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

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

How did your childhood influence your attitude towards money?

I grew up in Portsmouth where my father ran an auto repair shop and my mother was a special education teacher. We used to go to France every summer and holiday in a small gîte.

We didn’t have much money, so my father was very careful with money and quite risk averse. And I definitely inherited that. The caution with money has stayed with me and I’m really top when it comes to financial planning and security.

My wife mercilessly mocks me for all my Excel spreadsheets.

what was your first job

When I was 12 I started washing cars to earn some pocket money. By the time I was 16, I was working at a local garden center: the pay was terrible and I spent a lot of time lugging around huge bags of compost. I’m sure that’s what’s responsible for my bad back these days.

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

How did you get into TV presenting?

It was such a lucky thing. I had kind of a vague notion that television could be a pretty funny thing, but I just didn’t have a clue how to go about it. I didn’t know anyone who worked in media and it didn’t feel like a job available to me.

I had tutored Ruby Wax’s children and when she asked me what I was doing with my life and I told her I would like to appear on television, she asked if I had applied for graduate trainee programs. I hadn’t even heard of them, but I got one from Princess Productions.

The pay was terrible – I had to keep tutoring to pay my rent – but I had to do some stuff on screen and warm up the audience since I was doing a bit of stand-up at the time. After a few years I auditioned to host one of the music shows at E4 and got it. ‘I was paid so much I thought my contract had a typo’

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