary moment because it happened as we were on air, and we ran with it."

Arnold said he still has a "passion for it every day" and would love to be doing the same job for another 20 years.

He said: "I love what I do and I love being at the front of the engine. I guess as long as the hair and the face holds up I might be able to get away with it.

"I remember going to Hong Kong a few years ago and seeing the future of television - it was beyond high definition. I thought, blimey, you'll be able to see every dilated pore on my nose soon and there's only so much facials can do to help.

"As long as people will have me I will keep treading water and I'll always be part of it. I'll be clinging on like a cat on a curtain."

Press Association

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