Radzi Chinyanganya, a BBC presenter, has described the arduous path he travelled before landing his big break.
The Dancing On Ice star, 35, hosted Blue Peter from 2013 until 2019, succeeding Helen Skelton.
But, as proud as he is of his job now, he was forced to live in illegal housing in his early years after working for free.
Appearing on Friday’s Lorraine, Radzi explained: ‘It’s the bit no one ever gets to see.
‘I think we focus on destinations, not journeys, people didn’t see the three years of me working for free.’
‘Working at the 2012 Olympics for free, working at radio stations for free, and while I was interning for the BBC in Media City in Manchester, living in a hostel with mice running through the kitchen,’ he said.
‘I couldn’t even afford the hostel so I had to go to illegal accommodation – that’s a story for another day.
‘But that experience got me a break on this show called Wild on CBBC.’
Radzi added: ‘It transformed my life and I thought I want to do this, and off the back of that, Helen Skelton just announced she was leaving but no one actually knew and they said we’d like you to be the 36th Blue Peter presenter.
‘That was the best moment of my life.’
Radzi sobbed as he recalled his mother and sister’s reactions to his professional announcement.
He said: ‘That was it for me, I’d always imagined telling my mum and my sister the moment all my hard work meant something.
‘And my mum who sacrificed so much for me and believed in me and just gave me love and motivation and everything, to be able to reward her and say, “Everything you’ve done and sacrificed has now resulted in this.”
‘That there, I’m getting emotional – it was so special.’
Lorraine airs weekdays from 9am on ITV1.