‘I was paid so much I thought my contract had a typo’

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TV and radio presenter Rick Edwards started his career on XFM and later hosted shows on Channel 4’s youth programme, T4. He has been on the series River Hunters and now hosts the Radio 5 Live breakfast show, usually alongside Rachel Burden. He is married to the actress Emer Kenny and lives in London.

How did your childhood influence your attitude to money?

I grew up in Portsmouth, where my dad ran a garage and my mum was a special needs teacher. We used to drive to France every summer and have a holiday in a little gîte.

We didn’t have a great deal of money and as a consequence my dad was very cautious with money and quite risk averse. And I’ve definitely inherited that. Caution with money has stayed with me and I am really on top of financial planning and security.

My wife mocks me mercilessly about all my Excel spreadsheets.

What was your first job?

At 12 I started car-washing to get some pocket money. When I was 16 I worked in a local garden centre: the pay was terrible and I spent a lot of time just heaving huge bags of compost around. I’m sure that is responsible for my bad back these days.

After university [Edwards studied natural sciences at Cambridge] I didn’t have much of a career plan, so to pay my rent in London I tutored kids in maths and science. I enjoyed it.

How did you get into TV presenting?

It was such a serendipitous thing. I’d had a sort of vague notion that telly might be quite a fun thing to do, but I just had no idea how to get into it. I didn’t know anyone who worked in the media and it didn’t feel like a job that was available to me.

I had been tutoring Ruby Wax’s kids and when she asked me what I was doing with my life and I told her I’d like to be on telly, she asked if I’d applied to do graduate trainee schemes. I hadn’t even heard of them, but I got myself on one at Princess Productions.

The pay was terrible – I had to keep tutoring to pay my rent – but I got to do a bit of stuff on screen and some audience warm-up, since I’d been doing a bit of stand-up at the time. After a couple of years I auditioned to present one of the music shows on E4 and got it.

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