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Gloria days Gloria Hunniford doesn't want to retire after six decades on TV

What I never wanted to do at this age was sit in a chair and read a paper and watch television"

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Gloria and Terry Wogan at Children In Need

Gloria and Terry Wogan at Children In Need

Gloria with Audrey Hepburn

Gloria with Audrey Hepburn

Gloria Hunniford as our beloved screen star

Gloria Hunniford as our beloved screen star

Gloria Hunniford

Gloria Hunniford

Gloria Hunniford starting out in TV

Gloria Hunniford starting out in TV

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Gloria and Terry Wogan at Children In Need

Gloria Hunniford has no plans to hang up her microphone after six decades at the top of the TV tree.

The veteran Rip Off Britain broadcaster, who turned 80 in April, says she still gets nervous before the cameras roll but she’ll never give up the buzz of going live.

In a new documentary celebrating Northern Ireland’s most successful media personality, she talks candidly about her parents’ refusal to attend her first wedding because her husband was Catholic, the heartbreak of reporting the Troubles and the devastation of losing her daughter Caron to breast cancer.

The tables are turned when the presenter is grilled by her showbiz friends for Gloria: My Life on TV, while presenters Christine Lampard and Ruth Langsford pay tribute to the presenter for opening doors for them.

Son Michael reveals his mum will never retire and Gloria agrees.

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Gloria Hunniford as a young woman

Gloria Hunniford as a young woman

Gloria Hunniford as a young woman

“What I never wanted to do at this age was sit in a chair and read a paper and watch television,” she says.

“There is something about the buzz of doing work, and TV and radio and the buzz of the work that energises me and I just want to do more of it.

“I’m really pleased that I can do it. I want to do it, and guess what, I’m going to do it.”

Gloria has commissions for TV work which will take her well into her eighties and despite decades of live television she admits she still gets nervous before filming.

“I think everybody has a touch of nerves. I think it’s really good.

“Most of my life I have done live television and I’m still doing live television – with Rip Off Britain we do three live weeks a year.

“But I think there are always butterflies in your tummy when you hear someone counting down ‘five, four, three, two, one,’ and you are on live and you know you can screw it up and you can’t do it again.”

Pals including Eamonn Holmes, Cliff Richard, Daniel O’Donnell, Mary Peters and Richard Madeley line up to pay tribute to the media matriarch who welcomed Hollywood royalty on to the set of her chatshow Sunday Sunday.

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Gloria Hunniford with Bette Davis

Gloria Hunniford with Bette Davis

Gloria Hunniford with Bette Davis

She was one of a tiny number of broadcasters to interview Doris Day, who opened up to Gloria about being a victim of domestic violence.

She did a rare interview with Audrey Hepburn, braved a chat with the famously acid Bette Davis and grabbed headlines for grilling Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.

The broadcaster, who became the first woman on BBC network radio to be given her own show, says she learned everything about the profession when she worked in Northern Ireland.

“Everything I do in my life now is based on what I learned in Northern Ireland because it was a great grounding area. It taught me well,” she says.

“There is more luxury here in terms of people who do things for you but in Northern Ireland you had to do it yourself. That was a great learning curve.”

As a teenager in Portadown she had plans for a singing career which turned into a broadcasting career where she was immersed in covering the Troubles.

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Gloria Hunniford as a young woman

Gloria Hunniford as a young woman

Gloria Hunniford as a young woman

She still vividly recalls seeing the belongings recovered from the scene of the Abercorn Restaurant bombing in 1972 which killed two young women and injured over 130 people.

“I had to go to the lost property office and I never forget seeing one leg of a pair of tights but the other had been blown off.

“I never forget seeing a child’s teddy bear that was charred down one side.

“I never forget finding a charred driving licence of one of the young girls who died.”

Gloria also reveals that her parents Charles and May refused to attend her first wedding to husband Don because of his religion.

“I wanted to introduce Don to my parents, particularly my dad, so he came up to Belfast and it was then I had to tell him, being a Northern Ireland Protestant, that Don was a Catholic.

“I can see his face to this day. It was a bit of a shock.

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Gloria with husband Don and Caron as a baby

Gloria with husband Don and Caron as a baby

Gloria with husband Don and Caron as a baby

“He really adored Don and they became very close and he never held a grudge and neither did I.”

The loss of Blue Peter presenter daughter Caron in 2004 to breast cancer is still desperately painful for Gloria.

Sons Michael and Paul say their mum fell into a black hole of despair and pals including Cliff feared she might never recover.

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Gloria Hunniford with daughter Caron

Gloria Hunniford with daughter Caron

Gloria Hunniford with daughter Caron

“Losing a child takes you to this horrible state because you never thought it was going to happen because it’s the wrong way round.

“I just think it’s impossible to be pregnant, carry that child for nine months, give birth to that child, care for that child for 41 years in my case and love that child so deeply and then to be hit with that child’s death. It’s indescribable really,” says Gloria.

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