Radio Manchester's Eamonn and Jimmy on their 25 years
Radio Manchester's Eamonn and Jimmy have been a radio double act for 25 years. Ariel asked them the secret to their longevity and whether a career as relationship counsellors beckons.
You've lasted longer together than many marriages. How do you do it?
Eamonn: We're not married - that helps. Actually, we've been pals since we met at school aged 11. We don't live in each other's pockets, but we do share interests, a sense of community and a sense of humour.
Jimmy: We're both addicted to making people laugh, on air or when we work together on a live show.
Have you got to the point where you can read the other person's mind and complete each other's sentences?
Eamonn: We are a bit like that. Whether we're on air or on stage, we instinctively know when to let the other finish off a sentence or joke. We're interchangeable in that sense.
Jimmy: But mind reading is a lovely idea.
Who's changed the most over 25 years?
Eamonn: It's neck and neck - he's got the brass neck and I've got the thick neck.
Jimmy: I think my life has changed more in real terms. I was recently married and was childless when I started out. Now I have kids, including an autistic son. But Sunday mornings aren't real, that's the point. It's like a bubble where the real world has to wait outside for three hours. On a Sunday morning, everyone leaves their grown-up head at the door. In that respect we haven't changed a bit.
Come clean, are you actually friends off air or are you secretly sticking pins in voodoo dolls when you get home?
Eamonn: We're not only friends, we're brothers-in-law. But a voodoo doll?... Now that's an idea.
Jimmy: Seriously, we can argue and we are very different, but I can't remember a major fallout.
Tell us a secret…
Jimmy: My granddad told me, 'Young Jimmy, you will never be poor as long as you remember these three little words: stick 'em up.' I have slavishly followed his advice and, consequently, am ridiculously wealthy.
What do you think makes a good double act?
Jimmy: You'd have to ask Morecambe and Wise. In our case, I'd say it's that neither of us wants to be top dog. I'm quite happy to set up a joke and let Eamonn tag it and vice versa. We both have egos, of course, but luckily ours don't usually clash.
Eamonn: The most crucial element is knowing when to shut up to let the other speak. It's not a competition; you don't have to hog the microphone.
If the radio gig comes to an end, do you think you might make a career out of being relationship counsellors?
Eamonn: Absolutely not, although Jimmy is a sad loss to the Diplomatic Service.
Jimmy: When it comes to counselling, I'm with [bestselling author] Allan Pease: 'Don't tell people your troubles - 80% don't care and the other 20% are glad you've got them.'
What's the best career advice anyone has ever given you?
Eamonn: Believe in your own integrity and talent. Don't be afraid of something not working out and don't be scared of changing direction.
Jimmy: Best advice came from Eamonn when I first started and the show took off: For everyone who likes what you do, there is someone else who hates it. Don't get carried away by the opinion of either.
What soundtrack would accompany the documentary to your lives?
Jimmy: It has to be The Commodores, Easy (Like Sunday Morning).
- Eamonn O'Neal and Jimmy Wagg, BBC Radio Manchester, Sundays