Richard Arnold talks to Kate Garraway, plus insider showbiz gossip
Kate Garraway on three-day festive celebrations and why this year will be so much more magical after her recent illness
It’s been a tough couple of months for Kate Garraway after a meningitis scare caused her to take time off from hosting Good Morning Britain. But she’s back and fighting fit – just in time for Christmas! Here, Kate, 51, chats to Richard Arnold about going crosscountry over the festive period with husband Derek Draper and their children Darcey, 12, and nine-year-old William, and how her recent health problems were a reminder of just how lucky she is.
So how will you be spending Christmas this year? Christmas will be traditional as always. The routine we’ve had since we got married 13 years ago is we go up to my in-laws on Christmas Eve in Chorley. We all dress up – when the children were younger they’d often wear their nativity play clothes – now we’re in our Christmas jumpers and we head up on the M6, with the car decorated in fairy lights. We always stop at Keele services for a burger and then when we get to Derek’s parents we go to a church service. It’s very traditional, everyone has candles. It’s so lovely. It really gets us in the mood.
Can I come? It sounds idyllic! That’s just the beginning. After that, it’s all back to the house and we all pile in – some of us are on a sofa bed or a mattress: Derek’s sister, her husband, their children, our children. When we first got married it was just Derek and I, but now his sister is married and they have children and of course we do… so we are all under one roof. It’s magical.
What about Boxing Day? We do it all again! We get up and drive to my mum’s in Oxfordshire and do another Christmas lunch. My brother comes up from Cornwall with his kids and the crackers come out again. Father Christmas can’t come twice, of course, so we have little presents on the Christmas tree. More treats, but it’s not over yet.
You’re telling me there’s more… Yes! The next day we go to my uncle’s and that’s the full Garraway clan – about 30 of us now. This is going to be extra special this year because one of my cousins who got married last year is expecting a baby – super exciting – and another cousin got married in the autumn, so they’ll be there as husband and wife for the first time.
I’m exhausted already! It sounds it, but because we’ve done all the driving my
‘we all pile in – some of us are on a sofa bed’
mother-in-law won’t let me lift a finger, neither will my mum and nor will my aunt and uncle. It’s like: ‘Welcome, put your feet up and have a cuppa.’ We have the best Christmas because Derek and I drop in and drop out and there are no dishes. You don’t wash a mug up, but you do put in the miles.
This Christmas will be all the more poignant after you fell ill, I’m sure… It will be. I felt a bit groggy before work a month or so ago – just like a cold was coming on, a bit of flu lurking – so I went to bed early, woke up on the Friday when I generally co-host GMB and felt really dreadful. I went to turn the light on in the bathroom to have a shower and couldn’t look at the light and felt really sick, but I somehow got myself dressed and got in the taxi to go to work.
You must have been bad… By the time I got to work I felt really unwell, sick, flu-like, hot and cold and still couldn’t look at the lights.
We’ve done enough stories, haven’t we, over the years on Good Morning Britain about the signs for sepsis and meningitis and although I wasn’t thinking it, the producers were thinking this is not right so they suggested that I not just go home but actually to hospital.
Were you worried? Fortunately it was just a virus but it reminded me that – especially when you are doing charity work for Save The Children or Global’s Make Some Noise – there are so many youngsters for whom the scary times are actually something much more serious. It just reminds you how lucky you are and that however terrifying it was, how lucky it is that you are up and about. It makes you even more appreciative of your health and you hug your children a little bit harder, don’t you?
‘it just reminds you how lucky you are’
Speaking of good causes, last year you were never out of a Christmas jumper… I was doing the Christmas jumper challenge and so I had to wear a different one every day from 1 December, which was for Save The Children. This year I’ll be doing another challenge that will involve Christmas jumpers, too, so watch this space.
Richard Arnold and Kate
Kate with Derek, William and Darcey
Red-carpet ready – Kate and the kids attend a screening