Former This Morning host Fern Britton made a return to the sofa on Friday morning – much to the delight of her fans. However, the 61-year-old was overcome with emotion as she opened up about her mother's death. The TV presenter's mum died in April last year, and she told hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford how her new novel, The Newcomer, helped deal with the loss. On how one of the characters was based on her mum, she shared: "I didn't think about it consciously [the character similarities], and then when people interview me, I said 'Oh yeah, that's right'... so I've done my own bit of therapy there I think."
Fern Britton teared up as she spoke of the heartache of losing her mother
"She died on 17 April last year and I had this sort of yearning to do a transatlantic crossing - from Southampton to New York and back again - I don't know why, it was just one of those things," she said of writing her book during some travelling. "I thought, 'Well I'm 61, and I think I can do that', and it all came at the right moment."
Elaborating further, the TV star continued: "I got on the ship and was transported literally into a safe place… I could sit in my cabin, open the door and watch the water just drifting by and write. I had days when I was sitting there crying, days when I decided at midday that I was going to go back to bed… so all the things I wanted to do and write, think about my mum."
"I accidentally joined the ship's choir and they thrust me some pages which was a medley of Les Mis songs, and the lyrics of course are heartbreaking," she continued. "I found myself singing [getting teary] and I had to go back to the cabin because of the tears!" The star announced her mother's sad death last April, with an emotional statement. "My Mum. Ruth. Both mother and father to me," she wrote at the time. "Funny, ferocious, and a woman once met, you couldn’t forget. 24.1.24 / 17.4.18. So brave and uncomplaining. An army sergeant WW2, beauty queen, teacher, and all woman."
Since leaving This Morning in 2009, Fern has released a number of best-selling books – and also starred in the touring production of Calendar Girls the Musical. She has achieved all this while raising four children with her husband of 18 years, TV chef Phil Vickery. "I don't make a fuss about things," she previously told HELLO!. "Sometimes people say, 'Oh, I am so stressed.' And I think they say that because they are thinking about being stressed. Just pull your finger out and do what needs doing, take it hour by hour and it will be all right."
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.