Sam Thompson on taking his top off for Lewis Capaldi and 'hero' Brad Pitt
The reality star and presenter, 30, on getting dry mouth with Brad Pitt and being a ‘hamster’ in a social experiment.
How do you feel about getting your new weekday evening Hits Radio show?
I love it. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was young, way before I joined any reality show. I remember listening to Chris Tarrant and thinking it must be cool to work in radio. We did a few demos… coming from a reality TV background, you have a longer waiting period to see if you’re any good at it because radio is a different ball-game. I thought I’d keep knocking until they at least gave me a stand-in for someone.
Did you get advice from anyone?
Matt Edmondson is brilliant. He’s got a really calming voice but has a lot of fun in him as well. He gave me some pointers. Fleur East, who does the breakfast show on Hits, is so accommodating and lovely. She said, ‘Sit down, let me tell you what to do.’ It felt like I had my big sister there, which I’ll never forget because I was really nervous when I first started.
You’re joined by lots of guests. Who have you been most excited about so far?
Music-wise, Lewis Capaldi, because I’m a huge fan. He was performing at Hits Live last year, which I was hosting, and he said, ‘If I point at you, you’ve got to take your top off,’ not thinking I’d take his word for it – but I did! He came in for an interview and was so down to earth.
Brad Pitt was absolutely awesome and a hero of mine. I was sweating, I had dry mouth. I called him ‘Brad’ because I didn’t know whether to call him ‘Brad Pitt’ to his face. But calling him ‘Brad’ sounded weird, too. You know when someone’s not of this world? It’s like, no question is good enough for you. And he was looking at me really politely, waiting. I thought it was a complete dumpster fire but actually, when you watch it back, it turned out to be a really nice interview.
Who would you like to interview?
Leonardo DiCaprio or Idris Elba. And Ricky Gervais would be massive for me. I find his mind absolutely fascinating and would love to pick his brains. I’d love to speak to Stephen Fry, too. I’m a massive geek about Greek mythology.
You’re also doing the Love Island podcast and Aftersun. Has your girlfriend, Zara McDermott, given you any help seeing as she was on the show?
I ask her questions about Love Island and I need better answers. Like, ‘What happens behind the scenes when you have your day off? I need more.’ Weirdly, her series was the one I didn’t watch because I was filming Made In Chelsea. A lot of people say the winter Love Island is never the same as the summer one but it’s probably the best I’ve ever watched.
You and Zara look like you have a lot of fun online as well…
Yeah, we do. She saw Kate Middleton last week and spoke about these really interesting deep topics to do with things that are far past my pay grade as an intellectual and she literally came home and asked, ‘What have you been doing?’ I’m like, ‘I did a TikTok video.’ The contrast is brilliant.
How much did Made In Chelsea change your life?
I started when I was 20 with the mental age of a 15-year-old as my sister Louise’s annoying little brother. It’s almost like a past life. I know how reality TV is viewed by a lot of people in this industry, especially the higher you get. But it’s always got a special place in my heart.
I joined it for completely the wrong reasons – to get into nightclubs for free and to go on a date. I was a very late bloomer and still didn’t get either. But it opened my eyes to an industry that I’m now fortunate enough to be a part of.
How does it feel to have your dating history so well known?
I don’t mind. At the end of the day, everything is logged anyway on your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – people can find anything about you, we’re in the digital age. People always say, ‘What about when your kids watch?’ I’m like, ‘I’ll be able to say, “Don’t do what dad did. Let me take you to season three, episode four, and show you why you shouldn’t be treating a girl like that.”’ It can be used for the greater good!
Which of the reality shows have you enjoyed doing the most?
All of them. I only do things if I like the idea of them. How awesome is it to be a hamster in a social experiment? I did Big Brother years ago and I got loads of people telling me I shouldn’t do it if I’m trying to get into the presenting game. And I was like, ‘I don’t care’. I really wanted to sit in that chair and go ‘Hello Big Brother!’ because I watched it when I was a kid.
SAS Who Dares Wins was incredibly hard but one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. Made In Chelsea got me started and Celebs Go Dating is where I met Pete Wicks. So everything I’ve done has had a really positive influence in my life.
Thompson is on Hits Radio from Monday to Thursday at 7pm. The new series of his podcast Staying Relevant is out next week, @SamThompsonUK
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