For over three decades, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan have been a mainstay of British television.
An Essex boy born and bred, Richard spent his childhood in Romford before embarking on a television career that would see him transported from local news reporter to one half of the “King and Queen” of daytime television.
After poor eyesight put an end to his ambitions of becoming a pilot in the Royal Air Force, Richard began his career as a cub reporter for The Brentwood Argus in his home county before joining BBC Radio Carlisle as a news producer and presenter at the age of 19.
In 1978, Richard moved on to Border Television to develop his career as a television reporter and presenter before heading down to Yorkshire Television in 1980. After two years presenting reports for regional programme Calendar, Richard crossed the county border and headed to Lancashire where he started work at Granada TV, and first met Judy Finnigan.
Born in Newton Heath, Manchester, Judy pursued her love of literature by studying English and Drama at Bristol University. After participating in numerous dramatic productions, including one that saw her role consist of screaming maniacally from one side of the stage to the other, Judy decided that a life “treading the boards” might not be for her.
After graduating from Bristol with a BA Hons, Judy joined Granada as a researcher in 1971, before spending a year living in New York in which she spent most of her time scraping by on less than five dollars a day. Returning home, Judy joined Anglia Television in 1974 and became the station’s first female reporter. In 1980, she returned to Granada and worked on a range of live programmes including nightly regional show Granada Reports, where she first met Richard Madeley.
A marriage and two children later, Richard and Judy recorded their first episode of This Morning in October 1988, live from Liverpool’s Albert Dock. The pair presented the show together for 13 years and along with regular contributors “Fred the Weatherman” and Dr Chris Steele, Richard and Judy made This Morning one of the most fondly regarded British television programmes of the last twenty years.
In 1996, the show relocated to London and the much-loved presenting style of the duo helped the show scoop the coveted award for Most Popular Daytime Programme at the National Television Awards in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Other collaborative successes for the couple include Get A Life, Tonight and The British Soap Awards. Whilst the couple continued to present This Morning together, Richard and Judy occasionally separated to front shows of their own. Judy presented the Granada TV Coronation Street Specials, two series of the Judy Finnigan Debate and the primetime consumer show We Can Work it Out, whilst Richard travelled the globe in pursuit of the most harrowing accounts of weather disasters in the extremely popular documentary series, Eye of the Storm.
After 13 years, Richard and Judy bid an emotional farewell to the This Morning sofa in 2001, when they left ITV to present the show appropriately named Richard & Judy on Channel 4. The show singlehandedly turned the 5pm slot into a hotly contested arena, and combined news-reactive items, light informal features and celebrity interviews. Bill and Hilary Clinton, J K Rowling, Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks, Tony Blair, Christian Slater, Al Gore and Angelica Houston were just a few of Richard & Judy’s dazzling array of guests during the show’s seven year run.
After 21 years fronting daytime television, Richard and Judy decided to step back from their daily routine and are now enjoying other opportunities. They appeared together in Extras, Little Britain and TV Burp, and Richard has most recently been seen in Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway (ITV1), Have I Got News For You, Question Time, Newsnight, Daily Politics Show, All at Sea (ITV1) and can be heard regularly on BBC Radio 2. In August 2010, the Radio 2 Breakfast Show with Chris Evans was broadcast live from Richard and Judy’s house in Cornwall.
Richard’s first book, Fathers and Sons, was a great success, with the Times Literary review section commenting that Richard “is as skilled in the written medium as he is on air”; he is currently writing his second book.
Judy’s first novel, Eliose, a supernatural thriller set in Cornwall, was released in October 2012.