Lorraine Kelly: "I remember"

Scottish TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, 57, is best known for stints on the sofas of GMTV and ITV Breakfast. Now she’s turned her attention to getting Britain fit 

We lived in The Gorbals in Glasgow

My mum used to put woolly hats on me because I was cold—but I’d be itching to take them off and throw them away.

She must have knitted them, or my gran did, but to this day, I don’t like polo necks.

Mum and dad got married young and lived in a “single-end”—what you’d describe nowadays as a bijou studio flat. It was just one room with a recess for the bed, a sink and an outside toilet, so it was really basic. We stayed there till I was about two or three and then we moved to another part of Glasgow to a room and kitchen with an inside loo.

My parents didn’t have any money, as they were kids—only 18 years old. They were grafters who worked really hard and they instilled a strong work ethic in me. My mum, Anne, was a shop assistant and my dad, John, was a TV mechanic in the very early days. It was a skilled job and he worked all the hours God sent to make sure my brother and I had all that we wanted.

It was great that my parents were so young because we would listen to really good music such as The Stones,  The Beatles and Bob Dylan, when most of my friends’ parents were listening to really old-fashioned music. My mum was very trendy and she always wore stylish mini skirts and make-up.

My brother Graham is six years younger than me and we never got on when I was little. I was six years old and a spoiled princess when this baby appeared—a blue-eyed, golden-haired angel. He was like a cherub. People used to stop my mum in the street because my brother was so gorgeous. We fought like cat and dog but now we get on very well, and I would be his friend even if he weren’t my brother. He lives in Singapore but we Skype all the time and see each other for Christmas and at least once or twice during the year.

 

I got to know my best friend Joyce when I was 12

She lives in the States now and it’s great to have that friend who you can pick up with any time. You might not see each other, apart from emails, but it doesn’t matter—you always carry on from where you left off. It’s really important to have a friend you can call at 2am.

Joyce was a swot and I was a rebel but we really hit it off. These were the days when you went out to play and if you said you’d be somewhere, you had to be. We only got a landline when I was 13, so you’d see your pals at school and agree to meet up with them later.

You didn’t have this texting malarkey and, “Oh, I can’t make it.” I quite liked that.

We used to go to concerts together. The music at that time was brilliant. We went through a phase in which we liked Genesis and strange prog rock stuff, and then the New Romantics and punk and The Jam and all these incredible bands. What’s great about my job is I get to meet them all. None of my researchers are that bothered—they say, “It’s just some middle-aged guy”, but I say, “No, that’s my hero!”

 

My love for space

LK
I interviewed Buzz Aldrin this year and I was such a fan girl. He’s nearly 90 and he said, “Ach, I want to go to Mars,” and I was just thinking, I love your enthusiasm and your ability to take in everything and be open to all these amazing ideas. It was probably one of the worst interviews I’ve ever done because I was so in awe. That’s when the job is an absolute joy.​

My dad bought me my first telescope when I was five and I’d watch Star Trek with my parents. I’ve always been interested in sci-fi. In Dundee, there’s the an observatory that’s open to the public. They give talks and let you use the telescope and the view isn’t bad. There’s a lot of light pollution because you’re in a city, but it’s great.

I’ve got a great app called Sky Walk. You simply hold up your phone to the night sky and it tells you about the constellations.

I’ve also got the International Space Station app. Sometimes it will set my phone off at 2am and I have to get up.

I don’t understand how anyone could not be fascinated by it. I think there’s something else out there. I don’t know if we’ll ever find it, because the universe is so huge, but you have to ask these big questions.

When I was little, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I can remember going to the careers office in 1977 and being asked what I  wanted to do. I said I wanted to join the RAF and be a fighter pilot—and I was laughed at because I was a girl.

Now, we have women who fly jets and are in the Red Arrows, as we absolutely should have. For me, your race or gender shouldn’t matter, it’s about who’s best for the job.

 

Leaving school at 16

LK

I joined the local paper, the East Kilbride News, as a trainee. I remember walking in and it was like Life on Mars, because everyone smoked back then. We used to type our stories on pieces of paper—kids nowadays would think, What the hell?—then they were taken to the hot metal printing press.

I’m very glad that I saw that, because it’s real history. It used to be that you couldn’t see the reporters through the fug of smoke. I’ve never smoked—my brother had asthma and nobody smoked at home, thank God—but I do remember everyone peering through the smoke over typewriters. It was brilliant training because you did absolutely everything, and that’s as it should be.

When I was doing Lockerbie, in December 1988 somebody went on holiday from the “sofa” slot for six or seven days. Our news editor was walking past the newsroom and saw me doing live links. He said, “Bring that wee girl down from Scotland and see how she gets on on the sofa,” and that was why I was brought down to London.

Lockerbie was a terrible tragedy but that’s where I was tested, I guess. When I arrived I’d only brought enough knickers with me for a week, and I kept saying that I needed to go back to my normal job and do my checks. Every day I would check in with the police and find out what was going on. But I’ve been on sofas ever  since. I’m still here 33 years on and it’s gone by in a flash.

 

 

 

Read the full article in the latest issue of Reader's Digest

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more celebrity stories

Enjoyed this story? Share it!