Alison Hammond will order ‘crazy’ Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield not to get too drunk at the NTAs as she acts as minder to the This Morning duo
Holly and Phil famously turned up for work worse for wear, after an all-night celebration following their 2016 NTA win for Best Live Magazine Show.
And Alison, who admits she can’t match them in the drinking stakes, reveals she’s always the sensible one. “I’m the one who says: ‘Listen everyone, come on, don’t have another drink, we need to go. Let’s get into our cars now,’” she says.
“I literally watch Holly and Phil’s backs. Holly dropped her phone last time, so I was trying to find it for her. I’m the one who looks after everyone.
“But I like it when everyone drinks, because it gets them on to my level! Holly and Phil carry on all night – they’re crazy, they’d drink me under the sofa! I enjoy myself, but then I go back to my hotel.”
This Morning is hoping to pick up the prestigious Daytime Programme award, having triumphed 12 times previously, but if they do win again Alison won’t be hitting the champagne.
With her larger-than-life personality she might be expected to be the biggest party animal of them all, but she’s actually virtually teetotal.
“I occasionally have a Baileys, but I’ll be at the National Television Awards with a glass of water. I’m the boring one!” she laughs.
Away from This Morning, Alison has attempted to lose weight on screen in Sugar Free Farm and Celebrity Fit Club, but she says the days of trying to change her shape are now behind her.
“I’m 43 now and I think I’ve got to the point where I’ve just accepted this is it,” she says firmly.
“I love myself and I accept myself, but I’ll be the best version of myself.”
As part of that ambition Alison has recently discovered a new and perhaps unlikely passion – exercise.
“I enjoy my day better,” she explains. “If I don’t do my half hour exercise every day I feel lethargic, but if I’ve gone to the gym I’m firing on all cylinders.
“I try to inspire people who wouldn’t normally get up off the sofa. I don’t look like your average gym bunny, but guess what, I am. I love it.
“I feel better and I feel happier. I don’t really care how much I weigh, because at the end of the day this big ball of energy is wonderful as it is.
“Someone messaged me recently and said that I inspire normal people to get out and do something for themselves, no matter how they are feeling.
"If I’ve inspired somebody, then how incredible is that. I’ve been given this platform, which is just crazy, so best to do something good with it.”
The 43-year-old joined This Morning in 2003 as a roving reporter after catching the eye of the show’s bosses after she appeared in the third series of Big Brother in 2002.
It was only meant to be a short-term contract, but her larger-than-life personality proved such a hit with viewers, that 16 years later she is still there – with increasing responsibilities.
As well as interviewing a host of Hollywood stars, from Ryan Gosling and Tom Cruise to Hugh Jackman, she’s often sent out on hilarious assignments and next month (February) she stars in her own two-part This Morning series, A Brummie in Bordeaux, which sees her travelling around France with chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
“He was lovely,” Alison beams. “It’s us enjoying the finer things of Bordeaux and him showing me how to make certain dishes. We go around on a bike, to spas and markets and eat lots of food and enjoy ourselves – it’s like your dream holiday!”
While millions of This Morning viewers tune in every day to hear Alison’s infectious giggles, there is however one person who can’t stand the sound of her infamous raucous laugh – and that’s Alison herself.
Whether she’s wise-cracking with celebrity A-Listers or joking around with Holly and Phil, her laugh-a-minute presenting style has won her an army of fans.
But Alison herself would give anything to change it. “I hate my laugh and when I watch myself back and I see it, I think: ‘Why are you so loud?’
“It really goes through me. I’m like: ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to stop doing that!’ I really don’t like it at all. I’ve tried to change it, but I can’t. I’ve tried a quieter, more ladylike laugh, but it doesn’t work. In fact it just seems to gets dirtier every day!”
Alison, who lives in Birmingham, is a single mum to 13-year-old Aiden. She says: “Everyone needs to meet someone eventually, but at this time in my life I’m just excited about moving to a new house.
“My ideal man would be someone kind, with no drama in his life and who would love my son. I’m not bothered whether they are good-looking, but they must be able to make me laugh and they must find me funny too – I’d be really upset if they were watching me on TV and they didn’t find me funny!”
Alison grew up in Birmingham with her Guyanese mother Maria and her Nevisian father Cliff. Her mum did television extra work, while her dad worked as a bodyguard for legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.
Alison followed in her mum’s footsteps, attending a local drama workshop and in 1987 she made her TV debut in an episode of Y.E.S. After school she worked for Theatre in Education, then as a holiday rep and she was working in her local cinema when she was accepted on to Big Brother.
“I was loud and obnoxious as a child,” she recalls with a laugh. “My school report would say things like: ‘Alison could be a bit quieter,’ or ‘Alison doesn’t find maths easy, however she does find chatting easy.’
"But I got on with most of the teachers, I did actually make them giggle as well. And I’ve ended up making a living out of chatting, which is crazy, but lovely.
“They always say you need to do a job that you love and I love chatting and laughing and having fun with people. Occasionally I go: ‘Wow! This is my life – I go off, have fun, enjoy myself and make people laugh and that’s my job.’”
Over the years Alison has appeared in a host of other shows, from Strictly Come Dancing to I’m a Celebrity…, but is there anything she wouldn’t do?
“Porn!” she laughs. “I’m not sure I would do Dancing on Ice either, as I broke my ankle on ice 12 years ago, so there’s a natural nervousness. But I’d never say never to anything. If it’s the right time, I’ll go for it.”
Catch Alison on This Morning, weekdays and Sunday, 10.30am on ITV. To vote for This Morning in the National Television Awards, vote via nationaltvawards.com
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