Holly Willoughby has said she feared for the safety of her children in the early days of the pandemic, when she was still travelling to the studio to film This Morning.
The TV star said her mind was set at ease by the fact she knew she was taking as many precautions as possible and felt she was making a contribution at a time of national anxiety.
Willoughby and co-star Phillip Schofield continued to broadcast from the studio throughout lockdown, despite the fact the pair had remote cameras put into their homes in case of an emergency, and even rehearsed broadcasting the show from their houses.
Willoughby, who is mother to children Harry, 11, Belle, nine and Chester, six, said: “I knew we were doing something important. I’ve got the kids at home, Dan wasn’t going into the office so I was really the only one going in and out of that house and I was worried, because I was thinking that I’ve got a responsibility for my own children.
“Having said all of that, I knew what we were doing was important, important enough for me to kind of go, ‘No, I know we’re being safe at work. I know I’m going to come home and wash my hands and take my clothes off by the door and get in the shower and all those things’, because I knew what we were doing was important so I wanted to keep doing it.”
She said the past year has made her change the way she organises her time, adding: “I think I’ve got better at that. There’s no reason why you have to go across town for a meeting.
“You can do those things on Zoom within your house and then you’re there when the kids get back from school. That type of thing, that real home time.
“The kids have really enjoyed me being back in the afternoons a lot more and most afternoons I am, because This Morning is in the morning, but quite often I’ll have bits and bobs to do.
“So for me, just having that time at home, I don’t want to give too much of that back now.”
Describing how prepared the team were to broadcast from home, Schofield said: “We all had remote cameras put into our homes, all of us. The full-on kit.
“We had two afternoons of rehearsals with earpieces, cameras, with autocue, with monitors. All set up like a set.
“When I was 10, that would’ve just about sent me over the excitement edge.
“To sit watching the TV and have a full-on studio set up by the side of me at the dining room table, just in case it was needed.
“So then to find it for real – a TV camera in your house, connected up, ready to go, earpiece on the table, I can jump in there at a moment’s notice?
“Thankfully it’s gone. It was an amazing moment when we all realised that actually I don’t think we need this, we can take it down now.”
Reflecting on what the show achieved during lockdown, he added: “When Diana died in that tunnel [in 1997] and This Morning was on the next day, Richard and Judy held onto the nation’s hands with dear Denise [Robertson] and had a big open phone-in and got the absolute pulse of the nation – the feeling and the grief, and weren’t afraid to show the grief – that in a microcosm is what This Morning is and can be.
“And then you just explode that and do it for a year. I think you suddenly realise, that’s exactly what we’re here for, that’s what we do.”