For a man who has interviewed more people than many of us have had hot dinners, our chat with Philip Schofield gets off to an awkward start.
Nothing to do with him as hisaffable and charming nature is in full flow throughout our chat, it’s just that he still had headphones on for a radio interview he’s just finished.
“You’d think I’d know better by now,” he jokes.
And while he might be used to the pressures of live television, the This Morning host will be hosting a live theatre show The Knights of Music coming to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Saturday April 23.
He added: “It came about because of a conversation in a pub and I was chatting to Simon Schofield, no relation, who was asking me did I miss performing live and I said to him yes, but there is no way with the television schedule that I am on that I could do a show in the West End.
“So we started coming up with a show and we thought wouldn’t it be great to celebrate some of the lords and dames and sirs of music.”
This sensational show is a celebration of the legendary Knights of the entertainment industry who have transformed the face of music, film and theatre throughout the ages - Sir Elton John, Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Sir Cliff Richard, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Paul McCartney and The Beatles, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Sir Tim Rice, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Bob Geldof, Bono and many more, including the newly knighted Sir Van Morrison.
Philip added: “And we asked Liam Doyle, who was the lead in Wicked and Danielle Hope who was the Dorothy in the revived Wizard of Oz and they both said yes.
“I’ll be hosting it as well as telling people some little bits about the show.”
Philip is no stranger to the stage having played the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium, followed by a successful UK tour of Dr Dolittle.
At the time of the interview, Philip was still being gently persuaded to grab a singing microphone.
He said: “I am having my arm twisted to sing in the show and we shall have to wait and sing. If I do sing, it will almost certainly be Any Dream Will Do as it is the song that I still know the words to.
“It would be a bit strange for me to wear a dress and perform a Shirley Bassey song, especially as the show opens in Cardiff.
“It would be the first time in 20 years that I will have performed on stage.
“It is a real eclectic mix of music, you’ve got everything from I’m Still Standing and Rocket Man by Elton John to music from Sir Tim Rice and Cameron Mackintosh.”
The Knights of Music also gives Philip the chance to scratch an itch for appearing live.
He added: “I’ve done lots of things before, having hosted the Royal Variety Show and then hosting the soap awards. There is something special about performing live in a theatre.
“I would love to do more of it, if there was the chance to. However I am just too busy at the moment. I’ve had to turn down more West End roles than I have actually done.
“I am more of a night person and the experience of going out on tour and the camaraderie that you have. I like to get up late and stay up till late. I will never get used to my alarm going off at 5.30am. In fact, I hate it.”
But any thought that he might not enjoy his life at the moment is quickly retracted.
Philip said: “There will come a time when the phone stops and I will reminisce in my career about how busy I was but I am incredibly lucky, I have a great job and will keep going.”
The start of his career saw him get into television presenting almost by accident.
He explained: “I initially wanted to get into radio and moved out to New Zealand. I tried to get a radio job out there but got told that my accent was too English which is something I had never thought of.
“I saw an advert in the Auckland Star for a television presenter and my parents said go and do it, probably to get me out of the house, and I was lucky enough to get the job. It was an accident but a lucky one.”
He looks back on his career and picks out two of the proudest moments.
Philip said: “There are probably two things which I can refer to as highlights. The first was, given that I had been obsessed with the Radio One Roadshow, to then be on the same beach presenting it, was great.
“The other would be stepping out on to the London Palladium in front of 2,500 people performing in Joseph. The phone call had come out of the blue from Andrew Lloyd Webber asking if I wanted to cover Jason Donovan.”
We spoke to Philip back in February and there had just been the time when This Morning had won a National Television Award. It would be remise with me not to ask about the show the day after when both him and Holly Willoughby might still have been a little bit too drunk the next day.
Philip said: “Everyone took the show in good humour and that was fortunate. I do like a bit of danger and risk but probably not with our own careers.
“And Holly and I are deeply professional so after 10 minutes, we got changed and went off and having got the giggles out of our system. But people were incredibly patient with us that day.
“I hope the audience took with good humour as well as that would be the feedback that we got rather than people thinking we would be unprofessional.”
Phillip Schofield presents Knights of Music on the Derngate stage starting at 7.30pm. Tickets, priced at £26, can be booked by calling box office on 01604 624811 or by visiting www.royalandderngate.co.uk.