STICKING around for any length of time in the cut-throat world of television is no mean feat.
And surviving live TV – notorious for finding out those out who can’t handle the pressure – is also pretty noteworthy.
But as iN10 catches up with Tim Lovejoy, the ever-popular presenter is as laid back as can be – despite marking an impressively lengthy milestone.
August will see him celebrate 20 years of live weekend telly.
He spent years on Saturdays hosting Sky’s Soccer AM before co-presenting hundreds of episodes of BBC2’s popular Something For The Weekend alongside chef Simon Rimmer.
Scheduling issues led the BBC to pull the plug after six years. But the high ratings saw Channel 4 swoop and the duo were back on screen just one week later with Sunday Brunch.
“I’ve had to work weekends almost as long as I can remember – but I’ve got a brilliant job so I don’t care,” says Tim, 48.
“I’m working while most other people take their rest time. But I always try to get time off during the week.”
Tim is more than aware that weekends are usually big family time.
He has 14-year-old twin daughters Grace and Rose from his first marriage and a three-year-old daughter, Jamie Jeane, with netball-player partner Tamsin Greenway from whom he has recently split up.
As we speak Tim has been up through the night with his poorly youngest, apologising for his sleepy-sounding demeanour.
But, like any dad, he was more than happy to be there by her bedside and insists the kids come first,
“I make sure I always have time for them,” he says.
“Saturdays are pretty much sacred for me now and the older two have been coming along to my shows since they were about four.
“They come in when I have them every second weekend and they’ve almost become part of the furniture in the studio.
“They’ve been hanging round for so long they’ve seen so many celebrities it’s ridiculous. It’s funny as they’re almost bored with it all.”
Sunday Brunch’s mix of cookery, interviews and chat is, like BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, a winning recipe.
It’s not only hugely popular with viewers, its reputation increasingly attracts Hollywood stars.
“We had Olivia Munn, from the new X-Men movie on last month, and like most American names she had no idea of what we did.
“They are usually in full promo mode, a bit bored and expect the typical bit of plugging. She came in with her entourage and you could see her thinking, ‘Oh God, what do I have to do for this?’
“But after a few minutes she realised this was just fun and she could just be laid back and enjoy herself.
“She was downing glasses of wine and letting loose. Piers Morgan was on and they’d had a bit of a run-in in America so she hammered him a couple of times.
“John Barrowman was another guest and it was a beautiful thing. You end up taking a backseat and just savouring the fact that it’s such good TV.”
The show lasts three hours with a recent one running for a marathon four.
Preparation is key for Tim, making sure he knows everything possible about guests to relax them and fill in where required.
But while there is a buzz when the show hits the air, he says pre-broadcast nerves aren’t an issue.
“I’ve done so much live TV I’m totally relaxed,” smiles Tim. “The thing I really love is when things go wrong.
“That’s when I earn my money and get us out of a sticky situation.”
As well as a busy presenter, Tim is a respected producer, with shows like Big Breakfast on his producing CV.
That starred pal Chris Evans, who has been under intense scrutiny with Top Gear, the second episode of which screen tonight.
“Chris is a talented guy and he’s got a great producer’s head so if he’s doing something it’s definitely worth watching,” he insists.
“But it had to be the most pressurised show in the history of TV because of all the hype.”
Sunday Brunch, Channel 4, 9.30am.
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