The rise and rise of Alison Hammond! How the TV star went from appearing on Big Brother to clear ‘traumatising debt’ to presenting This Morning and the BAFTAs – before being named Bake Off host
- Alison Hammond, 38, has been named as the new presenter for Bake Off
- READ MORE: Alison CONFIRMS she will replace comedian Matt Lucas
She has gone from reality TV stardom to British daytime queendom – but it would seem that Alison Hammond’s light is only getting brighter with each year.
The beloved national treasure, 48, has announced that she’ll continue to delight audiences – this time as comedian Matt Lucas’ replacement on The Great British Bake-Off.
She first became a household name when she appeared on Big Brother in 2002, a decision she later revealed was down to wanting to clear her ‘traumatising debt’.
And despite humble beginnings and a strained relationship with her ‘shady’ father while growing up in Birmingham, Alison has gone from strength to strength in her career, having just last month hosted the BAFTAs with Richard E. Grant.
While most will recognise her cheerful presence on This Morning – usually alongside co-host and pal Dermot O’Leary, 49, Alison has upped her earning potential with fashion deals, voiceover work and acting in the past.
She has gone from reality TV stardom to British daytime queendom – but it would seem that Alison Hammond’s light is only getting brighter with each year
While most will recognise her cheerful presence on This Morning – usually alongside co-host and pal Dermot O’Leary , 49, Alison has upped her earning potential with fashion deals, voiceover work and acting in the past
She’s also starred on more reality TV, appearing on I’m A Celebrity in 2010 and Celebrity Masterchef in 2014 and Celebrity Fit Club, to name a few.
As of 2023, the TV star is estimated to be worth anywhere in between £2-4million – a far cry from the days in which she was struggling to make ends meet.
But while Alison’s professional life appears to have hit an all-time high, she recently revealed she was single, after previously finding love with landscape gardener Ben Hawkins.
MailOnline takes a look at her incredible rise to becoming a national treasure and TV superstar…
EARLY LIFE AND CHILDHOOD
Despite humble beginnings and a strained relationship with her ‘shady’ father while growing up in Birmingham, Alison has gone from strength to strength in her career (pictured, Alison with her mother)
Alison Hammond has always been proud of her Birmingham roots, which were planted when the star was born in the city’s Kingstanding district in 1975.
The media personality, whose mother Maria was a Jamaican immigrant that held several jobs to provide for her children, grew up participating in acting workshops from as young as 11 – but couldn’t afford to go to drama school.
Despite her cheerful disposition, the presenter has in past also opened up about a strained relationship with her father while growing up.
Earlier this year, Alison detailed growing up with her late drug smuggler dad Clifford, whom she described as ‘shady’.
The This Morning presenter opened up on how Clifford – who died in 2020 – and his less than savory lifestyle in her book You’ve Got To Laugh, with excerpts serialised in The Mirror.
In her memoirs the star recalled spending time with her father, who had split from Maria, and detailed how he was both ‘respected and feared’ within his community in Jamaica.
Birmingham native Alison’s mother only discovered that Clifford, who imported trucks between the UK and the Caribbean, was married with kids once she was pregnant with Alison.
And while she was brought up single-handed by her mother, Alison still had contact with her dad, telling of one occasion he visited from Jamaica, coming to her mother’s home straight from the airport.
She said: ‘One day, he came straight to our house from the airport. See these boots?! he said, grinning down at his feet. “These are the most expensive pair of snakeskin boots in the world”. “Why are they so expensive?” my mum asked. He bent down, unzipped a boot and a load of ganja fell out.
Clifford passed away in June 2020, just four months after Alison’s beloved mum Maria lost her battle with liver and lung cancer.
Taking to Instagram at the time, the TV presenter told of her sadness at not having spent much time with him and being unable to attend his funeral.
Throwback: Alison applied to go on Big Brother in 2002 to try and clear her ‘traumatising’ debt but she could never have predicted how her stint on the show would change her life
The public first fell in love with Alison when she appeared on the hit reality show Big Brother in 2002, admitting she applied to try and clear her ‘traumatising’ debt.
But the star could never have predicted how her stint on the programme would change her life completely.
Alison was a holiday rep when she appeared on the Channel 4 viewing, proving to be hugely popular.
The media personality revealed she had racked up huge debts of £3,000 in her normal pre-fame job and recalled believing it was a ‘good idea’ to go on the show and win the £70,000 prize money.
Speaking to On Jessie Ware’s Table Manners podcast in 2022, she said: ‘I was in Tunisia, repping, and everyone was reading the papers about Brian Dowling – he had won Big Brother.
‘And they were saying “you should go on Big Brother, you’d win it”. And at the time, I had a debt of like £3,000 and at the time I was traumatised by.’
‘Every time I got paid I just couldn’t make that debt go down. So I thought that’d be a good idea to win £70,000 going in a TV show.’
Despite her gamble, Alison’s risk didn’t immediately pay off as she missed out on the winner’s prize fund of £70,000 and instead got expenses of just £30 per day after only lasting two weeks on the show – which was won by her pal Kate Lawler.
However, she was truly memorable and had an iconic TV moment when she fell through a patio table after jumping up and down on it to spot security over the wall.
RISE TO TV STARDOM…
Having a ball: Alison co-hosts This Morning with Dermot O’Leary and the pair regularly fall about in fits of giggles
Cute couple: She famously went through with a fake wedding with The Rock on the show back in 2017 during a hilarious interview, with him referring to her as his wife five years on
Alison’s charisma instantly made her a Big Brother success story, hence propelling her start into presenting.
Despite not winning, she had landed a gig presenting This Morning, with her role growing over the years.
Alongside Dermot O’Leary, the duo are hugely popular and Alison has interviewed the likes of Michael Bublé, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Lady Gaga and Hugh Jackman.
She famously went through with a fake wedding with The Rock on the show back in 2017 during a hilarious interview, with him referring to her as his wife five years on.
The star is even revered for her ability to warm to anyone, including infamously cool interviewee Harrison Ford, who was left in stitches after meeting her.
Who knew? She appeared as an actress in British children’s television drama series The Dumping Ground in 2016, based on the books by Jacqueline Wilson
When she celebrated her 20 year anniversary as host of the show, she said: ‘I’ve had the best 20 years. Every day has been the best and thank you to the viewers for watching. All I ever want to do is make you guys happy.’
Fellow host Holly Willoughby said, ‘Alison, that is exactly what you do. You make everyone so happy all the time. Whoever’s around you – you are so infectious with your spirit and joy. We love you.’
Phillip Schofield added, ‘She is, without doubt, one of the best friends you could ever have. She’s an amazing person.’
Holly and Phillip led the tributes from the studio at the time with poignant video messages from the likes of Dermot O’Leary, Rylan Clark, Strictly Come Dancing star Aljaz Škorjanec, Rick Astley, former Big Brother host Davina McCall and even Alison’s teenage son Aiden.
While the greatest role she has played is as herself, Alison has also put in the work to be seen as an actor in her own right.
She had appeared in a show called Palace Hill from 1988–1990 proving she was always destined for the TV screen.
After appearing in Big Brother, she also got a brief part on Doctors in 2002.
The star has even appeared in pantomime in productions such as Snow White, Jack And The Beanstalk, Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin.
After that, she starred in British children’s television drama series The Dumping Ground in 2016, based on the books by Jacqueline Wilson.
The programme, from the Tracy Beaker franchise, focuses on the lives and experiences of young people who live in a children’s home with their care workers in care.
In 2018, Alison made her Hollywood debut in the animated film Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.
…BUT A FALLING OUT WITH FELLOW HOSTS
In December 2020, Eamonn Holmes, 61, and Ruth Langford, 60, who filled in for Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on Fridays, were cut from their weekly slot to be replaced with Alison, 45, and Dermot O’Leary
In December 2020, Eamonn Holmes, 61, and Ruth Langford, 60, who filled in for Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on Fridays, were cut from their weekly slot to be replaced with Alison, 45, and Dermot O’Leary.
In an interview conducted before the shakeup was revealed, Alison claimed that only main hosts Holly and Phillip are off-camera pals.
The TV personality, who attended Ruth and Eamonn’s 2010 wedding, told The Sun: ‘We’re not on top of each other, do you know what I mean?
‘Phillip and Holly, they go on holiday together. They genuinely love each other, in a brother and sister way.
‘But literally when we finish everyone wants to go home to their families and see them. We’ve got it just right I think. But no they all go and do their own thing.’
After it was confirmed that Alison and Dermot, 47, would be replacing the couple, a media storm exploded with talk of rage behind-the-scenes.
Alison shared a cryptic message, as she took to her Instagram account to tell her followers that ‘strong people don’t tear down others’.
Days earlier, Ruth was forced to deny she was making a dig at Alison, after it was revealed the former Big Brother star will replace her on the flagship daytime show.
Amid the ongoing drama, Alison posted a cartoon picture of a girl and a dolphin rising to the surface of the ocean together, with the words: ‘Strong people don’t put others down. They lift them up.’
BECOMING A NATIONAL TREASURE
Here comes the hot-stepper: Alison compete in the twelfth series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 on BBC One
With her status in British television, the public couldn’t get enough of her on screens.
And while Big Brother was where she got her start, the star has featured across a selection of reality TV programmes.
In 2010, Alison appeared became a contestant on the tenth series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! but sadly, she was the fourth contestant to leave the show.
She’s also appeared on Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrities Under Pressure and Big Star’s Little Star. Alison has also appeared on Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, performing as Nina Simone and Channel 4 show Celebs Go Dating.
In 2014, Alison took part in the ninth series of Celebrity MasterChef on BBC One, before being asked to compete in the twelfth series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 on BBC One.
She partnered with dance professional Aljaž Škorjanec but despite their popularity, they were voted off in the seventh week of competition and finished 10th.
In 2020, Alison appeared as a celebrity guest on game show The Wheel on BBC One.
Earning the big bucks: 2022 was a big year for the in-demand star who then secured deals with NatWest and Sainsbury’s, (pictured), starring alongside the voice of Stephen Fry
Alison is now set to be worth anything between £2-4million and it’s easy to see how she has monetised her success through adverts and endorsement deals.
In 2008, she became the face of Crown Bingo.
Four years later. she began working as a brand ambassador with furniture company DFS and seven years later, she signed up as a WeightWatchers ambassador.
In 2020 she started working on a campaign with Asda and a year later she collaborated with InTheStyle on a curve clothing range.
She announced the news on Instagram at the time saying: ‘This drop is a curve exclusive collection, with pieces available in sizes 12-30 with options for petite and tall! Let me know which looks you’re loving!’
In 2021, Alison released an autobiography called ‘You’ve Got to Laugh: Stories from a life lived to the full’.
2022 was a big year for the in-demand star who then secured deals with NatWest and Sainsbury’s, starring alongside the voice of Stephen Fry.
A moment: In 2021, Alison made history as she was the first black TV presenter to be shortlisted for an NTA award, although sadly she did not win
In 2021, Alison made history as she was the first black TV presenter to be shortlisted for an NTA award, although sadly she did not win.
She said it was ‘about time’ more diverse presenters are recognised at the awards ceremony.
Alison was the sixth woman ever to be nominated in the category.
She said ahead of the awards that if she ‘did win it she would win it for everyone of colour’ and that it ‘means the world that people voted for her’.
Adding: ‘I think it’s absolutely wonderful and about time. For me, it’s about the fact that people have actually voted for me.
‘People who watch me on the TV have actually voted for little old me! It just means so much and I just want to say thank you to everyone who voted. It really means the world.’
Asked if she feels that this will pave the way for more diverse presenters to be recognised she said: ‘I really, really hope so, I do feel change is happening, however, it is slow.
‘But for me, I never ever dared to dream this big, this was never even on my radar to be in this category. I might have to make my dreams a little bit bigger now!’
Glitterati: Alison hosted the BAFTA Studio on Sunday night, an immersive and access-all-areas experience, as part of the BBC One broadcast of the ceremony
Last month, Alison made yet another breakthrough when she hosted the BAFTA Studio on, an immersive and access-all-areas experience, as part of the BBC One broadcast of the ceremony.
The former Big Brother star dazzled in a floor-length black gown for the occasion, with the garment adorned with glistening sequins.
She was in good company on the night with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Lily James, Billie Piper and Maya Jama all in attendance.
While actor Richard E. Grant, 65, hosted the main ceremony, Alison is presenting Bafta Studio.
‘We’re going to have a lot of fun bringing the glitz and glam of backstage to everyone watching at home around the world.
‘From hanging out with the stars to celebrating the biggest night for cinema, and joining the discussions with film fans, get ready for good vibes only.’
Single: Alison confirmed she’s no longer with Ben Hawkins (pictured last month) as she declared that she was single and hoped to ‘find a nice man’
Alison, who is currently understood to be single, has one son called Aiden, who was born in 2005.
She shares him with Mancunian taxi driver Noureddine Boufaied.
They were married when she found out her pregnancy shortly after appearing on the Channel 4 reality show.
The star refused to name who the father was at the time, but later posed for a magazine shoot together while she was three months pregnant.
It is not clear when she split from Noureddine but she later went on to get engaged to security guard Jamie Savage in 2014 before calling time on the romance in 2017.
It was reported earlier this year that she was engaged to her partner Ben, when her would be father-in-law, Colin Hawkins exclusively told MailOnline the couple ‘proposed to one another.’
However Alison awkwardly revealed she is not engaged to partner Ben during an episode of the ITV show amid speculation that they were to tie the knot.
Meanwhile earlier this week Aliso confirmed she is single, sparking speculation that she’s split from partner Ben Hawkins – just weeks after it was reported they were ‘engaged’.
The presenter let slip her relationship status on Friday’s This Morning, when she exclaimed: ‘well I am single!’ while discussing the new Love Island spin-off show with co-host Dermot.
MailOnline contacted Alison’s representatives for comment at the time.
Meanwhile last year, Alison candidly admitted that she ‘hasn’t always been there’ for her son Aiden, due to ‘sacrifices’ that come with being a high-profile TV personality.
She attended the BAFTA Television Awards with her 17-year-old and gushed about how much it meant to bring him along.
Speaking to Vick Hope on the red carpet, the single mum said: ‘I’ve got my son here today, you know, with this… with working in television and stuff comes sacrifices.
‘I haven’t always been been there for my son, so this is a wonderful recognition, and I’m so honoured that the BAFTA’s nominated me really.’
Icing on the cake: Taking to Instagram on Friday, Hammond confirmed her new role by sharing a short video of herself and co-host Noel Fielding alongside judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith as iced figurines atop a large, Bake Off-themed cake
Alison has this week confirmed she will replace Matt Lucas as the host of The Great British Bake Off later this year.
The This Morning presenter had originally been mooted as a potential replacement for Little Britain star Lucas, who announced he would be stepping down as host last year, in February.
Taking to Instagram on Friday, Alison announced her new role on the Channel 4 show by sharing a video of herself and co-host Noel Fielding alongside judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith as iced figurines atop a large Bake Off-themed cake.
Staging a mock press conference, Hammond’s voice is heard as she films the figurines.
‘Breaking news everyone,’ she announces. ‘Alison Hammond is joining the team of the Great British Bake Off. Alison, have you got any words whatsoever?’
Zooming in on her iced caricature, she adds: ‘Do you know what? I’m just so very excited. As you can see, all my colleagues are absolutely speechless. We’re so very happy and we can’t wait to get started!’
Captioning the post, she wrote: ‘It’s OFFICIAL!!! It’s happening The Great British Bake off! Let’s have it!’
The new host was given an additional welcome from show regular Hollywood, who admitted he was looking forward to working with her.
Taking to Instagram, he wrote: ‘welcome!!!!! looking forward to seeing you in the tent, you’re going to love it.’
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