Goodbye Marco Polo!


Saying goodbye to Marco PoloFor a lot of my colleagues, the focus this week has been looking forward to our swanky new home at Chiswick Park but I have a slightly different point of view. Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to change, and I do realize that the time had come to move to a purpose built facility, but it did not stop me feeling sad to be leaving my ‘home’ of almost nineteen years.

I had been putting off clearing out my dressing room because I knew I would unearth long forgotten memories, but on Tuesday it was my last opportunity to get 'stuck in'. There was no chance of me tackling this mammoth task on my own, so I enlisted the help of my entire family plus Gilly, Sophie's flatmate, who now feels like one of the family!

We arrived shortly after 2pm and five hours later everything had been packed to take to Chiswick, put into bags for the charity shop or thrown away. Daniel was sorting through papers and memorabilia, and Sophie was in charge of clothes and make-up.

Sophie was fairly ruthless with my clothes rails. Anything she thought I should keep went straight onto the rail to take, and anything she thought I should discard she gave me five seconds to make my mind up about. Fortunately Gilly was the one actually hanging the clothes on the rail bound for Chiswick, and if she spotted that I was less than keen to throw away something Sophie thought I should, she secreted it onto the rail.

Two rails of clothes quickly became one and that included three of my 'original' jackets that I couldn't bear to part with. The make-up was no problem as I had no attachment to anything, so gloopy nail polishes that hadn't seen the light of day for several years, and out of date lippies hit the bin happily.

A lot of the paperwork was information about products we sell, so that went straight into the moving crates, but it was the memorabilia I struggled with, particularly when I came across the original 'Good Luck' cards from Chris and the children from 1993, and of course photos down the years – I must confess to a few tears. Obviously none of that got thrown away, I just need to find it all a new home.

Ali packing up her dressing roomAlison Young, who hadn't started on her dressing room either, was no help at all as she kept appearing with nail varnishes in the latest colours to add to the pile of stuff I was trying to sort out!!! I got my own back by putting a massive Oktoberfest beer mug in her dressing room when she wasn't looking!

Post clear out I took everyone out for pizza, trust me they deserved it!!

The final show from Marco Polo House was with Ralph Rossini from Honora Pearls. I was very touched that some of the backstage staff who weren't scheduled to be working that evening turned up to be part of the final show. I wore the infamous blue jacket that I wore when Jon Briggs and I launched the channel and was quite surprised that it was on the 'roomy' side… and what were those shoulder pads????

At the end of the show I flicked a switch to turn the lights off for the end of our nineteen year relationship with Marco Polo House. What you guys at home didn't see was that out of the darkness Daniel and Sophie stepped forward with a bouquet of flowers.

I had no idea they were in the building, but they had wanted to be part of the farewell as it has been a huge part of their lives too. They had both appeared on air with me when they were very young, playing with toys in toy shows, helping in the kitchen and Daniel's favourite memory of slotting a goal past Jules Ballantyne when we were selling a football net – precious memories!

But of course QVC goes on and I turned up at Chiswick Park last night for my first shows with a bubble of excitement in my stomach. I was a little disappointed that the pass I had been given didn't allow me into the Presenter dressing room area… are they trying to tell me something??? Seriously though, it is the start of a new and exciting phase at QVC and I am very glad to be part of it.

I hope you are enjoying the opening four days with all the great products and treats. I will be launching the L'Occitane TSV at Saturday midnight, my birthday as it happens, and all I am saying is… ALMOND!!!!!!!

Much love

Julia xxx


  1. Carole cooper June 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia I have been with you since the beginning I remember going out to buy sky so I could watch this new shoping Chanel that was comming, and to this day I still put qvc on I just love to watch in the salons hours butler and Wilson bibi and lulu guiness, I love the new blogg page you can read twitter at same time how good is that. Can’t wait for loccitane tsv love almond. Happy birthday Julia Carole Wigan x

  2. GINNY BOOKER June 8, 2012 at 8:04 pm -  Reply

    JU!IA U ALWAYS MAKE ME SMILE!!! THE LOVELY WRITE UP OF YOUR Last days at THE MARCO POLO HOUSE made me feel as if I were right there with you!! t THAT means a ,lot to me being on the other side of the pond!! I could see you and Alison with all your carry ON!!!! U TWO ARE AWESOME!!!!, LUV U BOTH!!
    Happy Birthday to you! I always remember yours as mine is about a month away in JULY!! Have a happy day, yummy cake, and lots of nifty PREZZIES!!!!! Up to eyeballs over here with our Lake side cottage in Vermont!! Think of u Sooo often!!!

  3. Joy Padley June 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Firstly a very Happy Birthday for Sunday, I knew you were a Gemini baby but couldn’t remember the date, the opposite sign to me being Saggie.
    Do you know I remember the days when you wore jackets on QVC and everyone dressed more formal. I think you all look better now and gives you a chance to try on new things and its like having a good friend on the box.
    I know Chiswick is a bit further for you but it must be nice to be in a brand new building with new sets and newer technology. You’ve certainly become an expert Tweeter!!
    Disappointed Nick did not win the Apprentice but like you felt he lost out on the business plan, i think Alan Sugar may well have picked him. I have one of Tom Pellareau’s Stylfile very iconic but not a patch on Leighton or OPI.
    Now for Euro 2012, we do a sort of league on the games at work and score points for each prediction. Usually I do quite well just missing out on the prizes. I have Spain to win but judging by the Russia game on at the moment, they are looking very strong. Love England to win but I think they need many miracles.
    Ooo tease on L’Occitane, I love their soaps in any formula.
    Looking forward to adding to my bag collection with Kipling next week, I am a bag addict.
    Again have a good day on Sunday and hope the family spoil you.
    Love Joy xx

  4. Kay Salisbury June 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia-your last show was wonderful but I couldn’t stay awake the 2nd hour so recorded it-thank God, ‘cos the repeat next morning didn’t show those very sad and touching last few mins when you pulled down that ugly lever to mark the end of the lovely and welcoming M.Polo house.Debs Flint put it on her blog and I loved hearing those voices from the past in that ghostly echo.(Just found out Steve ‘Whatters’—ZHUZH? is no longer around—-very sad) Loved it and felt as emotional as you at the end—you coped so well.I bet you gave in to your emotions when your babies appeared-sweet of them. I remember watching them in the toy programme all those years ago.It is onwards etc and the new studios do look fresher BUT not as warm and friendly just yet. The old place served QVC well all those years so I hope we keep it in our hearts.Best wishes for the next 20+ years. K.XXX

  5. Mrs. Christine M. Hindle. June 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm -  Reply

    Julia, I do miss the QVC Towers already; my memories go back to Paul Lavers; Steve Whatley; Kara Tritton;Dave Bradford; I loved Ross and Gems of the Orient; her beautiful Jade items. I could go on and on but most of all I love seeing you and would miss you if you were not on screen. At home I have four box files of invoices of purchases from the start and am now on my fifth box file. All my jewellery are still in boxes; hundreds of them many in the safe. Good luck for the future. Christine Hindle Mrs.

  6. Linda June 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I know exactly how you feel about change, our hospital has been rebuilt and although its on the same site (and it was a very well planned process) watching the old one go has the new one was built was quite upsetting. Such lots of memories good and sad, but we are all settled now has I’m sure you all will be. Good luck for lots of exciting shows I’m sure. Love Linda xx

  7. Jean Pugh June 9, 2012 at 9:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Julie,
    Yes it must have been sad moving after all that time, so many memories through the years. Love the jacket and the shoulder pads, to think we wore Jackets etc with them in, what were we thinking of. I do believe they are back in fashion, you realise when you put something like that on that it does not fit in with fashion today. It was nice that you had some help, you need it when you are sorting out like that as you tend to think oh I will keep that, I know my daughter has said to me before for goodness sake mum chuck that out what do you want to keep it for. What a lovely thought for Sophie and Daniel to present you with some flowers. The studio certainly looks impressive and from outside, hope you all settle in well. Many happy returns for the weekend, I will be watching for the TSV, I love L’Occitane products especially the Almond. There have been some lovely shows on over the last couple of days. Have a great birthday and weekend. Loved your show with Simon the other day, you two are great together.
    Love Jean XX

  8. Annette Roberts June 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Firstly and most importantly, by the time you read this ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY!’ Can’t believe you’re working, but at least you’ll have the day to enjoy youself. Hope you have lots of cards and pressies. Not sure if my card will arrive in time…sorry it’s not handmade this time, the old pins ‘n’ needles playing up a bit lately!
    I notice there were no shots of your dressing room pre-move, only Ali’s…she’ll get you back for the sneaky beer mug though lol!
    Must admit, I agree with the comment on your previous blog about the new studio…either the lighting is totally different or it’s the new set that is very dark…even the lovely printed Kim & Co fabrics didn’t look as bright as they normally do. We’ll get used to it no doubt.
    Have a great Birthday!
    Annette x

  9. Lesley Minns June 10, 2012 at 10:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia, Loved your reading your last blog and what a lovely photo too. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you too my dear, hope you have a great day, albeit a work day for you presenting here at QVC.
    It does seem like a truely wonderful place to work, you are ALL such a friendly,happy gang.
    Bye for now, X

  10. bryan roberts June 10, 2012 at 11:46 am -  Reply

    good luck,and all the best

  11. jan rigby June 10, 2012 at 11:53 am -  Reply

    I of course watched you and Ralph and a little tear escaped when you hit the off switch! I have been with you for nearly the whole time, I joined in the January after you launched so it was a sad thing to see. Im not sure about your new sets it seems very echoie and empty and I miss the clothes set with the catwalk, but no doubt I`ll get used to it! So good luck and heres to the next 18yrs….cheers!!!xxx

  12. Steven June 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm -  Reply

    Happy Birthday Julia. Hope you have a lovely day xx

  13. michelle moore June 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm -  Reply

    hi julia good luck with the move to the new studios and to your new home i wish you and your family all the best at least you wont have far to travel to work.

  14. Marian Bolton June 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm -  Reply

    Happy Birthday Julia. You all look right at home at the new place already. The organisation I work for is also building a swanky new central office due to open at the end of the summer. They’ve introduced ‘Tidy Fridays’ whereby we are encouraged to spend an hour or so clearing out all the rubbish we’ve accumulated as we’ve been told in no uncertain terms that we cannot take it all with us. It’s been going for a few months now but I only just started last Friday! I cleared out quite a lot of old papers from my office on Friday, (yes, I have an office but, of course, a dressing room is far more exciting!) Are you doing any of the Elemis anniversary shows?

  15. Veronica Linehan June 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm -  Reply

    Good Luck Julia I am sure you will still be fabulous to watch as ever.

  16. yvonne gillman June 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,it will take me a while to get used to the new sets,the fashion one looks dodgy with all those steps the models have to come down in thier high heels!!I used to work in a huge department store called Murrays in High Wycombe in the seventies and early eighties, soon after I left it closed down, I still miss all the people and that place somehow crept into my soul and it’s still there after all these years!!I still think about the place and I know other people that used to work there do to. The building has now been divided into many different shops ,but a bit of me and many others that occupied that space for many years are still there GHOSTS!!!! Anyway new begginings are hard at first …but onward and upward!! yviex

  17. Linda,Glasgow June 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    So many happy memories eh!x As i said to Debs Flint it is the end of an era but its great we are now starting another era at Chiswick Park although it will take us all a little time to put Marco Polo House on the backburner – very fond memoriesxx I teared up when watching the video clip(Debs Flints blog) of you putting the lights out and then it faded to voices of past and present QVC people and guests – i’m nearly crying typing this – madness or what!! QVC has become part of many of our lifes and,as a T caller said to you and Ralph on the last show,you all are like friends , friends we will never meet but friends all the same – i for one trust that what you say is honest and how you found an item etcxx I wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY and many more to come both birthdays and QVC anniversarys. Look after yourself Love Linda,Glasgowxx

  18. Kathryn Sheehan June 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    I have been in Spain for a few day’s to get some warmth,blimey isn’t it cold when you come back, can’t wait to go back in July. Very hot down in southern spain,i had some new items for the house to take delivery of, but i did enjoy the sun while i was waiting of course. I see you have moved house as well, hope you are settled now and most of your unpacking is done.What area did you choose in the end.?
    The new studio’s look grand although i can’t see many plant’s maybe they will come later.And you have had a birthday too, belated Happy Birthday wishes to you hope you had lot’s of goodies and yummy cake.
    Take care
    Kathy x

  19. SJ June 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm -  Reply

    Dear Julia,
    I loved the last show from MPH with you and Ralph, it was funny as always, ralph is such a gentleman!
    The new set is impressive, if somewhat different to what I expected, I suppose I expected it to have a proper cat walk and a spectacular kitchen (much more of a homely feeling) as it was being customized by QVC for QVC, but still its incredible!
    I really hope you will continue to brighten up our days as QVC would not be the same without you!!! You have me all worried as you said that when QVC starts to broadcast in HD you don’t think you’ll be there for that…
    Ali young cracks me up! She is so funny, and I’m sure she is the joker of QVC? It was so nice of your family to help you with the move, and I’m sure they were there for you as they expected the tears (I’d be in floods).
    Much love,

  20. Annette Roberts June 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Hope you had a lovely birthday on Sunday after your late night at CP!
    Chris organised the usual chocolate cake for me covered with truffles, plus some flowers. We usually go out for a meal, but because the weather was so nice I opted for a picnic and we headed off into Wales. It was a really good day and Bobby enjoyed hanging his head out of the car window, sniffing the air, as dogs do! At one point, down a country lane we ended up in the middle of a road race…Chris said he’d given me the best present yet…loads of men in lycra, not that I really noticed lol!
    We found a spot to have our picnic beside a stream, it was lovely and peaceful.
    After a few photos, Chris decided to do his ‘David Bailey’ bit and climbed up a small embankment to photograph some flowers…it was so funny because he had his back to the road and was looking down with the camera, when a car drove past and if you didn’t know what he was doing it could be misconstrued as something else, if you know what I mean!
    Hope your birthday was enjoyable as mine…last piece of cake tonight, thank goodness!
    Annette x

  21. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm -  Reply

    Hello Carole
    Thanks for the birthday wishes – seems ages ago now, but it can’t be that long ago as I still have a few of the white lilies in a vase from my bouquet.
    Hope you got the L’Occitane TSV? Good choice of shows by the way.
    Glad you like the new blog page
    Julia x

  22. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ginny
    Good to hear from you again. I wanted to write about the goodbye to Marco Polo House as I know so many of you have watched us for such a long time that it was kind of a ‘home move’ for you guys too.
    Thanks for the birthday wishes hope you have a good one too when it comes around.
    Isn’t Autumn ( or should I call it fall? ) in Vermont meant to be beautiful?
    speak soon
    Julia x

  23. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Joy
    Thanks for the birthday wishes, and yes the family DID spoil me – as always. Hope you got your L’Occitane and Kipling TSV’s?
    So to the footie. Sooooooo pleased England won their group so avoid Spain in the next round. I know Spain haven’t been fab so far BUT they will come good and should make it to the final.
    I think England under Roy and Ray could do really well. Some great performances so far from Joe Hart, Ashley Cole, Stevie G and Scott Parker and I think Andy Carroll may yet be the key to us progressing even further in the competition.
    Should be home in time to watch the game on Sunday – can’t wait!
    Julia x

  24. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm -  Reply

    Hello Kay
    Yes I was disappointed to learn that the morning repeat cut off the goodbye from Marco Polo House – what a shame! I think someone told me it is now on youTube though for anyone who missed it and wanted to see it.
    Fancy you remembering my two in the toy shows – hard to believe how little they were as I look up to both of them now …. only height wise of course!
    Not sure I will make the next twenty years – I think five may be more realistic, and that might be pushing it!!!!!!
    Julia x

  25. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Christine
    Thanks for your lovely words – I have no intention of retiring just yet so don’t worry I hope to be on screen for a few more years yet.
    I hope you get your jewellery out and wear it as well as looking after it, after all jewellery should be enjoyed.
    Great to know you are still watching after all these years
    Julia x

  26. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm -  Reply

    Hello Linda
    Sometimes it is just hard to let go of something that has become familiar isn’t it. We all know we have to at some stage in our lives, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
    I’m getting used to the new building – I hope you are too?
    Julia x

  27. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm -  Reply

    Hello Jean
    Jackets with shoulder pads – but actually the ones in that blue jacket were minor compared to some of the ones I used to wear in the late Eighties!!!
    Thank goodness for daughters ….. Sophie just kept asking me when I last wore things if I was a bit ‘undecided’.
    Glad you enjoy the shows with Simon – we really enjoy working together and I class him as a friend now after all these years!
    Hope you got the L’Occitane TSV?
    Julia x

  28. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    Thanks for the birthday wishes and sounds like yours was as enjoyable as mine! Must have a word with ‘my’ Chris as he did not organise me any men in lycra!!!! – still with the European Championships on there are lots of men in shorts instead!!!! LOL!
    Referring back to your other message, I think the powers that be are aware of the issues with the ‘darker’ sets and are addressing them even as I write this.
    speak soon
    Julia x

  29. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm -  Reply

    Hello Lesley
    Glad you enjoyed reading my blog about the farewell to Marco Polo house. It was a good photo wasn’t it with some of the lovely floor staff who turned up on the ‘final’ night even though they weren’t rostered to work – you are right, I work with a great bunch of people!
    Thanks for the birthday wishes too – I didn’t mind doing the L’Occitane TSV launch – funny thing is, last year it was the Lulu TSV launch at midnight going into my birthday. Maybe next year will be Elemis!
    Julia x

  30. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm -  Reply

    Thanks Bryan – are we related????
    Julia x

  31. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jan
    How brilliant that you are still watching us after all these years. It was a bit of a moment wasn’t it saying goodbye to the old place but I’m sure we will come to love ‘Chizzy Park’ just as much given time.
    You may be still watching in 18 years time, but I’m pretty sure I won’t still be presenting – unless they discover a miracle youth drug in the meantime!!!!!!
    Julia x

  32. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm -  Reply

    Thanks Steven, I did have a lovely day
    speak soon
    Julia x

  33. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Michelle
    We are settling in to both ‘new homes’ just fine thanks.
    The drive to work has been remarkably easy so far – I think I am probably tempting fate as it does include a certain length of time on the A3 and I haven’t experienced a traffic jam on it yet – just a matter of time I guess!!
    Julia x

  34. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi Marian
    ‘Tidy Friday’s’ sound like a good idea! I can’t pretend I didn’t have fair warning about the move, I just couldn’t face it before it became absolutely necessary! Good luck with your move when it happens.
    I was sorry to miss Keeley and the Anniversary shows, but they happened to fall on my weekend off and I needed the break I can tell you.
    Hope your Mum is doing well
    Julia x

  35. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm -  Reply

    Thank you Veronica – what a lovely comment to post
    Julia x

  36. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm -  Reply

    Hello Yvonne
    I know what you mean about the steps and the high heels – I certainly couldn’t manage it!
    I think they are going to be knocking Marco Polo House down to build luxury apartments – maybe we will have to settle for our ‘ghosts’ being part of the rubble that makes up the new foundations.
    I’m starting to get used to the new place in truth, not so much running around to different ends of the building looking for guests as they are just next door to our Presenter area, and the studios are on our floor too! I’m going to need to do a bit more Pilates to stay fit
    Julia x

  37. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm -  Reply

    Hello Linda
    I wish I was as technically ‘savvie’ as Debs Flint, then I could have put the clip on my blog instead of just writing about it! Still at least it is there for anyone who missed it and wants to watch it.
    Thanks for the birthday wishes. Like you I am hoping to have at least a couple more QVC anniversaries …. 20 years in October 2013 – that would be some achievement!
    I always try to be honest about products – no point selling them under false pretences and then them being returned – pointless!!!
    keep watching and speak soon
    Julia x

  38. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Kathy
    England is just cold at the moment full stop whether you have been to Spain or not, but I do take your point. I can’t believe we’ve had to have the heating on in June!!!!!!
    We have settled into the house now and even Poppy has been as good as gold!
    Thanks for the birthday wishes – I had two cakes this year as you will probably have read about in last weeks blog …. I am so behind with my replies!
    speak soon
    Julia x

  39. julia roberts June 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi SJ
    Glad you enjoyed the last show from MPH – Ralph was the perfect guest and I really think it meant a lot to him to be part of the final show from there.
    I’m not planning on going anywhere just yet – hoping to make my 20 years at least! …. crikey it sounds such a long time when you see it written down!
    Ali Young is a ‘one off’ – she has the most ‘wicked’ sense of humour. I can’t believe she fooled me for years calling body mops ‘dougals’ and I then went on, inadvertantly I might add, to convince half the viewers. It only dawned on me when she told me live on air that another beauty implement was ‘nicknamed’ a zebedee! She’s a very naughty girl.
    speak soon
    Julia x

  40. Sarah Richmond July 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    do you remember the big silver rose ring you used to wear? I saw one similar in Turkey this year and wish I’d bought it, then remembered you used to wear one, who was it by? I’m desperate to find something like it lol x
    love Sarah xx

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