Eamonn Holmes

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Eamonn Holmes
Eamon Holmes.jpg
Holmes (right) with his wife Ruth Langsford and Holly Willoughby
Born (1959-12-03) 3 December 1959 (age 55)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Residence Weybridge, Surrey
Nationality Irish
Occupation Broadcaster, journalist
Years active 1988–present
Employer Sky News
Height 5 feet 11.75 inches (1.82 m)
Television GMTV
This Morning
Songs of Praise
Religion Roman Catholic [1]
Spouse(s) Ruth Langsford (m. 2010)
Children 4
Official website

Eamonn Holmes (born 3 December 1959)[2] is an Irish journalist and broadcaster, best known for presenting Sky News, Songs of Praise and This Morning.

Holmes co-presented GMTV for twelve years between 1993 and 2005, before joining Sky News Sunrise in 2006, which he presents from Monday to Thursday with Isabel Webster. Since 2006, he has co-hosted This Morning with his wife Ruth Langsford on Fridays and during school holidays.

Early life and education[edit]

Holmes is the second oldest of five boys. He was educated at Holy Family Primary School in Belfast [3] and St Malachy's College,[2] a Roman Catholic grammar school for boys, on the Antrim Road in Belfast. He then studied journalism at the Dublin College of Business Studies.[3]


Early career[edit]

Holmes worked for a Dublin-based business magazine before going into broadcasting.

In 1979, he joined Ulster Television, the ITV franchise contractor for Northern Ireland. Here Holmes hosted and reported on the station's Farming Ulster programme. Afterwards, Eamonn was teamed up with Ulster Television’s legendary sports reporters, Leslie Dawes (1922-2014) and Jackie Fullerton MBE, to assist the extensive coverage of the important sporting events throughout the province.

In 1982, Holmes was moved into the cutting edge of news and current affairs reporting when he was tasked to anchor Ulster Television's flagship Good Evening Ulster programme. In its time Good Evening Ulster was Northern Ireland’s most-watched news magazine programme. Holmes would succeed Gloria Hunniford who had presented the show since its launch in 1979. Holmes was the third choice to present the programme after trial runs by news reporters Gary Gillespie and Gerry Kelly. The frontline role quickly made him a household name in the province, establishing his broadcasting credentials and honed his adroitness in live interviewing, which included many of the region's leading government, political and security figures.

In addition to his news and current affairs role, Holmes has also hosted other Ulster Television productions, including Miss Northern Ireland gala specials in 1985 and 1986.

He finally departed from Ulster Television in 1986 to join the BBC. At the corporation's Manchester studios, Holmes worked as a presenter on the daytime Open Air programme which was broadcast nationally on BBC One.

Holmes is a part of a rare coterie of Northern Irish-born broadcasting talent who commenced their careers at Ulster Television in front of the camera who later became front-rank hosts, anchors and reporters in British television news and current affairs and light entertainment. These were Ivor Mills (1929-1996), Anne Gregg (1940-2006), Peter Marshall, Gordon Burns, Michael Macmillan, John Irvine, Andrea Catherwood and Patrick Kielty.

Holmes’ foray into radio broadcasting was at Downtown Radio, Northern Ireland’s first commercial independent radio station, in the late 1980s.

Breakfast television[edit]

In 1993, Holmes started working at GMTV, hosting the first show on 1 January 1993 with Anne Davies. He had a falling-out with his later co-host Anthea Turner however they were reunited while they were on a BBC NI show entitled The Friday Show in 2009 where they seemed to get on better. For eight and a half years, Holmes made GMTV the most watched morning show with Fiona Phillips until his departure.

Holmes was accused of being opposed to LGBT parenting when he told two gay interviewees in a year 2000 GMTV episode that "You are not meant to have children. You are going against nature!"[4] American illusionist David Blaine appeared on the show on 29 August 2001. Holmes cites this interview with Blaine as the most awkward moment of his professional career and one of TV's bloopers when he refused to speak and gave him the "evil eye".[5]

In April 2005, he left GMTV , stating the show had run out of real news and became celebrity obsessed shortly before his departure.[6]

Holmes also presented the BBC National Lottery game show Jet Set between 2001 and 2007. From around 2003, Holmes presented The Eamonn Holmes Show on Radio 5 Live on Saturday mornings between 9 and 11 am for 6 years, last airing on 30 May 2009 as Holmes' contract with the BBC was not renewed.[7]

After leaving GMTV in April 2005, Holmes joined Sky News six months later to present the new-look Sunrise programme. He initially hosted the show with Lorna Dunkley between October 2005 and January 2007, then with Charlotte Hawkins from 2007 to 2014, when Hawkins departed the network in March 2014 to join ITV. She was replaced by Isabel Webster on Sunrise.[8]

This Morning[edit]

In 2006, Holmes began presenting ITV daytime programme This Morning on Friday mornings. He works on the show, co-presenting This Morning with Langsford every Friday and Monday to Thursday during school holidays.

Game shows[edit]

Holmes presented SUDO-Q, a BBC quiz show between December 2005 and March 2007.

In 2006, Holmes hosted US game show The Rich List. In 2009, Holmes co-presented the ITV series The Feelgood Factor with Myleene Klass.

In 2013, Holmes was a judge on the CBBC Blue Peter talent search for a new presenter, Blue Peter - You Decide.

In 2014, Holmes and Ruth Langsford co-hosted a 10-part ITV game show, Gift Wrapped.[9][10]

Northern Ireland broadcast[edit]

To mark the conclusion of the analogue era in Northern Ireland, the last region in the UK to officially experience the switch over to digital technology, Holmes hosted a first-time joint UTV and BBC Northern Ireland venture.

The programme, The Magic Box, celebrated 60 years of television broadcasting in Northern Ireland featuring memorable archive footage of broadcasters, news reporters and events. The one-hour live simulcast occurred on Tuesday 23 October 2012 from the BBC’s Blackstaff House studio in the heart of Belfast.

Personalities from the UTV and BBC Northern Ireland stables were out in force for the special nostalgic event. The show also featured a tribute to deceased broadcasters, which included the well-regarded Brian Baird (1929–1998), Holmes' co-presenter and friend on the Good Evening Ulster programme.

Speaking as he closed the show, Holmes thanked viewers for watching and said: "Here's to the next 60 years."

Sports presenting[edit]

Holmes has presented coverage of snooker, horse racing and darts on television.[11][12] He was also the presenter of ITV's coverage of the Phil Taylor vs. Raymond van Barneveld showdown at the Wembley Conference Centre in 1999.[13][14]


For a few weeks in 2008, Holmes took over Michael Parkinson's Sunday morning show on Radio 2.[15] and hosted his own programme on London radio station Magic 105.4.[15]

Other work[edit]

Holmes writes a column for The People newspaper.[16] His autobiography was released in May 2006.[17] The autobiography is called This is MY Life, a reference to another famous Irish Eamonn – Eamonn Andrews, after whom he was named.[5][15] The book reveals some of what occurred behind the scenes during his tenure at GMTV.[5]

Holmes presented eight episodes of Songs of Praise.

Personal life[edit]

On 26 June 2010, Holmes married his long term partner Ruth Langsford at Elvetham Hall in Hampshire.[18] The couple sold exclusive rights to report on the wedding ceremony and the reception to Hello! magazine in a deal that saw the publication feature the event over two issues, in July 2010.[19] The couple have a son called Jack Alexander (b. 2002); Holmes has three children from his first marriage.[18]

Holmes lives in a six-bedroom mansion in Weybridge, Surrey with Langsford and their son Jack. The couple put their house on the market but later cut the price by 7%.[20]

In 2006, Holmes was awarded an honorary degree by Queen's University Belfast.[2][21] He has also received an honorary degree from the University of Staffordshire.[22]

Holmes is a fan of Manchester United.[23] In December 2005, he opened the eulogies at the funeral of footballer George Best.[24]


Holmes and Langsford are patrons of Dogs Trust.[25] They adopted their dog, Maggie from the charity in 2011. The couple also supported the Dementia Friends campaign in 2014.


Year Show Role Notes
1986 Open Air Presenter Series 1
1993-2005 GMTV Co-Presenter Fridays (1993–94)
Monday-Thursdays (1995-2005)
2001-07 Jet Set Presenter
2004 Would You Pass The 11+ Co-Presenter One episode with Christine Bleakley
2005-07 SUDO-Q Presenter
2005 Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon Contestant Series 1
The Sunday Night Project Guest Presenter Series 1, Episode 6
2005— Sunrise Main Presenter Monday-Thursdays
2006 The Rich List Presenter
2006— This Morning Co-Presenter Fridays and school holidays with Ruth Langsford
2009 The Feelgood Factor Co-Presenter With Myleene Klass
2009-14 Songs of Praise Presenter 8 episodes
2010 Have I Got News for You Guest Presenter One Episode
2013 Blue Peter - You Decide Judge
2014 Gift Wrapped Co-Presenter With Ruth Langsford
Year Show Role Note(s)
2005 Robots Bigmouth Executive & Forge (Re-dubbed voice)
2014 Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie Himself Cameo role. Appeared as an RTE newsreader despite never having worked for that company in real life.
Guest TV appearances

Holmes has appeared four times on the long-running game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. The first time, he played with Alex Ferguson. On 1 September 2007, he played with Kay Burley. On 20 May 2012, he returned with Ruth Langsford by his side. Finally, on 19 December 2013, to celebrate the end of Millionaire on ITV, Holmes re-appeared on the show with Alex Ferguson.


Year Group Award Result
2008 TRIC Awards Satellite/Digital TV Personality Won
2009 TRIC Awards Satellite/Digital TV Personality Won
2010 TRIC Awards Satellite/Digital TV Personality Won
2011 TRIC Awards Satellite/Digital TV Personality Won
2013 TRIC Awards News Presenter/Reporter Won
2013 Legends of Industry Award Services to Broadcasting and Journalism Won


In November 2009, Jon Culshaw appeared as Holmes on The Impressions Show in a series of three comedy sketches in which he was portrayed as having an appetite so uncontrollable that he eats a sofa, flowers and even a guest (Frankie Dettori), using the catchphrase 'I was fierce hungry, so I was'. Even though Holmes had interviewed Culshaw and his co-star Debra Stephenson on This Morning to promote the show,[32] after the programme aired the presenter instructed his lawyers to send a letter of complaint to the BBC.[33] The letter resulted in an apology from the BBC along with a withdrawal of any future comedy sketches featuring Holmes.[34] Both the complaint itself and the outcome of Holmes's legal action drew generally unfavourable criticism from media observers and online commentators.[35][36][37][38]

While presenting This Morning in October 2011, Holmes described singer Jonathan Wilkes as "retarded" on air. He later apologised after complaints and calls for him to be sacked. Holmes said: "I have to say sorry to three or four of you who are upset because I used the word retarded. You seem to have taken it personally or think I am being insulting. I would never want to do that. There is this man who has an autistic child and said I insulted his child. I would never use it in that context. Sorry if that caused you offence".[39][40][41]

In October 2011, Holmes provoked criticism by suggesting that a rape victim should take taxis in future, leading to accusations of victim blaming.[42]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c Holmes receives honorary degree BBC News, 4 July 2006
  3. ^ a b Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Eamonn Holmes, television presenter The Independent, 28 June 2007
  4. ^ Jane Simon; Brian McIver (21 July 2010). "Dad'll do nicely". Daily Record. 
  5. ^ a b c Eamonn Holmes: My Life In Media The Independent, 10 July 2006
  6. ^ Holmes bids farewell to GMTV sofa BBC News, 27 April 2005
  7. ^ Plunkett, John (8 May 2009). "Danny Baker and Christian O'Connell to front new shows on BBC Radio 5 Live". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  8. ^ Sky's the limit for 'family man' Eamonn Mail Online, 19 May 2005
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ Sport in My World: Eamonn Holmes Telegraph, 28 April 2006
  12. ^ Eamonn Holmes Feelgood Factor, ITV, 2009.
  13. ^ Filmography HOLMES, Eamonn BFI – Film & TV Database
  15. ^ a b c Eamonn Holmes – This is his Surrey life Surrey Life, March 2008
  16. ^ Eamonn – Man of the people The People
  17. ^ This Is My Life: Eamonn Holmes: The Autogiography Amazon.co.uk
  18. ^ a b Holmes and partner Ruth walk down aisle Belfast Telegraph, 26 June 2010
  19. ^ Only in Hello! Eamonn and Ruth marry surrounded by showbiz friends Hello!, 28 June 2010
  20. ^ [4]
  21. ^ Ulster-born TV presenter Eamonn Holmes was today presented with an honorary degree from Queen's University Belfast Telegraph, 3 July 2006
  22. ^ Honorary Doctors 1986 – 2005 University of Staffordshire
  23. ^ "He has a passion for John Wayne movies" Belfast Telegraph, 26 April 1996, i'm also Gordon's minyon
  24. ^ Final farewell to football legend BBC News, 3 December 2005
  25. ^ [5]
  26. ^ [6]
  27. ^ [7]
  28. ^ [8]
  29. ^ [9]
  30. ^ [10]
  31. ^ [11]
  32. ^ Eamonn Holmes Eat Your Heart Out The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson, BBC Comedy, 27 November 2009
  33. ^ Eamonn Holmes threatens BBC with legal action after comedy show mocks his weight Telegraph, 19 July 2010
  34. ^ BBC apologises to Eamonn Holmes over weight jibes BBC News, 19 July 2010
  35. ^ Julie Burchill If Eamonn Holmes can't see the funny side of fatness, he should lay off the pies Belfast Telegraph, 21 July 2010
  36. ^ Eamonn Holmes gets the BBC jokes eating away at him banned The Guardian, 22 July 2010
  37. ^ Andrew M Brown If Eamonn Holmes doesn't like the BBC teasing him about being fat, there's a simple solution Telegraph, 19 July 2010
  38. ^ BBC sorry for jibe at Eamonn The Sun, 20 July 2010
  39. ^ O'Connor, Niall. Eamonn says sorry for calling guest 'retard'. herald.i.e. 8 October 2011.
  40. ^ Sheridan, Emily. Eamonn Holmes apologises after calling This Morning guest Jonathan Wilkes 'retarded'. Daily Mail. 8 October 2011.
  41. ^ Small, Louise. Eamonn Holmes sorry for 'retarded' comment. The Belfast Telegraph. 8 October 2011.
  42. ^ "Eamonn Holmes cricised for controversial rape comment". The Telegraph. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 

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