HE was one of the most recognisable faces on telly over two decades – but then a tragic twist took Jeremy Kyle temporarily off the airwaves.
After a hugely successful cameo on the channel this week, the 56-year-old admits: “My suits don’t fit like they used to but I don’t care — I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in front of the camera.”
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, he adds: “I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed it until I stepped into the studio and felt the lights.
“Presenting live TV is almost like a drug, it hooks you in and I just love the format.”
Following the success of his broadcasting return — on stablemate talkRADIO last year — his new show, which will air on weeknights, will cover topical news and current affairs.
The dad of five, who has been married three times, adds: “I’ve thought about a big TV training regime — getting back to the gym, a personal trainer, intense diets — but then I saw Tyson Fury become the heavyweight champion of the world with a dad bod, so I reckon I’ll manage.
“I like a bit of a walk, but not in the direction of a gym if I can avoid it. Really, I don’t care if I’m not a finely tuned athlete as long as we make a great TV show.”
‘The right show at the right time’
On the upside, he jokes, he has also escaped bath time duties for his youngest son, who he welcomed with new wife Vicky two years ago.
He quips: “I admit it looks like an escape but I promise that wasn’t the plan — even though bath time is a total nightmare.
“I’ve promised I’ll do all the mornings to make up for it.”
In the background, Vicky laughs knowingly and Jeremy adds: “You can quote her on that.
“Actually, we’ve had a brilliant time at home together over the last few years, especially with our baby son, but they’re all pleased to have me back out at work.
“And he has never really seen me on telly before now. He’s pointing at the screen the last few weeks while I’ve been appearing, shouting ‘Daddy TV’. It’s lovely to see.”
Known as Jez to friends, the host began his broadcasting career on local radio in 1996.
It was there he created popular formats including Jezza’s Confessions, which would form the basis for his daytime TV series The Jeremy Kyle Show, which ran from 2005 to 2019.
His comeback will take a different format, featuring interviews, audience participation and breaking news alongside guests and regular panellists. He explains: “I’ve absolutely loved going back to my radio roots these last seven months.
“It’s been a lot of hard work but a lot of fun too, interviewing everyone from Jacob Rees-Mogg to Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, but also speaking to listeners every day about the things that mean most to them.
“The radio show has done really well but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to host my own TV show, too. That was the plan and it’s been something I’ve missed, but it had to be the right show at the right time with the right team.
“And now it feels like I’ve found it. It feels a bit like I’ve found my broadcasting home.”
Jeremy adds: “Piers announced he was coming to TalkTV about a week after I’d walked through the door at talkRADIO.
“And as we’ve all counted down to this week’s launch, the whole place has been buzzing.
“The launch has gone well, it’s been really slick. I mean, how can you not be impressed with a brand new channel bagging huge interviews with Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and man-of-the-moment Tyson Fury on its very first week on air.
‘Straight talking and big opinions’
“But this is just the beginning, and now the announcement has been made, I can’t wait to make my own mark on TalkTV with my own brand new show that, I guarantee, will get everyone talking.”
Jeremy’s break from our screens followed the tragic revelation that a guest on his ITV show took his own life seven days after appearing.
Three years on, an inquest has yet to be completed to determine whether the passing was connected to his time on the show.
But while admitting the decision to end the successful format came as a blow, Jeremy has regularly credited wife Vicky, who he married in October last year, with helping him handle the ordeal.
Our show is all about the viewers — who won’t just tune in but will be taking part in the show, too.
In another exclusive interview with The Sun, he admitted the incident had forced him to seek medical help after struggling to cope with what had happened.
But he adds: “I’m not alone in having been through some dark and difficult times these past few years.
“But being back at work, back on the radio and now back on TV too, it’s really fired me up and I can’t wait to get started.
“It’s going to be news, but news done in a fun way. You can expect straight talking, big opinions and star bookings, of course.
“If they’re making waves in the Press, in politics, in showbiz or sport, they will be on.
“But we won’t be all about bigwigs from Westminster or celebs on red carpets.
“Our show is all about the viewers — who won’t just tune in but will be taking part in the show, too.
“One item I’m really excited about is our ‘People’s Panel’, where we hear directly from viewers and get their honest, unfiltered take on the day’s news.
“They’ll be able to take their politician and even their presenter to task on anything they like.
“Sparks may fly but we won’t shy away from what people are really talking about and how they’re talking about it. The people that are the backbone of this country are the heart of my radio show — and they’ll be the most important people on my new TV show.
“We’ll reflect the real concerns of real people up and down the country and we’ll be getting everyone the proper answers we deserve from the people in power.
“I don’t want the show to be rigid. I want to have fun and for everyone watching to have their say, take part if they want to and always feel a part of that fun.”
Further details of Jeremy’s new show are set to be announced in the coming weeks before it hits the airwaves this summer with plenty of star guests in the pipeline.
As Jeremy puts it: “I’m back, but this is just the beginning.”