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GMB viewers delighted as Kate Garraway returns to breakfast show: ‘She did Derek proud’

Kate Garraway has said “life must start again” as she made an emotional return to the Good Morning Britain studio following the funeral of her husband, Derek Draper.

The GMB host, who had taken a break from the show since 2014, discussed the reasons behind her decision to return to the show, before telling her co-hosts “we have to pick ourselves up and go on”.

Draper, a former political lobbyist, died on 3 January aged 56, nearly four years after he was admitted to the hospital with a severe case of Covid.

Garraway said on Thursday (8 January) that it was lovely but “odd” to be back in the ITV studio, having briefly appeared on the show via video link earlier in the week.

Her long time colleague Ben Shephard told her she had “done Derek proud” with the way she handled her husband’s funeral on Friday.

The presenter admitted she was feeling “wobbly” but added: “I definitely wanted to make it about Derek not about me.”

Garraway thanked viewers for their support (ITV)
Garraway thanked viewers for their support (ITV)

Garraway has been raising awareness of the experiences of unpaid and paid carers throughout Draper’s illness, especially through her documentaries Caring For Derek and Finding Derek.

Speaking about her decision to return to the show, Garraway said “life has to go on” and that Draper would have wanted her to carry on and return to work.

She said: “I don’t know how it’s going to be. Grief isn’t containable in a day or year.

“People ask why I’m going back to work. Life has to start. We have to pick ourselves up and go on. That’s what Derek would want me to do. Thank you to everyone who made it possible,” she said, adding: “We have to pick ourselves back up”.

At the beginning of the programme, she told viewers that she was “in tears” when getting ready to appear on the show.

Kate Garraway, her husband Derek Draper and her parents Gordon and Marilyn Garraway photographed in June 2023 (PA)
Kate Garraway, her husband Derek Draper and her parents Gordon and Marilyn Garraway photographed in June 2023 (PA)

“The make-up girls had me in tears this morning just by saying hello,” she said.

“Thank you to all of you at home as well, I know I mentioned it on Monday but you have been incredible.”

She added: “It is lovely to feel so much love from everyone here. Everyone has been so nice, I know I am very lucky.”

GMB viewers have been expressing their delight to see Garraway back on their screens, with one fan writing on X/Twitter: “GMB hasn’t been the same without you.”

“It’s so good to see @kategarraway back on @GMB. I want to reach through the TV and give her a great big hug.”

Another added: “Fantastic to see @kategarraway back, you have been missed! Take each day as it comes Kate and remember it’s ok to smile.”

Kate Garraway and her husband Derek Draper photographed in 2008 (PA)
Kate Garraway and her husband Derek Draper photographed in 2008 (PA)

Draper was laid to rest on Friday (2 February) during a service at the Church of St Mary The Virgin in Primrose Hill, north-west London where the TV star and the former political lobbyist-turned-psychologist married in September 2005.

Draper fell seriously ill during the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 and spent 13 months in hospital before he was discharged.

On Monday (5 February), Garraway appeared on GMB via video link and shared Draper’s final moments with viewers.

She explained: “The children individually had time with Derek on their own as well as all of us together. Darcey said ‘Dad, if you can’t do this, then we will be OK. You release yourself if you need to go, don’t worry about us.’”

Garraway added that her children were “extraordinarily brave” on the day of Draper’s death.

Elsewhere in the interview, Garraway shared the final words her 17-year-old daughter Darcey told her father.

“We will be OK. Don’t worry about mum. We will be fine. You don’t have to worry about looking after us all. You will live on through us,” said Garraway, recalling Darcey’s words.

She revealed that her daughter “insisted” on carrying her father’s coffin at the funeral.

“Darcey came into the room when we were talking about [the funeral] and said ‘Please can you let me carry the coffin?’ and I said crikey, that’s a practical challenge…. Anyone who’s ever done that, it’s a heavy thing....She basically insisted on doing it and I thought that was a beautiful thing.”

Good Morning Britain airs on weekdays from 6am on ITV1 and ITVX.