Mr Motivator makes TV return on BBC to keep Britain fit in lockdown

Fitness star says he is ‘very different’ to Joe Wicks as he returns amid Covid-19 crisis

Mr Motivator has said he does not feel threatened by the success of Joe Wicks, as the pioneering fitness star prepares to return to the nation’s television screens on a new BBC One programme designed to keep the nation healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The presenter, best known for his appearances on GMTV in the 1990s, and his brightly coloured Lycra outfits, told the Guardian he was confident that the public appetite for his broadcasts had not diminished: “Motivator – you mention my name, and everybody knows Motivator. Walk down the road right now – well, not right now – and they know Motivator.”

Motivator, real name Derrick Evans, praised Wicks’ success in reaching millions of viewers every day with his livestreamed YouTube workouts for schoolchildren. “It’s his time now, he’s great, he’s very different to me. I’m still doing what I do and I’m 67. Joe is coming from the children to the family; I’m going from the older people to the family. I use music all the time; Joe doesn’t use music. So we’re very different.”

In recent years Motivator has increasingly focused on mental health issues and a more holistic approach to wellness, rather than the exaggerated personality known to viewers in the past. “I’m not prepared to just come on and jump around, that was just part of what I’m about. Television was interested in the entertainment side of me, not what was deep inside of me ... Physical fitness is only part of the pillars that hold up our wellbeing. Are you in love? Are you out of love? How are you going to cope with everything that life throws at you? It’s a bit deep but that’s where I’ve always been.”

Motivator will be appearing to offer his tips on the newly commissioned HealthCheck UK Live, airing on weekdays at 10am on BBC One from Monday. The show is being launched to directly address the concerns of viewers who are in self-isolation, offering tips, especially to older viewers, on how to keep healthy and happy. It will be hosted by Michelle Ackerley and Dr Xand van Tulleken, along with Angela Rippon, who is currently self-isolating.

In addition Motivator is launching a short daily livestreamed workout at midday every day, titled the Daily Dozen, on his Twitter and forthcoming YouTube channel.

Motivator said his childhood in Jamaica experiencing extreme weather had shaped his approach to the lockdown. “You learn from a hurricane: you need your health, you need food in the fridge, and we need each other. Hurricanes have a really cleansing effect on us in the Caribbean – you wave to the neighbours and see if they’re all right. In this case we’re going to have to learn a different kind of language and some positive short-term things we can do to reduce stress levels. Even if it’s just putting a sign in the garden saying ‘do not disturb’ and going to the garden shed.”

Asked for his advice for Guardian readers who are self-isolating, Motivator said: “Every morning when you get up, you should do it with purpose: don’t keep your pyjamas on all day. Get dressed. Put your trainers on. Every hour my alarm clock goes off and reminds me to get up and do something.

“Then there’s always music on in my home. Right now every one us should be dancing like there’s no tomorrow. So put that combination together.”


Jim Waterson Media editor

The GuardianTramp

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