Mr Motivator works out his millions: Fortunes are being made from the current crop of fitness videos. Hester Lacey meets the new king of hone and tone

SEVENTEEN million people every week are transfixed over breakfast by Mr Motivator, GMTV's resident exercise instructor - 6ft tall, a honed and toned mass of rippling lats, pecs, quads and triceps, all snugly packed into a psychedelic skintight Lycra leotard-thing. 'It's a one piece suit,' explains Mr M. He has around 150 of them, and they are a vital piece of motivating equipment.

'Guys should all wear stretch pants, they support you a lot better and you've got freedom of movement. When you're wearing shorts, believe me, it's very uncomfortable. Things hang down that shouldn't - really baaad. With stretch pants, you don't have to worry about people going 'Aaaaah] look at that]' ' At what? 'The beer gut . . . ha, ha]'

This upbeat Motivator chirpiness not only landed Mr M the GMTV spot but has shot his exercise video, the BLT (Bums, Legs & Tums) Workout, to the top of the video best-seller list. BLT went platinum last week - 130,000 copies have been sold, well over pounds 1.5m worth at pounds 12.99 per copy. This puts Mr M ahead of Clint Eastwood and Tom Cruise, who both have films further down the video charts, as his PR lady points out proudly.

The launch of BLT was well timed. At this time of year, exercise videos are especially big business, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of all video sales, according to Doug Hopper, market researcher at the British Videogram Association. 'It's New Year's Resolution time,' he explains. Even Zsa Zsa Gabor at 73 and Richard Wilson (aka Victor Meldrew) have hobbled on to the bandwagon (Zsa Zsa has enlisted two hunky body builders to get down to the sweaty bits in It's Simple, Darling - sadly only available in the US).

Mr Motivator still has some way to go before catching up with the exercise video front runners. Last year around 1.5 million exercise videos were sold. Most popular was Cher Fitness, which has sold over 350,000 copies since it was launched (over pounds 4m-worth at pounds 12.99 - price includes free elastic workout bands). This puts it into the top 30 best-selling videos of all time, along with Callanetics (800,000), Rosemary Conley's Whole Body Programme (400,000) and Jane Fonda's New Workout (350,000).

Perhaps the safe and simple Bums, Legs & Tums might signal the end of the usual perfect- woman-showing-off exercise tape. Alan Bryce, editor of Video World magazine, is pleased to see the BLT Workout. 'Mr Motivator makes a welcome change from the typical bimbo.' W H Smith spokesman Julian Graham-Wrack also feels there is a 'shift away from that perfect body look' - he points out that the current number two seller, The Y-Plan, actually features 'real people'.

Genuineness is certainly part of the Motivator repertoire. 'My smile is natural]

I love what I'm doing,' says Mr M, smiling very widely. 'There's nothing pretentious about me. This is not a persona that comes out of the cupboard - it's how I am. And if you radiate happiness, people zone in on it.'

His routines are punctuated with cheerful cries of 'Yeah] looking good' and 'Put smiles on your faces]' 'It's not my performance,' he explains. 'I'm keeping you motivated. Even five minutes of activity is good, so well done.' How can he keep this kind of cheerfulness going at seven in the morning? 'Am I on something? I'm on being alive] I like mornings. I like what I'm doing so I jump out of bed . . . don't you?'

Mr Motivator's first forays into fitness were in a church hall 13 years ago, in the distant days of popmobility, when his name was still Derrick Evans. He trained in the US, and belongs to the Fitness Professional instructors group. But, despite being so fit and tough, he won't be photographed outside in the cold (his one-piece is extremely brief round the back) and his first television slot (6.50am) is pre-recorded so he doesn't have to turn up quite so early at the studios.

Modestly claiming to be 'amazed' by the BLT success, Mr Motivator gets hundreds of letters a week from fans and is recognised wherever he goes. 'I get a wonderful feeling - everyone talks to me,' he admits, 'but I've got my three kids, they keep my feet firmly on the ground.'

His ambition is to take over a whole programme. 'I'd love to do a chat show.' Having a second string to your bow is a good idea in the faddy fitness business. 'It's very much a fashion thing,' warns Doug Hopper.

'Last year it was 'step', this year it's sliding and boxing - people get bored very easily.'

(Photographs omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own