Interview extra

Michelle Ackerley & Angela ScanlonJanuary 3, 2017

The One Show
Michelle Ackerley & Angela Scanlon in The One Show

As Alex Jones takes maternity leave, TV Choice meets the women who’ll be keeping her seat warm…

There are no January blues for presenters Angela Scanlon and Michelle Ackerley. For they’ve nabbed themselves a cracking job share – taking Alex Jones’ place on The One Show’s green sofa while she’s on maternity leave.

Both have made previous appearances on the hit BBC magazine programme and are delighted they’ll now be regular fixtures, getting their teeth into news stories, celebrity interviews and whatever else comes their way.

For former psychology student Michelle, one of the best aspects of working on The One Show is uncovering a different side to the celebrities she’s interviewing. She particularly enjoyed learning more about the actor best known as Star Trek’s Mr Sulu, George Takei.

‘The fact that he and his family grew up in an internment camp was fascinating, to find out how he lived through that part of history and how that’s kind of shaped him as a person,’ explains Michelle, who is known for Crimewatch Roadshow and Council House Crackdown.

‘It could be a politician, a singer, an actor…but for me it’s all about tapping into those stories and backgrounds that we might not necessarily know about.

‘My dream guest would be Steve Coogan. Although when you have grown up watching someone there’s always that fear of, “Oh my God, what’s it going to be like to actually meet them? How am I going to look cool or have good banter? What’s going to be my opening line?”’

Meanwhile, journalist-turned-presenter Angela was recently sent a Facebook reminder of the first job she did for the programme, just over a year ago.

‘I was in a field in Bangor, interviewing the farmer who chucked Rihanna off his land for stripping off to film a raunchy video,’ she laughs. ‘My love affair with The One Show has been kind of fabulous. It’s been a crazy year and it’s just such a great show, I’ve watched it for years and loved it.’

Before the announcement that she would be fronting The One Show, 2016 had already been pretty special for Angela. Having made her name with a number of talked-about documentaries on everything from WWE wrestling to Trump’s superfans and Tinder, she landed the coveted role as Dara O Briain’s co-host on BBC2’s reboot of Robot Wars.

‘We’ve had a ball doing it, it’s a really, really special show to work on,’ smiles Angela. ‘It’s very inclusive. There’s a real warmth to it in a similar way to The One Show I think.’

Not that warm is a word you’d use to describe the warehouse in Glasgow where Robot Wars is filmed.

‘When we made the Christmas specials it was -3 degrees at points, but I dragged out the thermals. I’m Irish, as is Dara, so we’re OK with that kind of weather!’ 

Michelle’s prepared for whatever The One Show asks of her, as her role on Crimewatch Roadshow has involved tasks including abseiling down the Brecon Beacons and taking part in riot training.

‘I was in full riot gear and people were throwing petrol bombs and bricks. Meanwhile in my earpiece someone was telling me I had 30 seconds left on screen. I’d inhaled a lot of smoke and was trying to deliver my last line, “… and it’s back to Rav in the studio…” It was a fantastic experience nonetheless.’

Having worked on the production side and made entertainment, children’s and current affairs shows, Manchester-born Michelle is tickled at how her TV career has come full circle.

‘My first job in TV was as a runner on Celebrity Mastermind,’ she recalls. ‘And this Christmas I was on it as a contestant, answering questions on Columbo. I realised it meant I’d have to sit down and watch the shows properly, no nodding off or wandering away to make a cup of tea!’

As for Alex, who is expecting with husband Charlie Thompson, Angela says, ‘She’s been absolutely brilliant and so supportive. It feels like a real privilege to sit in her seat for a few months and hold the fort.’

Tricia Martin

BBC1, weekdays

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