Richard Madeley & Judy Finnigan Biography

PHOTO: Richard Madeley & Judy Finnigan

Husband and wife team, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, have become the UK’s most popular and influential TV presenters.

Having married in 1986, the couple found fame fronting the Granada programme 'This Morning' in 1988, from Liverpool's Albert Docks.

Madeley began his career as a journalist on local papers in Essex and east London, moving to BBC Radio Cumbria as a news producer and presenter. Finnigan was born and brought up in Manchester, and joined Granada as a researcher in 1971 and, in 1974, became Anglia Television's first female reporter. She rejoined Granada in 1980 and worked on a range of programmes including 'Flying Start', 'Granada Reports' and 'Scramble'.

The pair first met in 1982 when they were married to other people. Judy was married to journalist David Henshaw, with whom she had twin sons Dan and Tom in 1977. However, both Richard and Judy divorced their partners and married in 1986 before being given their own show.

The magazine style show 'This Morning' proved an instant success and eventually relocated to London in 1996. Attracting top celebrity guests, the show also caused controversy by featuring a group of nude guests from the Naturalist Foundation, conducting a testicular examination of a volunteer live on the show, and a televised gay wedding between two viewers.

A couple of lows points in the successful run saw Madeley arrested, and later acquitted, on charges of shoplifting champagne from Tesco in 1990, and Finnigan's three month 'health' break from the show in 1997. However, the couple bounced back, most notably at the National Television Awards when Finnigan's top came undone and she flashed her bra live on stage and to a television audience of millions!

The 13-year run of the show came to an end in 2001, when the couple announced they were to move to Channel 4. The lucrative deal with Channel 4 saw the couple move to a teatime slot. In 2002, they wrote their joint autobiography called 'Richard and Judy: The Autobiography'.

Initial ratings were poor, but it wasn't long before the new show began to pick up, thanks to high profile guests such as Hillary and Bill Clinton. The show became so successful that the couple signed on for a further three years with the channel to continue working on the series.

In November 2007, the couple revealed that they would be giving up their daytime show when their contract ended in 2008 to focus on other TV projects. They also confirmed plans to present another two series of their teatime show on Channel 4, as well as their two very successful TV "clubs", the Richard & Judy Book Club and the Richard & Judy Wine Club.

The former featured literature by new and unknown writers. Books were recommended by the couple for their viewers to read themselves. One title was suggested each week and the most popular of the year was awarded the title 'Read of the Year', with the announcement being made at an annual award ceremony.

However in April 2008, the couple announced that they would be quitting their teatime slot on Channel 4 to host an hour-long "high octane" primetime show on the digital network UKTV.

Unfortunately, the debut show of 'Richard and Judy's New Position' only attracted 200,000 people and with ratings continuing to fall, the show was axed ending in July 2009.

Since leaving primetime TV, Richard has appeared on 'This Morning' alone to promote his autobiography, while the pair joined the show's current presenters on 5 October 2009 to celebrate its 21st birthday.

The couple live with their two children in Hampstead, London. Jack Christopher was born in 1986 and Chloe in 1987. They are set to become grandparents in October 2012 as Judy's son Tom and his wife are expecting their first child together.

Judy recently told The Mirror that she doesn't want to return to TV presenting and is happy to focus on their book club and own novels. In September 2010, the couple launched an off-screen version of their book club, choosing novels for sale in WHSmith.

Since its launch, they have helped sell 4.5 million books, with its first recommendation 'Sister' by Rosamund Pike becoming the fastest-selling debut in the 200-year history of the shop.

Both Richard and Judy are pursuing their own writing careers, with Judy releasing her first novel 'Eloise' in October 2012. It is a ghost story set in Cornwall about a young mother who dies from breast cancer but maintains a presence in the world.

Richard's book is expected to be finished by August 2012. It is a romantic thriller set in the Second World War featuring an amoral and psychopathic RAF pilot.

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