Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

I Thought: I Can't Let Mum Read This ; Radio Presenter and Comedy Writer Jon Holmes Has Written a Laugh- Out-Loud Memoir. but, as KATE WHITING Discovers, He Has a Serious Side Too

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

I Thought: I Can't Let Mum Read This ; Radio Presenter and Comedy Writer Jon Holmes Has Written a Laugh- Out-Loud Memoir. but, as KATE WHITING Discovers, He Has a Serious Side Too

Article excerpt

OU might not recognise his face, but chances are you'll know Jon Holmes' voice.

y As a presenter on BBC Radio 4's The Now Show, alongside Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt, as well as XFM's London breakfast show, he's heard daily in millions of homes - and his fame apparently extends to some pretty far-flung places.

A woman in the queue at a hire car place in Italy recognised his voice, and then there was the hermit Hugh Dennis met.

"Hugh was filming some kind of travel programme, which involved him being at the top of a remote mountain in China or somewhere, and after a lengthy trek to the top of the world, he and the crew came across a hermit's hut," recalls Jon, 46, whose stature (5ft 4in) is often the butt of jokes on Radio 4's satirical show.

"They asked him for an interview and he relented when told it was Hugh Dennis, to whom the hermit had listened to on his radio via (presumably) the World Service. The hermit's first question, at the top of his distant, mystical mountain: 'How tall Jon Holmes?"' Fans of The Now Show will be familiar with his cheeky-chappie quick wit, but there's an altogether more controversial side to his comedy, which once saw him fired from a late-night slot on Virgin Radio (the station was fined a record Pounds 75,000 for his 'Swearing Radio Hangman for the Under-12s').

A Portrait Of As A Young Man Holmes is in paperback Books, priced Available August The two are paired brilliantly in his new autobiography, A Portrait Of An Idiot As A Young Man: Part Memoir, Part Explanation As To Why Men Are So Rubbish.

Praised by Miranda Hart as 'Caitlin Moran meets The Inbetweeners', it's a masterclass in comedy writing, from somebody who's penned jokes for impressionist Jon Culshaw and Graham Norton, worked with Armando Iannucci and won a bevy of Sony and Bafta Awards.

It's also about to be on the reading list at his mum's church, back home in Nuneaton.

"The vicar is a fan of The Now Show and he heard about the book," explains Holmes, when we meet over curry to discuss it.

From my recent reading of it, I can already see where this is leading - and let's just be completely clear about this, it's mostly a warts and ALL account of a teenage boy in 1980s Britain, including such gems as pages of dirty mags being left in hedgerows by the 'porn fairy' and what the church youth group really got up to.

"I thought, 'I can't let my mum read this!', but then the vicar goes and recommends it for the church book group!" The book details everything from Jon's irrational fear of spiders, to the time he got kicked out of an extravagant Tory bash for ranting at Margaret Thatcher (he thinks).

But he also writes poignantly (and hilariously) about becoming a dad for the first time to daughter Isla in 2010 - he and his wife also have another daughter, Maisie, three, and live in Canterbury; he commutes to London at 3am every morning - and reveals he was adopted. …

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