I thought I’d start this week by continuing my look-back over the twenty-five years of QVC. This week, it is from October 1st 2010 to October 1st 2011. In the latter part of 2010, QVC were busy putting together the photos for the first and (to date) only QVC calendar. Just as an aside, a few of us have suggested over the years doing another one to sell and raise money for Breast Cancer Care, but that hasn’t materialised… yet!
At the time, there were eighteen presenters plus our four regular category presenters: Ali Young (beauty), Glen Campbell (fashion), Dawn Bibby (craft), and Richard Jackson (gardening). That made twenty-two in total. As there are twelve months in the year, most people shared a month page, but I was lucky enough to have a full page. Sadly, I can’t find the actual calendar (I’m sure I have it somewhere) but this was a mock-up, which we had to approve before it went to print.
I suppose one of the reasons we haven’t repeated it is because of personnel change – a little bit like football teams. The calendar comes out in December and you lose a key player in the January transfer window! To digress for a moment, I’m so delighted that Crystal Palace have managed to hang on to Wilfie Zaha and that the window is now closed before the start of the season – come on you Palace!
Well, that kind of happened with QVC, because Anthony Heyward left in January 2011 and we acquired three new presenters, Miceal Murphy in February, and Anna Cookson and Carmel Thomas in May. If you haven’t heard me mention it on air, Anthony Heyward is about to start as a QVC US presenter – he’s almost come full circle. Interestingly, out of the twenty-two, most of the faces are still on QVC UK and most of us don’t look that different (just a little older) apart from Catherine and Pipa who have radically changed their hairstyles.
So, Miceal made his first appearance as a generic presenter on Valentine’s Day. He had previously guested a chocolate brand but had been training to join the team when he was unexpectedly asked to cover for presenter sickness. He presented an hour of gold jewellery and Charlie Bears – talk about being thrown in at the deep end!
Later in February, I went over to LA to do some filming in the run up to the Oscars. I think it has to come as a very close second to the Bahamas in terms of my favourite QVC trip. Although none of it was broadcast live, I did a daily blog and footage from each day of filming, which was available on YouTube – it’s probably still there.
We filmed with some of our LA-based brands: OPI, Spanx, Charlie Lapson, Tacori Diamonique (to name a few) and it was pretty exhausting but great fun. We were invited to a birthday party that QVC hosted for Dennis Basso, but the real highlight was the QVC Red Carpet Party on the eve of the Oscar’s, held at the Beverley Hills Hotel.
We had spent the day filming the preparations for the party and hoping that the weather wasn’t going to spoil what should have been an outdoor event. Unfortunately, the rain came and the American crew had to hastily erect a marquee and cover for the red carpet entrance to the party. They did an amazing job in the time available, but there were one or two leaks in the canopy, one of which landed on Kim Kardashian as I was about to interview her and her sister Kourtney. Kim legged it back to the make-up room but Courtney seemed unphased and carried on with the interview.
I interviewed dozens of celebrities and Oscar nominees, including Helena Bonham Carter, Melissa Leo (who went on to win Best Supporting Actress for ‘The Fighter’), Joan Rivers and Donald and Melania Trump. Who would have thought that just six years later he would have become the US President!
That was definitely my highlight of 2011, although a close second was the Pink Party I organised in July to raise money for QVC’s main charity Breast Cancer Care. Although most of the presenters were unable to come, it was well attended by lots of the backstage team who I had formed such a bond with during Search for a Presenter. It’s an important charity for me personally, as both my mum and my sister have had breast cancer (both clear now, thankfully) and both Alison Keenan and our beautiful model, Amica, had been diagnosed earlier that year. I’m pleased to say we raised over a thousand pounds. Although we no longer do the live show, our latest campaign to raise money for BCC has started on our website.
Back to the present day, I managed to go in to work yesterday for the first time in almost two weeks. I still have a bit of a chesty cough but I’m so much better than I was and I only have to manage three days before I’m on holiday for a week. We are going back to Javea, in Spain, but this time with Sophie and her new family. It’s the first time Chris and I have ever holidayed with extended family and we are really looking forward to a slightly different experience. We did have a bit of a scare last week, when I received an email from the company we are renting the villa from saying it was unavailable due to building work having started next door. Nooooooo! Not more building work! We are going to see how bad it is, but fortunately, the company have another villa that we can swap to if it is too noisy! It will be the first time that Taylor and Amber (Sophie’s partner’s children) have holidayed abroad, so it’s nice to be taking them to somewhere we know so well.
Talking of building work, I’m pleased to report that a lot of progress has been made this week. We are still a way off finishing (another month I would say) but all the structural work is complete, our plasterer has been working flat out and, most importantly, the glass bi-fold doors are in, so at least now we don’t feel like we’re living in a cave with all the windows boarded up.
Please ignore the state of the garden. I’m afraid it has taken a bit of a bashing, having all the building supplies strewn across it for months, and of course the heatwave. Some of the plants we had to move are looking pretty dead but I will try to revive them with some of Richard Jackson’s fabulous garden products once I can get at them.
We have a fashion event on QVC today and tomorrow, as mentioned on last week’s blog. Our TSV is the Joules lightweight rain mac and I’m hoping it will still be around for Fashion on Friday today, when I have a whole hour with lovely Imogen Connelly. I’m definitely ordering one as yesterday was a reminder that we do get rain in this country!
Then, on Saturday, we have a Clarks ankle boot TSV, which I will be having a close look at. I love my Clarks ankle boots from two years ago, but maybe it’s time for an upgrade?! I’m on with Simon Wilson at midday tomorrow for the first of his 23rd anniversary shows, followed by Ruth Langsford, before hot-footing it to the airport.
Have a fabulous weekend, enjoy the return of the Premier League if you’re a footie fan, and I’ll see you on Sunday 18th for the Decleor TSV and more Butler & Wilson.