Robert Rinder unsure about taking Piers Morgan’s seat on GMB

Sixty Seconds Rob Rinder

Judge Rinder has opened up on his career on TV (Picture: Rex)

Judge and radio presenter Robert Rinder, 43, on his love of classical music, Loose Men and getting an MBE with his mum.

You’re presenting a series on Classic FM celebrating some of the greatest classical musicians and composers who happen to be gay…

There are innumerable privileges you get just by being on the telly and then finally you land the gig that’s everything you hoped you’d be able to do and they pay you for it!

There’s no clean way of saying it’s basically a job climax.

How did it come about?

I don’t want to say I’ve been knocking at Classic FM’s door every day asking for a job because that would be true and tragic.

But my passion is classical music and I love how Classic FM makes it accessible.

I thought it would be great to do something with them for Pride month and it occurred to me we don’t discuss the musicians and composers who were LGBT.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to celebrate them and rethink the narratives of people whose lives were hidden?

Classic FM said yes. Lots of stations might have throat-cleared and thought, ‘Not for us.’

Many composers lived when being gay wasn’t easy…

We look at the range of composers and they had different experiences.

From Tchaikovsky, for whom we have solid evidence he took his own life because of a failed relationship with a man, to Bernstein, who lived a straight life but had an enduring gay relationship, to the same-sex relationships of Chopin and Handel.

When did you discover classical music?

People think I sound like I was mugged by a Mitford and I grew up dead posh – nothing could be further from the truth.

I grew up very proudly in a working-class community in Southgate, although I’ve been back there recently and it’s basically a suburb of Muswell Hill.

It was up the road from Amy Winehouse – our dads knew each other – and my friend Rachel Stevens.

My dad’s a black-cab driver and my mum was a stay-at-home mum until she started her own company.

The first piece I heard was Rachmaninov’s third piano concerto, then I remember watching the cellist Natalie Clein win Young Musician of the Year in 1994, who’s my only blush towards a woman – she’s now one of my closest friends.

Classical music wasn’t in the backdrop at all but it became my thing, partly because of an intuitive sense of my own difference.

It’s my solace, my escape. I’ve been at opera and had moments of such emotional connection. It twangs at the strings of your soul.

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock (10366111ca) Rachel Stevens 'This Morning' TV show, London, UK - 19 Aug 2019 RACHEL STEVENS: LOOKING BACK ON 20 YEARS IN SHOWBUSINESS She's reached for the stars, said sweet dreams to her LA Ex, and given us more, more, more. Twenty years since finding fame with S Club 7 - Rachel Stevens is putting on her platforms, as she prepares for a retro night of singing and dancing in her new stage show, ?Rip It Up The 70s?. Ahead of rehearsals, Rachel joins us to talk about managing fame & motherhood, and what she wishes she could have told her younger self.

Rob grew up round the corner from pal Rachel Stevens in working-class Southgate (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

What instruments, if any, do you play?

‘Playing’ is too much. Let’s call it ‘plonking’. I’ve got a white baby grand piano, which was my dream, and I finally bought one as a 40th birthday present to myself.

I’ve been singing and plonking little compositions to my farting dog throughout lockdown.

Also, I taught kids Tudor history on Zoom and I’d invent little tunes for them.

You did panel chat-show Loose Men recently. Did you enjoy that?

I loved everybody on the panel but I was especially impressed with dancer Jordan Banjo.

I think it’s a good opportunity for men to feel enabled and publicly to talk about some of the things they might not otherwise.

You had people requesting you replace Piers Morgan after your stint on GMB. What do you think about that?

I can’t imagine what it must do to your emotional chemistry and relationship with the world to get up every day at 4am to then be shouted at by the British public.

You’re good mates with GMB’s Susanna Reid, though, so it could work well…

I doubt it. I think she does her thing and I do mine, and she’s really great at it. She doesn’t always get the credit she deserves. It’s an incredibly tough gig.

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock (12200558v) Susanna Reid 'Good Morning Britain' TV show, London, UK - 08 Jul 2021

Robert doesn’t envy Susanna Reid’s job at GMB (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Did you enjoy doing Gogglebox with her?

That was a laugh. Obviously she had mild antipathy to my dog but he got his own back – he’s extremely flatulent. She and Rocco secretly love one another.

You’re being awarded an MBE this year at the same time as your mum, Angela Cohen, both for your work around Holocaust education…

She’s not just been part of the conversation of the meaning of the Holocaust survivors but president of the dwindling ’45 Aid Society – those who came to this country after the war and built a community.

Would you choose a male dancer if you did Strictly again?

I always said if I was invited to do the Christmas special, I’d do it with Anton du Beke.

But now he’s not available I could see myself doing a salsa with Giovanni Pernice or Graziano Di Prima.

If they’re offering, I’m in!

Robert Rinder’s Classical Passions is broadcast every Sunday until Aug 8, 9pm to 10pm, on Classic FM – available on 100-102 FM, DAB and Global Player.

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