I am not intimidated at all by Sky News.There are people who are thinking 'he's going to be caught out in hard news'. But I absorb everything. I watch, everything. I am very confident in my own abilities and what I can do. I think signing me is one of the ways that Sky is trying to raise their profile.

At GMTV, you've got weak people, not very talented people, in charge. They're threatened by anyone who's got ideas. I should have got out of there a long time ago but it paid my wages, it gave me profile, and you could be out of there by 9am.

My father was a carpetfitter and a perfectionist at what he did.When you see sweat breaking on a man's brow like that for little or no financial gain at the end, that hardens you up.

Believe me, getting up at 3.30am is nothing to what my father had to do. I You wouldn't know it to look at me now, but I used to be a middledistance runner. I've got the medals.

I'm lucky, in that I'm a sort of everyman. I'm very complimented that the research says women like me. I think I make them laugh. And men aren't threatened by me . . . they think they could have a drink with me.

I'm a working-class council house lad who's made good. I feel I've got a broad communion with an audience. But you've got to know your limitations as well.

I grade celebrity, anyway. Sir Alex Ferguson is a celebrity, and so is Des Lynam. But is so-and-so from Big Brother a celebrity? The hell they are.

They haven't earned their spurs or achieved anything at all.

A lot of people in Northern Ireland are still proud of Alex Higgins, but a lot are embarrassed by him. People in Northern Ireland are very proud of those who do well, as long as you don't forget your roots.

And I've never done that.