Andi Peters is set to step in at the helm of Lorraine for two weeks from Monday August 10th to 21st.
Ahead of his presenting role, Andi opens up about lockdown lessons, the perils of live TV and how he feels about turning 50 this summer.
Are you looking forward to taking the helm on Lorraine this summer for two weeks?
It’s great they have asked me to do it. I’m chuffed. It’s a real break from tradition and it’s a great statement from the channel about getting more black faces on television in lead roles as opposed to support roles, which is really important and we mustn’t shy away from that fact. I love Lorraine, I’ve known her for ten years, I’m on her show every day and it’s great to be part of that family. So, sitting in for her is an honour, Lorraine is an institution.
What are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to chatting to people and having a whole hour to actually relax into it. I’m a bit of a chatterbox. I’ll enjoy having guests on who want to have a bit of a chinwag and also to be able to do some serious stuff. I am happy and jolly, and that will always be there, but obviously I do have an opinion. The good thing about ITV Daytime is that we are allowed to have opinions. We are not censored in that way, we are allowed to bring them to the table. I can’t wait to see how guests react to that. I’m genuinely really excited.
At the start of the year you were ill with shingles, did that affect the way you approached keeping safe during the pandemic?
My 2020 has been ridiculous, it started with shingles for two weeks. The team were very supportive, even Piers [Morgan] was worried. I was lucky, I had it quite bad but not as bad as some people, who have no nerve endings for months. I was very worried that after that, my immune system would be really, really low and I would be more susceptible to coronavirus. Plus, we now know, being black and a man, you are more susceptible to it and you are a lot more at risk if you do catch it. But then Dr Hilary, who is the guide for all of us, said because I had had shingles my immune system would be really strong at anything else because it had to be at its highest to get rid of the shingles. That was really comforting because I was so worried.
I’m still being very cautious. I still think we should all take a bit more care. I’m not abusing the right to go out again. I’ve seen my parents and created the bubbles. I’ve not been out to a club or a pub. I want to let it all settle and in a week or two see where we are at. I remember how ill I was with shingles, I know that was bad but this is ten times worse.
How have you found lockdown, especially given you are usually such an international jet-setter?
What I am finding weird is being home so much, that is very strange. My last flight was March 10th when I came back from Chicago. But it’s quite interesting to do something different. I’m not having to pack all the time! Not going to the gym for so long has been hard, that’s been the most bizarre thing but I’ve adopted going on long walks. I started doing 10k walks every day. I love cooking. I have a three-course lunch and dinner, why not? So I have fallen back in love with cooking and making my evening meal a little event, putting it on Instagram.
What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve found yourself doing during the last few months?
Adapting to filming the show from home, from my garden or my garage. Also, I’ve never done a weekly shop, not in my entire life. The first time I did a week’s shop, I bought things I’ve never bought before, like tinned sardines, everyone was saying buy tinned stuff. Getting used to home life was the biggest thing.
What lessons will you take forward from this period?
All of us have learnt from it, and out of respect for every person who died, we have to take something away from it perhaps to slow down the pace we work. I cannot believe I used to do as much as I did. I cannot work out how I did it all?
Lorraine certainly is a TV institution, but so are you Andi…
Lorraine has been doing telly for 35 years, Phillip [Schofield] about 33. And I’m next on 31/32. Doing live TV is what I do, it’s what I love. Having produced TV programmes too, I think that gives me a better understanding of what makes good telly. I’ve been an editor, producer, commissioning editor and executive. Having all of that knowledge in my skill set will mean hopefully I can do Lorraine really well.
Live TV can be a challenge, what are the funniest or scariest things you’ve had to tackle in front of viewers?
One of the funniest moments recently was when I fell over when I was filming live in outer Mongolia. Falling over on TV is bad enough but on live TV in outer Mongolia. I fell off a stool interviewing Cher on Live & Kicking too. Random, but it happened. I don’t always fall over. I am quite stable on my pins! One of the scariest moments during filming for GMB was when I broadcast live from the Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai but we were on the helipad which is about 600 ft up and Susanna couldn’t even look at the screen. There’s me on the top of the helipad, 600 ft up, jumping about and she felt physically sick. She couldn’t believe I was doing it.
You’re a big part of the GMB and Daytime family, what is the team really like to work with?
So many people have said to me in the street, ‘We are so glad you all stayed on television during lockdown, we just needed something to make us feel normal’… it was important to make people feel like the world wasn’t ending. None of us really knew what was going to happen but ITV Daytime has been there throughout, everybody has done an amazing job to make sure that happened. It was tough to begin with.
Presenting from my garage, what’s been brilliant, it reminds people of the broom cupboard! It has this wonderfully nostalgic feel to it but in 2020. People just want something familiar. Me in a confined space, I spent three years doing that on BBC1. The space I have is genuinely bigger than the broom cupboard!
I’ve been on Good Morning Britain since day one. I knew it was something special. The difference is, the pool of presenters, it’s a great family. Everybody on the show is a star in their own right and everybody brings something different. It’s a great team of people and when you are getting up and seeing people at five in the morning, that really does bring you together very quickly. It’s a family off screen and that translates to being a family on screen.
What’s it been like having Kate Garraway back?
It’s been amazing having Kate back on the telly. Genuinely it has made me smile and you can see when she is doing some item, they are so close to home. But again, the beauty of ITV Daytime, if Kate looks upset, we don’t hide that. She’s going through a horrific time but to come back, she’s so strong. The viewers don’t mind if she looks upset. We’ve all just loved having her back.
Who would you like to interview?
I would love to interview Boris Johnson at the moment, right now, because like everyone I just have so many questions. It would be nice to ask those questions on behalf of people. Again, I’m a chatterbox, I will always have a question. Elton John, he’s such an amazing man and he’s had such a career. Trevor McDonald, for me a ground-breaker. I grew up watching him on the news, he’s been to war zones. It would be fascinating to hear his stories.
Have you ever been starstruck?
The only person I’ve ever been starstruck by is Janet Jackson. Because she was a Jackson. I’ve met her twice and the second time she said, ‘Andrew, how are you?’. And I said, ‘Oh my god, she remembers my name?’ Of course, someone probably told her. Otherwise you have this kind of ‘I’m just doing my job’. Often with the big stars you are at junkets and you’ve only got eight minutes, you haven’t got time to be starstruck. When I was Exec Producing Top of the Pops, I was really chuffed to meet Eminem because I’d listened to so much of his music. And 50 Cent too, I was impressed, scared, everything. Here’s a man who’s been shot nine times and I thought, ‘If I tell him not to sing this lyric, what will he say?’
How do you feel about turning 50 this summer?
Lockdown has really made me realise that I love doing what I do, fitting everything in, getting off a flight at 4am and going straight into the studio for 6am but it did make me take a moment. I think we are all realising that now. Every so often, I have to say ‘no’. I think that’s really important. But I want to be 50 and for people not to even realise it, to go, ‘What, you’re 50?’ Most people go, ‘Are you 60?’. They are trying to do the maths because I’ve been on telly forever. People forget I was on telly when I was 18.
Lorraine with Andi Peters (without Lorraine Kelly) weekdays on ITV Daytime from 9am.