Richard Madeley has spoken out against government advice that people over the age of 70 should stay at home to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19. The presenter is married to his former This Morning co-host Judy Finnigan, 71. Speaking to The Sun this weekend, he said: "Because I am 63 that would mean Judy and I couldn’t go out together. It’s ludicrous." The dad-of-two went on: "But hold on, what about all the other people with underlying health issues? Someone who is 30 years old with kidney problems or asthma? And obviously we don’t know why yet, but what about the BAME [black, Asian and minority ethnic] community, where COVID-19 appears to be more prevalent?
WATCH: Richard Madeley admits being hit by his parents
"I think it’s profoundly unfair. You can’t just target one at-risk group. If you do that then you have to target all of the at-risk groups, which would be almost half the population." Richard also pointed out that the recommendation would be difficult to regulate, saying, "How do you enforce it? Make everyone go out with a passport or birth certificate? Something like this, for those with an age gap or whatever, could tear couples apart. I think the most they could and should do is offer advice and ask people to think very carefully. I think that’s as far as it can go. It’s a non-starter.”
MORE: This Morning's Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan announce really exciting news
Richard and Judy have been married since 1986
Richard was, however, full of praise for NHS staff, who saved Judy's life in January 2019 when she began coughing up blood and had to be rushed to hospital by ambulance. He paid tribute to the bravery of frontline medical workers during the pandemic, saying: "This is a completely unprecedented situation. And they’ve stepped up to the plate… It’s almost like heroism in wartime. You have to recognise talent, bravery and commitment when it happens and it is happening right before our eyes."
READ: Richard Madeley reveals he was badly beaten as a child by his father
The heartfelt interview comes ahead of the much-loved couple's return to Channel 4 on Monday. Richard and Judy will be back on television to present a special lockdown version of their popular book club, featuring video chats with guests and reading recommendations from the pair, who have been married for 34 years.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.