Richard Madeley — things you didn't know about the TV broadcaster

Richard Madeley on the red carpet
Richard Madeley has been on TV for four decades. (Image credit: PA)

The nation is often waking up to Richard Madeley, watching him co-present Good Morning Britain alongside Susanna Reid

With his witty anecdotes and straight-talking, no-nonsense interviewing style, Richard has become something of a social media sensation. But, what some of his newer fans may not realise, is he's actually a broadcasting veteran.

Richard's impressive career began over 40 years ago, working for local radio and TV, but it was presenting ITV's This Morning alongside wife Judy Finnigan that turned him into a household name. The couple hosted the show for 13 years, before going on to co-present Richard & Judy on Channel 4 for a further six years.

Viewers can expect to see a lot more of Richard on their screens as he's been confirmed to be taking on the Good Morning Britain hot seat twice a week, starting next year. But the next stop for the 65-year old dad-of-two is thought to be the I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here 2021 castle in Wales, following reports he's signed a megabucks deal to appear on the show. Richard's used to eating politicians for breakfast, but how will he cope with creepy crawlies? 

Here are a few things you might not know about Richard Madeley...

 Richard Madeley is half-Canadian

Richard Madeley and wife Judy Finnigan with their children Jack and Chloe.

Richard shares two children with his wife Judy — a son called Jack and a daughter called Chloe.  (Image credit: Getty)

Although born and bred in Essex, Richard Holt Madeley has foreign roots because his mother, Mary Clare, hailed from Canada. Keen to find out more about his ancestry on his mum's side, Richard travelled to Canada as part of the 2011 series of BBC's Who Do You Think You Are

Journalism was clearly in Richard's blood, as he followed in his father Christopher's footsteps and became a reporter for a local newspaper after leaving school. It wasn't long before he made the jump from print journalism to broadcasting and joined BBC Radio Carlisle as a news producer and presenter at the tender age of 19. 

A stint working for Yorkshire Television followed before Richard moved to Granada TV, which ended up being a pivotal turning point in both his professional and personal life.

He had a legendary first meeting with wife Judy Finnigan

Richard began working for Granada TV in 1982, and his first day on the job is one he'll never forget because it's when he met his new co-presenter, and future wife, Judy Finnigan. 

Judy was already a recognised face on television, and in an interview with The Mirror, Richard recalled their unconventional first encounter: “I was sitting at my desk when this hand appeared on my shoulder and I looked up at this face and Judy said, 'Hi, I'm your Mummy' and I thought 'Whaaaaat?'" But Richard was quick to explain it's not as icky as it sounds, "At Granada when someone new arrived, someone was appointed as their dad or their mum to show them around — the canteen, the toilets and all that. So Judy was my 'mum'." 

Richard and Judy quickly became an item and got married in 1986. They are mum and dad to son Jack, a talent manager, and daughter Chloe, who like her famous parents has also gone into the entertainment industry.

He was the original king of daytime TV

Richard Madeley and wife Judy Finnigan presenting This Morning in 1990

Richard Madeley and his wife Judy Finnigan were the original presenters of 'This Morning'. (Image credit: Getty)

Younger fans of This Morning won't remember a time when Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby didn't front ITV's multi-award-winning programme, but back in the beginning it was Richard and Judy who ran the show. 

The couple were original king and queen of daytime television, and recorded their first episode in 1988, live from the Albert Dock in Liverpool. Over the next 13 years, Richard and Judy presented This Morning, interviewing famous celebrities every week and doing their legendary phone-in segments. The show relocated from Liverpool to London in 1996, and two years later Richard and Judy scooped the Most Popular Daytime Programme at the National TV Awards — the first of three consecutive gongs they won. 

After leaving This Morning in 2011, the couple moved to Channel 4 and co-hosted teatime show, Richard & Judy, interviewing numerous high-profile faces, including Bill and Hilary Clinton.

He is a famous author

Richard and Judy launch their WHSmith book club in 2010

Richard and Judy's book club has become a favourite with readers.  (Image credit: Getty)

Richard was responsible for bringing about a significant change in the British public's reading habits when he and Judy launched their famous book club back in 2004. Featured as a segment on their Channel 4 show, the couple selected titles they found complete page-turners and recommended them to the nation. The hugely popular scheme still runs to this day and has undoubtedly helped launch the successful careers of several writers. 

As well as being an avid reader, Richard is also a published author in his own right. His first two novels, Some Day I'll Find You and The Way You Look Tonight both made it into the Sunday Times top ten bestseller lists. His semi-autobiographical novel Fathers & Sons, which received rave reviews, reflected on the changing relationships between fathers and sons, and the difficulties his own dad and grandfather faced. Fans of Richard's writing should make note his next book, Father's Day, is due for release in April 2023.

He's an agony uncle

Having cut his teeth helping solve the problems of hundreds of viewers that rang into This Morning, Richard was a natural fit to become the new resident agony uncle for The Telegraph. The British national newspaper appointed Richard to the role in 2018, giving him a weekly column to answer readers' dilemmas on a variety of issues, or as he describes it "the good, bad and the ugly". 

Richard covers everything from relationship woes, to career advice, and how to cope with the illness of a loved one. For Richard, the job was a dream come true, and speaking at the time of being given the gig he said: "Being an Agony Uncle is a writing spot that I've always coveted... to be a custodian of the page is a big responsibility. People who write to me should know that I’m there to help them, if I can, and not pass sentence.”

He received an honorary degree for services to broadcasting

Oct. 12 2011 was a proud day for the Madeley family when Richard was awarded an honorary degree from Anglia Ruskin University, in Cambridge. The Honorary Doctor of Letters accolade was made by the university to Richard in recognition for his outstanding contribution to television, reading, entertainment, and media. Richard was accompanied by his wife Judy and their children Jack and Chloe to collect his degree, and donned the traditional academic robes and bonnet for the occasion. 

In the citation read out to the university's Vice Chancellor, who was presenting the honour, Richard was described as a "true all-rounder, who is loved by millions for his warmth, insight and enthusiasm". Speaking after the ceremony, Richard remarked, "I feel quite emotional. It's great to be in the company of so many deserving people." Other famous recipients of honorary degrees from Anglia Ruskin include pop princess Kylie Minogue, fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, and actor Stephen Fry. 

Richard Madeley's fact file

Frequently asked questions about the TV presenter and journalist...

How old is Richard Madeley?

Richard Madeley is 65, he was born on 13th May 1956.

Is Richard Madeley married?

Yes, Richard Madeley married his wife Judy Finnigan in 1986. His first marriage to Lynda Hooley ended in divorce.

Does Richard Madeley have any children?

Richard and his wife Judy have two children, a son Jack and a daughter Chloe. He's also stepdad to Judy's twin sons from her first marriage, Dan and Tom.

Does Richard Madeley have any grandchildren?

Richard has three grandchildren - granddaughters, Ivy and Edith, and a grandson called Kit.

Where was Richard Madeley born?

Richard was born in Romford, Essex.

How tall is Richard Madeley?

Richard Madeley is 6 foot 1 inch tall.

Twitter: @richardm56

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Laura Morgan
Freelance writer

Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing

Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.