Insider Information


You may think that the title of this blog is about giving you a heads up on great forthcoming QVC deals – in part, it is, but it also refers to the title of a magazine QVC used to produce before we had a website… more of that later as we continue our look back over the history of QVC UK with 1997/98. Firstly though, what a glorious Bank Holiday weekend we were all treated to weather-wise, and for once I wasn’t working, so was able to enjoy it with my family. I had invited Sophie and her boyfriend and his children around to our house on Bank Holiday Monday, but there was a slight hitch. The patio area outside our back door, where we usually dine al fresco, is currently a building site, so we needed somewhere else to sit.

The solution was the area outside my gym at the bottom of the garden which, until three weeks ago, was a dreary, unused space. Chris and our son started preparing the area to lay paving slabs and, over the past couple of weeks, hindered at times by the dreadful weather (which is hard to believe with the blue skies we’ve had of late), have transformed it.

Patio before

The garden was a mess of plants in pots, garden furniture and building waste, but by Sunday evening we had cleared the lawn and ‘dressed’ the new patio area and we were able to enjoy a lovely late afternoon and evening in our new ‘secret garden’. Notice our new metal eagle sculpture has pride of place.

Patio after

Talking of eagles, my football team managed more than the required draw to keep them in the top flight for another season. They won, placing us currently at 11th in the table. This is a truly magnificent achievement after the worst start in the history of the Premier League: 7 games, 7 defeats, 0 points! What a recovery under Roy Hodgson and Ray Lewington, and what a talent we have in Wilfried Zaha, who has just been voted Premiership Player of the Month. If we win on Sunday, the last game of the season, we might even finish in the top half of the table. Commiserations to Stoke City fans, I know what the misery of relegation feels like.

So, time for another trip down memory lane, this time aided and abetted by the discovery of some Insider magazines I discovered inside one of my old storage boxes. The magazine was exclusively for QVC Insider Club members and was a mix of articles, presenter features and a catalogue of products. As I mentioned above, it was a forerunner of our website, which didn’t exist in 1997. It was produced six times a year and the earliest copy I have is Issue 7 from November/December 1997, so it must have started the previous year.

Interestingly, from within its pages, I discovered that we already had Q Cut by Christmas 1997. In this particular issue, there was a competition to match the presenters with their ‘baby’ pictures, which reminded me that Glen Thompsett, now a newsreader, was part of our presenting team at that time, but it just pre-dates the person who joined in January 1998 – all will be revealed shortly.

I also kept Issue 9, which had a feature about yours truly in it, talking about being vegetarian and being a Crystal Palace fan, amongst other things. It was the last couple of lines that made me smile though. When asked if there was anything else I would like to achieve in my life, I answered, ‘I have some great ideas for books I intend to write when I find the time – one of them set in the world of football.’ That was twenty years ago, so as you can see, writing a novel was a long-held dream of mine and now I’ve written four and two shorter stories. At this point, I’d just like to say congratulations to Jackie Kabler on the publication of her latest book yesterday.

I mentioned Oktoberfest on last week’s blog and in 1997. I went over to Munich to film at the world famous beer festival. Although it was hard work – location shoots tend to be – it was a fascinating experience and a fabulous atmosphere… at least it was during daylight hours. As well as the beer tents, there was a funfair and lots of stalls selling food and German handicrafts. We also filmed the parade through the streets of Munich and the ‘tapping’ of the first barrel. It was all very good humoured, but the decision to return and film in the evening may have been misguided. Not only did we almost get caught up in a fight, we also had to climb over people lying drunk on the grass as we headed back to our crew van – the things you didn’t see in the TV report! My favourite bit of the piece was when we found a group of Bayern Munich supporters whose kit at the time was very similar to Crystal Palace – red and blue stripes. I got them all to raise their beer glasses to a toast of ‘Eagles’!

Just prior to the latest full-time member of the Presenter team joining (I promise I’ll tell you in a minute), Jill Franks made her very first appearance on QVC on Boxing Day 1997, guest presenting a footspa, which led to her becoming a regular guest for health and personal care products.

But did you guess that it was Dale who joined in January 1998? He must have thought all his Christmases had come at once when six months into the job he was asked to accompany me and Dave Bradford on a trip to America. The three of us went to QVC’s studios in Westchester, near Philadelphia, then Dale and I went on to South Dakota, where the Black Hills Gold range of jewellery was made – any of you remember it? I still have the gold rings I bought for Chris and myself whilst out there. It was my first experience of watching jewellery being handcrafted and it made me realise how much work and attention to detail goes into each piece.

We also had some downtime and our host, Jim Whittaker, very kindly took us sight-seeing. We visited Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mountain and the town of Deadwood… I’m not sure this old-timer was particularly impressed by me sitting on his knee!

Next week: what we did to celebrate QVC’s 5th Anniversary!

It’s time for me to head in to work for our two day Get Gorgeous event. There is a Joe Browns fashion TSV today and tomorrow it’s the perfect opportunity to try three different Benefit mascaras: They’re Real, Rollerlash and BadGal Bang.

I’ve just ordered a replacement for BadGal Bang (my new fave mascara) but I’ll still be ordering the TSV tomorrow.

Have a fab weekend,
Julia x


  1. Debbie May 11, 2018 at 6:24 pm -  Reply

    Wow Julia your garden looks lovely, Chris and your son worked hard! You seem to be enjoying your look back on QVC, I certainly am. I don’t know when I joined QVC but it was a while ago. One of the first items I bought was an Oreck vacuum cleaner and it’s still going strong I also bought an Elemis Tsv that included a toilet bag,cream with navy piping and the Elemis name on it, that has gone on every holiday that I have taken since. I have just refilled it with Elemis products,of course,for a holiday that my husband and I are going on to Kefalonia next week. Keep up the reminders they are fun! Debbie Xx

    • Julia Roberts June 8, 2018 at 4:40 pm -  Reply

      Hi Debbie
      I’m pretty sure that by now you will have been to and returned from Kefalonia – I have had issues posting my blog replies -I hope you had a lovely holiday.
      Yes ‘the boys’ have done a great job but plenty more still to tackle!
      I have a purple Oreck – it is the best corded vacuum cleaner I’ve ever had although I must say I use mainly cordless now.
      Glad you are enjoying the lookbacks
      Julia x

  2. martin forbes May 11, 2018 at 8:20 pm -  Reply

    i remember blsck hills gold julia ggod to hear you reminising of the last 25 years of qv

  3. Patricia Daly May 14, 2018 at 4:42 pm -  Reply

    Praise where it’s due. Looks really nice.

    • Julia Roberts June 8, 2018 at 12:35 pm -  Reply

      Thanks Patricia, I’ll pass it on to the boys
      Julia x

  4. martin forbes May 15, 2018 at 8:09 pm -  Reply

    i also rmember in the kitchen with tefal the cooking show now your cooking enchantica with debbie flint tim goodwin samall offic ehome offic ewen you sold midi hifi s turntables also le chat watch i got a gents purple one many years ago also tony blackburns music hour big boys toys with paul lavers i haave about 4 including apink elvispresley cadillac also there were star trk atar wars showpresenters also remembered kara baker rob lockei am enjoying youe rreminises ihope they bake you a cake for being the longwast qvc presenter of course julia you are only 45 you dont look 60.congratulations on your engagement by the way

    • Julia Roberts June 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm -  Reply

      Hi Martin
      I’m pleased you are enjoying my reminiscing from the past twenty-five years. You have a good memory for the presenters and the ranges we used to have.
      Thanks for the engagement congratulations – it’s been almost two months already!
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  5. Joy June 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi – saw a show of yrs yesterday and u were r
    Talking of getting married ! I’m soo sorry if u have been recently widowed (or divorced) – hadn’t heard anything – but wish u every happiness – I was widowed years ago and not take to trust anyone yet – so if u have found love and happiness – good on u – well done – all the best for yr future x

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