I can't wait to work somewhere happy to have me, reveals Eamonn Holmes

HE has been the cheerily upbeat face of morning television for decades, on shows including GMTV, This Morning and Sky’s Sunrise.

But in a candid exclusive interview before his new breakfast show, Eamonn Holmes admits his outlook has turned increasingly grumpy at home, due to an agonising back problem which has left him struggling to walk.

Despite intensive physiotherapy and strong painkillers, the 62-year-old screen favourite says his daily challenges are impacting on his wife Ruth Langsford, who has to wait on him.

And he fears his children are sometimes “embarrassed” by his attempts to move around on crutches and a walking stick that was given to him by his actress pal Sue Johnston.

Eamonn quipped: “I don’t walk — it’s more of a wobble. It has been very difficult this year.

“My problem is a trapped sciatic nerve, but I don’t even know quite how it initially happened.

“For months now I haven’t been able to walk, sometimes at all, and it has really taken its toll on everyone around me too.

'Even my own family are bored of my moaning'

“I can’t bend down to pick things up so Ruth ends up having to wait on me, and I know my sons particularly are a bit embarrassed by the way I move around.

“I had to stop driving and sold my car back to the dealer too, which felt quite emasculating, and I have to use a hook to pull my trousers up when I’m getting dressed in the morning and something else to get my shoes and socks on.

“It just makes everything so much harder. I’ve just finished filming a food programme for the BBC called Farm To Feast, and the director had to do all sorts of clever tricks just to hide how much I’m struggling.

“But I’m having treatment with an amazing trainer called James who comes around and puts me through all sorts of weird and wonderful procedures just to get me moving in the mornings.

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“He’s worked with Premier League footballers, so I must be a fresh challenge.

"He’s got me having ice baths, exercises, and for a short while after he’s finished I feel like I can walk again — but then unfortunately it seizes up again.

“It’s slow progress, and part of the problem is you feel like you have to hide it all the time because as soon as people think you’ve got an issue like this they write you off.

“Even my own family are bored of my moaning. It has caused some strain and Ruth is fed up of hearing about it and of me saying I can’t walk the dog or tidy up, but I can’t help it. It’s agony.

“I take Tramadol sometimes to help it but you can’t take them all the time and they will only give you so much.

“It gets me through a Saturday if we have plans, and suddenly everyone has a nice time again — but then the pain comes back.”

Despite such challenges, Eamonn returns to TV screens next week with a new breakfast show on the recently launched GB News channel, in a reported £1million deal.

His move came after a shock exit from ITV’s This Morning — where he and wife Ruth had formed part of the presenting line-up, hosting on Fridays and during holidays, for 15 years.

Sources have suggested Eamonn was furious when the couple were moved from their regular Friday slot and replaced by Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond, despite being firm favourites with viewers — though ITV had initially said they would regularly replace weekday pairing Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby during their breaks.

Eamonn cautiously says he would rather not discuss his feelings about the departure, but tellingly adds: “Put it this way, I’m looking forward to a move somewhere new where they’re pleased to have me. But I wish everyone well at ITV.

“When I went in to meet the GB News team for the first time recently the guys actually clapped as I came in. It was very moving, and felt lovely. I can’t wait to get started.

“I’m doing the breakfast show with Isabel Webster, who I know from working together at Sky, so we’re just hoping to enjoy it. Our plan is to bring people a brighter breakfast.

“There’s definitely going to be some friendly rivalry as I know all the other breakfast hosts well.

"Piers Morgan was the first to drop me a note and congratulate me, so did Susanna Reid, and I know Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast very well too, who has been in touch to say good luck.

“Obviously I’m in the business of trying to steal their viewers, I guess that goes without saying, but they’re all great people who I know and get on with well, so it will be good-spirited.

“I haven’t heard from Phil and Holly but I’m sure they will be in touch. I wish them well but my focus now is on GB News and taking ITV viewers with me on a new journey.”

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The move will also mean the end of his enduring on-screen partnership with Ruth, who he married in 2010.

The couple have a son together, Jack, while Eamonn also has three older children from an earlier marriage.

Their natural on-screen chemistry has proved a regular hit with viewers across a variety of shows — though Eamonn stopped short of saying he will miss their working together for the time being, and joked: “I think a break sometimes is a good thing.

“When you work together and you live together, there is no down time.

“Other TV presenters have a minor disagreement on set and then jump in their cars and go home. With us it can last all day!”

But he added: “I’m sure we’ll work together on screen again. People seem to like it — I guess a lot of families see themselves in us. You can be certain that whatever I say — almost anything — Ruth will say or think the opposite, and then we end up squabbling on screen.

“It seems to work for those watching at home. For now she’s enjoying doing Loose Women, and I’m excited about my own new project.”

But Eamonn’s new role may spark even more disputes despite them ceasing to work side by side – with a turf war sparking up in their own home over which of them will be allowed to sleep in their own bedroom.

With Eamonn’s return to breakfast prompting 2.45am alarm calls ahead of a 3.15am taxi pick-up, he boldly suggested his wife might be more comfortable sleeping in their guest bedroom – an offer which was badly received.

He said: “I was trying to be considerate. I really struggle getting myself dressed in the mornings because of my back problems, and the last thing she wants is me clattering around with the lights on at 3am.

“In our bedroom we’ve got a bathroom that works really well for getting ready for work, and all my clothes and the extra things I’ve been using to help get myself dressed are there too, so I just thought it might be good if she went to the other room.

“She glared at me angrily and told me in no uncertain terms that she won’t be moving, so I think that means I’m being turfed out. She was deadly serious.”

Breakfast With Eamonn And Isabel starts on GB News on Monday.

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