Bradley Walsh can do it all which is why he is an entertainer, actor, television presenter. He is most famously known for being the host of the UK quiz show The Chase. He also played Danny Baldwin on Coronation Street, and DS Ronnie Brooks in Law and Order: UK. We couldn’t possibly list all the things he’s done, and if you couple that with his long lasting career, there are bound to be some facts about Bradley Walsh that’s interesting – and secretive, until now!
Bradley Walsh: Interesting Facts About The Entertainer
1. He makes some serious dough:
Did you know that the former professional football (soccer) player has a net worth of $8 million? Celebrity Net Worth states he has more than £6 million in the bank. Then, the Sun reported in 2018 that Bradley had become one of the UK’s highest-paid stars as he earned £9.2 million in two years – an average of £4.6 million per year.
2. Football star until he had several ankle injuries that finished his football career in the 80s:
Bradley Walsh grew up in Leavesden and during school was a prominent member of the football team.
In late 1978, at the age of 18, Walsh became a professional football player for Brentford although he failed to make the first team and was regularly a member of the reserves.
Ankle fractures brought a sudden end to Walsh’s football career at the age of 22, in 1982. He denies reports that he played for Dunstable Town.
Walsh often participates in Soccer Aid, a global charity football match with teams made up of celebrities and football legends. Walsh went on to help England win the 2006 edition as a player and the 2012 and 2016 editions as a coach.
3. He was a cheeky child, obviously:
Bradley Walsh attended Francis Combe Secondary school, Garston, Watford. “He was highly popular but an extremely mischievous student whose comic genius was apparent even at the age of 15.” Mr. Carr, Bradley’s teacher during the seventies, recalled.
4. Surprisingly, Bradley Walsh’s first job was engineering:
Leaving school at 16, Bradley’s first job was being an apprentice at Jet engineer for Rolls-Royce Helicopter Engines an aircraft engine factory in Watford, working with sheet metal.
The company had their own football team, Bradley was a keen sportsman and played for a very, low country league team, Leavesden Hospital where he got spotted by a talent scout for Brentford FC.
5. His early life was totally different:
Walsh came into this world during the 1960s in Watford, Hertfordshire, to a Scottish mother, Margaret, and her husband Daniel.
“I was born in Watford, and grew up in a council house. My mother was a single parent, who had to struggle hard to make ends meet,” he told the Telegraph in 2012.
“At one point she was holding down three different jobs. It was a happy childhood, but we certainly didn’t have a great deal of money.”
6. Bradley Walsh’s first taste of fame came with ITV:
He first found fame as the host of ITV’s new gameshow Midas Touch in 1997 although he had a job working as a presenter for You Must Be Joking in 1989 and before. He became more famous after getting the call as Nicky Campbell’s replacement as the face and presenter on the British adaptation of Wheel of Fortune.
7. Bradley Walsh’s first acting gig was in 2000:
Walsh’s first acting job was a minor role in the Channel 4 series, Lock, Stock which is a TV series. He finally landed a regular role in the short lived British soap opera Night and Day.
8. Bradley Walsh put on a stone in weight during the 2020 lockdown:
The star of The Chase appeared on This Morning to celebrate his June birthday with hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. Holly explained they wanted to get Bradley a present for his birthday and showed the birthday boy his gift in June 2020.
“We know you’ve got a very sweet tooth and Bradley, look at this. These are your favourite aren’t they,” she said, showing off a huge Wine Gum hamper (this is his favourite sweet).
“Next time you see me in real life, I’ve actually put a stone on,” he said.
Bradley added: “I hope someone comes up with some tips.”
He revealed: “I’ve actually put on a stone and I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I actually need to lose some weight a bit lively, I really do.”
Showing the cameras the hamper, Holly joked: “Well these will help!”
9. He almost died during the 2020 lockdown:
Bradley Walsh has revealed he has quit booze and shed 10lb after doctors warned he could die from heart disease.
The TV personality, 60, admitted to The Sun that he was spurred into taking action after a major health scare earlier this year saying: ‘I was a time bomb. I produce too much cholesterol. It’s a silent killer. My heart guy said, “Look, Brad, you need to get fit”.
‘I had a hang-up because my father, Daniel, died at the age of 59. I had it in the back of my mind that I just had to get past my dad’s age.
What helped him shed 10lb was giving up alcohol as well as cakes, breads, pasta and a Shiba Inu puppy, called Lulu, which has been helping him exercise daily.
10. Law and Order:
In January 2009, Walsh began appearing in ITV crime drama Law & Order: UK playing the character of DS Ronnie Brooks. The character is a recovering alcoholic who has been in the police force for more than twenty years. From 2009 until 2014, Walsh starred in a total of 53 episodes. After the eighth series, Walsh decided to take a break from the programme and ITV decided to rest the show, but it has not been cancelled and is simply on a hiatus. Walsh said he would “like the opportunity to pursue other drama projects which ITV are developing”.
11. Troublesome dating history:
Bradley Walsh may be one of the most recognisable faces on daytime TV, but he’s kept much of his personal life to himself – including his marriage to wife Donna Derby, and his onerous relationship with the late Bernie Nolan. She was introduced to him in 1989 by sister Coleen Nolan and her then-husband Shane Ritchie.
In Nolans’ autobiography Survivors: Our Story, From Us to You With Love, Bernie said:
“They took me to see him in a show. Afterwards we chatted for the first time..It was a bit embarrassing because I already knew he fancied me, but it was awkward in a nice way….From that evening we were together. We never argued, we went for picnics in the Lake District and everything about our relationship seemed great when it was just the two of us.”
However, Bradley’s love of women quickly threw up roadblocks.
“I quickly realised that whatever Brad did, there would be a woman involved. If he had tennis lessons, it would be with a woman. If he was in a show, he was surrounded by dancers,” Bernie went on. “I was with him one day and a woman phoned him. I could hear her talking and it was obvious she was upset about something. ‘Her flat got burgled and she was a bit
shaken up,’ Bradley explained when he put the phone down.
“It was only later I found out from a mutual friend that there hadn’t been a burglary and the other woman was upset for far more obvious reasons!” However, Bernie said, when she confronted Bradley he was full of remorse. “‘I’m so sorry,’ he said, over and over again. ‘Please take me back, Bernie. I love you.’ What could I do? I loved him, too. So we got back together,” she wrote.
“But then I discovered Bradley had been sleeping with someone else. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ he said, starting to cry. ‘I’m so, so sorry, Bernie. I don’t know what’s the matter with me. All I know is that I love you and want to be with you.”
Bernie added: “It went on like that for ages. In the end, I relented again. I really thought Brad and I would marry and it’d be for keeps. Mum even took me out shopping to look at wedding dresses.”
Sadly, Bernie ended their relationship after growing tired of the rumours he wasn’t being faithful.
“I said, ‘Just stop lying, Bradley. Look, I’m not coming this weekend. In fact, I don’t want to see you any more at all,'” she continued. It was over. I put the phone down and cried my eyes out. I’d adored Bradley and I felt utterly heartbroken.
“When I think about it now, I feel I had a lucky escape. A while later he wrote me a letter saying he hoped we could still be mates. “I wrote him one back saying: ‘I didn’t want to be your mate. I wanted to be your wife.'”
Bernie went on to find love with drummer Steve Doneathy, with whom she shared daughter Erin Doneathy. Bernie died in 2013 at the age of 52 from cancer.
Bradley went on to meet and marry wife Donna, and was made the host of The Chase in 2009, the show he has made his own.
Walsh married choreographer Donna Derby in 1997, and they have one son named Barney who was born in 1997. He also has a daughter named Hayley who was born in 1982, from a previous relationship. The family lives in Epping, Essex.
His 22-year-old son Barney Walsh has followed his famous dad’s footsteps having starred alongside his pops in Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad.
In January 2009, they were featured in a special edition of the Channel 5 TV series, Dangerous Adventures for Boys, based on the best-selling book by Conn and Hal Iggulden, The Dangerous Book for Boys. Walsh and his son took part in hill-climbing before learning how to pilot a biplane.
13. Reality TV and BBC Two’s Maestro:
In 2008, the famous host was chosen to perform a different act as a contestant on BBC Two’s Maestro. In week 2 of Maestro, Bradley Walsh survived a close elimination call when he was voted in the bottom two by the judges, but the orchestra voted out David Soul instead. However, in week 3 of Maestro, Bradley Walsh he was placed sixth when being voted off.
14. Blossoming singing career beating Zayn Malik:
Clearly, Bradley has a love for music, in fact in 2016 he would release an album called Chasing Dreams, which turned out to be the best-selling debut album of the year. It was also at 10 on the UK Albums Chart.
Walsh approached rival game show host Alexander Armstrong to ask him for singing advice in 2016. Walsh’s debut album, Chasing Dreams, consists of covers of jazz standards such as “That’s Life” and “Mr. Bojangles” as well as the title track that happened to be his own songwriting. The original song written by Walsh became the biggest-selling debut album by a British artist in 2016, selling 111,650 copies.
A year later, due to the success of Chasing Dreams, Walsh released a second album, When You’re Smiling, consisting of more covers of traditional pop songs, and one original track. It reached 11 in the charts.
15. Getting his TV career started, began with comedic talent:
After his failed football career, Walsh had a variety of jobs including working as a bluecoat at Pontins in Morecambe for three months.
In October 1982, performing as a rookie comedian, he came second in a talent contest at the Rolls-Royce Sports and Social Club in his home town of Leavesden. But there was talent in him and he got recruited by rival television channel ITV, who offered him the role as presenter on one of the network’s new game shows, Midas Touch.
On 21 March 2013, Walsh appeared in an episode of The Spa on Sky Living. In May 2014, Walsh was cast as Brutus in a BBC One comedy series called SunTrap, starring alongside Kayvan Novak and Keith Allen. The show premiered on 27 May 2015.
16. He wanted out of Coronation Street:
On Coronation Street he played Danny Baldwin but did you know it was originally envisaged that Walsh’s character would be called Vic? Walsh asked for the character’s name to be changed to Danny after his late father.
In December 2006, Walsh was written out of the series perhaps because he couldn’t keep up with his other jobs. During his time in Coronation Street, Walsh also appeared as Burglar Bill in the one-off play The Queen’s Handbag.
17. Doctor Who:
In 2008, Walsh appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. In October 2017, the BBC announced that Walsh had been cast as a companion, Graham O’Brien, in the eleventh series of Doctor Who. He reprised the role for the twelfth series in 2020.
18. Becoming an iconic presenter:
In August 2008, Walsh fronted his own ITV series entitled My Little Soldier, in which young contestants are required to do “grown-up things” such as travelling on their own by train.
In June 2009, Walsh became the presenter of ITV game show The Chase, as well as the celebrity editions of the programme. The Chase has become popular, beating rival BBC quiz show Pointless regularly. The show features contestants who take on the “Chaser” in a series of general knowledge quiz rounds. There have also been a number of series of celebrity versions of the show, also hosted by Walsh.
In August 2014, Walsh hosted an ITV series called Come on Down! The Game Show Story, which looks back on the history of British game shows.
On 26 October 2014, after two successful pilots, Walsh began presenting the first series of Keep It in the Family. He returned to present the second series in 2015. In 2016, he hosted eight episodes of Tonight at the London Palladium, a spin-off from the Sunday night series. A second series began airing in April 2017.
In 2016, Walsh began presenting Cash Trapped, a daytime game show for ITV. A second series was aired in 2017.
In 2017, Walsh guest-hosted five episodes of The Nightly Show on ITV, which aired from 3 to 7 April. On 1 May 2019, it was announced that Walsh would host a new late-night talk show on ITV, titled Bradley Walsh’s Late Night Guestlist. The pilot episode, featuring guests Holly Willoughby, Maya Jama and Piers Morgan, aired on 11 May 2019.
19. Things he’s done that no one knows:
- He narrated a one-off documentary for ITV called The Circus.
- He was one of the victims of an Undercover in Series 5 of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. At the end of that Undercover, he “stormed off”.
- He took part in Northern Rock’s All Star Golf Tournament on ITV, in which his team, Team Europe, won. Walsh stated that he has been playing golf since he was twenty years old.
- Since 2015, Walsh has been a team captain on the sports-based panel show Play to the Whistle.
- In 2020, Walsh was the “first ever double Undercover victim” in Series 16 of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
- Bradley has the comedian’s gift for observing the ordinary and making it funny. He is equally natural at the alternative Comedy Store and as a crowd pleaser in family entertainment.
20. His secret for a long career:
Bradley has spent four decades in show business. After appearing on a special This Morning interview praising the entertainer for his huge body of work and for still going strong at 60, Bradley shared what he learned at the start of his journey into show business.
He said: ‘A massive piece of advice I was given early on in my career was whatever you do, the easiest part of show business is giving up. Don’t.
‘So when I got a knock back I kept going. I did my first gigs in 1981 and I turned pro in 1986 and from then I went on and on.
‘I’ve had a fantastic time, I’ve really enjoyed it.’