9 crap jobs TV presenters had before they were famous

Tom Eames

From Digital Spy

In the era of reality TV and social media, someone can be massively famous overnight with hardly any effort.

It wasn't always that way. And even now, it's not often that TV presenters instantly land a top gig straight off the bat. They'll have to do a lot of embarrassing crud first on the road to getting their own chat show or a huge Saturday-night extravaganza.

Here are nine examples of what your favourite telly hosts got up to before they finally hit the mainstream.

We're not including Ant & Dec. As embarrassing as some of their PJ & Duncan days were ('Eternal Love' is a fave), they hit the ground running.

1. Dermot O'Leary – a runner for Mel & Sue (and snogging Mel)

Photo credit: ITV / BBC

One of Dermot's first ever jobs in the media was running around after Mel & Sue back in the late 1990s on Light Lunch. Not a bad way to start, if you ask us. Okay, maybe that's not an embarrassing thing to admit, but we like the idea of a little Dermot being shouted at by his future peers.

Best of all, though, is that Mel appears certain that she once snogged Dermot at a drunken party, totally exploiting the power imbalance, the minx. Watch this clip from Would I Lie to You? above to find out more.

2. Holly Willoughby – flirting with Paul off S Club 7 in a forgotten TV series

Before turning to presenting work, This Morning favourite Holly was a young actress, and one of her first appearances was in the S Club vehicle Artistic Differences in 2000.

In it, she played a character named Zoe who Paul thought he had a chance with. And for some reason they made her pose in her underwear. We're not sure if Paul ever pulled her.

3. Jeremy Clarkson – selling Paddington Bear toys

Photo credit: Hamleys / BBC

Long before he entered the world of motoring and Top Gear, Jezza's parents put him down for private school despite not being able to pay for it.

That was until they made two Paddington Bear stuffed toys that proved so popular they made enough to give little Jeremy a posh education – and Jeremy was one of their young salesmen. Although he was later expelled from Repton School for "drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself".

4. James Corden – being really shy around Meat Loaf

Long before he was famous in any capacity, a 17-year-old James won the chance to interview Meat Loaf for Good Morning with Anne and Nick in 1995.

The Loafster offers James some wise advice about doing the best he can ever achieve, and it certainly looks like he took that wisdom on board two decades later.

5. Susanna Reid – doing a bit of acting

Photo credit: Channel 4

Sadly, there's no video evidence of this, but Good Morning Britain host Susanna started out her career as an actress.

Aged 12, she appeared in a stage production of Agatha Christie's Spider's Web in 1982, and later appeared in Channel 4's The Price alongside Dame Harriet Walter in 1985, which the photo above is taken from.

6. Davina McCall – fronting a 1980s pop group

Photo credit: Rex Shutterstock

Davina actually started her career as a singer way back when. Having performed in a band called Lazy Bear while still in school, at 19 she attempted to become a solo artist.

Back then, she was dating the actual Eric Clapton (we know), who helped produce her demo tape, but alas it didn't take off. But we doubt she cares now.

7. Jonathan Ross – being rubbish at skating

Back in 1984, a young Jonathan was a researcher on Trak Trix, a Channel 4 street sports show for kids, featuring anything from BMXing to go-karting.

Poor Jonathan was clearly corralled into donning some embarrassing skater gear and making an absolute tit of himself. Good on him for not falling over once, though.

8. Professor Brian Cox – keyboarding it up in a hair-metal band

Bit of an obvious one this, but there's a small chance you had no idea that science mcboffin Brian Cox was once a member of the short-lived 1990s techo pop band D:Ream. And he very much proved that things could only get better by ditching the synths and turning to science.

But even better than that, he was also the keyboardist in the 1980s hair-metal group Dare. We think you can probably pick him out from the lineup above.

9. James May – getting fired from Autocar magazine

Photo credit: Amazon Prime

Before turning to radio and television, James was a writer and editor of various publications, including motoring mag Autocar. And he was quite a naughty boy.

In 1992, he was fired from the magazine after an epic cheeky experiment. At the end of the year, its 'Road Test Year Book' issue was published. Each spread featured four reviews and each review started with a large red letter. James said this "was extremely boring and took several months".

And so to make things a tad more fun, James wrote each review so that the initials on the first four spreads read 'ROAD', 'TEST', 'YEAR' and 'BOOK'. Later spreads appeared to have random letters, starting with 'SOYO' and 'UTHI'. However, fans eventually realised that the letters actually spelt out a message. In full, it read: "So you think it's really good, yeah? You should try making the bloody thing up; it's a real pain in the arse."

Photo credit: Autocar

Missing the joke initially, the editors later discovered his cheeky game via the readers (some of whom assumed they'd get a prize for spotting it), and he lost his job. Spoilsports.

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