Mother and daughter team Mavis and Michelle Ackerley hunting Dirty Rotten Scammers

Mother and daughter

Scammers watch out: Mavis and Michelle Ackerley are on your trail - Credit: Timothy Gray

Mother and daughter Mavis and Michelle Ackerley are on the trail of the nation's Dirty Rotten Scammers

It’s already a busy year for TV presenter Michelle Ackerley. Apart from regular stints on the One Show, Watchdog, Crimewatch Live and World’s Strongest Man, she’s just got engaged to her Olympic-winning rugby coach boyfriend Ben Ryan and is appearing in a new 15-part series, starring alongside none other than her mother.

TV programmers have literally been keeping it in the family by teaming up parents and children such as Bradley Walsh and his son Barney; Romesh Ranganathan and his mum, Shanthi and Martin and son Roman Kemp and now the latest recruits to this growing trend are Michelle and her life-coach mum Mavis Ackerley.

Mother and daughter at laptop

Cheshire mother and daughter Michelle and Mavis Ackerley in Dirty Rotten Scammers, which starts on June 6 - Credit: BBC

The glamorous duo, well-known faces in their neighbourhood of Alderley Edge, are the presenters of Dirty Rotten Scammers on BBC 1 from June 6, a consumer show which aims to enlighten people about online fraud.

Former Alderley Edge School for Girls pupil Michelle, aged 37, and her equally age-defying 65-year-old mum Mavis, have previously joined forces for features on programmes such as the One Show, lockdown's HealthCheck UK Live as well as a podcast for Magic FM, but this is the first time they’ve shared equal billing and they both admit this is the perfect vehicle for them.

‘We always wanted to do something together, working within the community using mum's life coaching background and my experience in TV,’ explains Michelle.
‘The whole premise of the programmes is that it doesn't matter what age you are, whether you’re 18 or 85 everybody’s got a story about being scammed.

‘The programme is centered around us hearing people’s stories and it’s all filmed from this hub around Manchester. People come to us, tell us their stories and then we, alongside a team of ethical hackers, do a deep dive into their online footprint to see exactly what is available online about them that they didn’t really realise and to find out the reasons why they have been scammed in the first place.

'We speak to psychologists, we speak to banks, to scammers themselves, then we come back and present the information to the contributors and say “look this is what we found out about you. Did you know that all these passwords are available online?” Then it’s all about how people can be safer.’

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Michelle admits there are tears and shocks in the show but also a lot of laughter. In fact, Michelle and Mavis are so easy to get along with that many of the people interviewed have wiped away their tears and then asked mum and daughter along for a drink after shooting.

Says Mavis: ‘I think by the end of their journey not only do we get them laughing  – because that’s what me and Michelle are good at – even more so you have learned something. This is what you can do, how you can overcome it and how you can move forward from it.’

Michelle who grew up in Mobberley but who now lives in London, and Mavis who lives in Alderley Edge, knew they wanted to team up for telly for what seems like forever.

‘We’d been talking about ideas to do together for years and the first time we spoke to the exec of this programme was probably a good six or seven years ago, ‘explains Michelle.

‘The first VT we did for the One Show was probably four or five years ago, so it’s very much been a slow growing process, something that we’ve always wanted to do, although suddenly within telly there has been more of a shift to seeing those partnerships. A lot more father-and-son partnerships than mother and daughter though.’

Despite a gruelling schedule of long days filming well into the evening, they both thought it was the best experience they could ever have. Michelle just loved how relaxed she could be.
‘What’s been really special is being able to be up north and doing this job together, staying in hotels together discussing what we are doing the next day and planning out outfits, she says.

‘It was so much fun to have a co-presenter that I really get along with. There’s no diva behaviour. We were just really enjoying going through that really special relationship we have.’

Mavis, whose day job is as a manager of Tom Howley an upmarket kitchen showroom on London Road, Alderley Edge, found she has even more respect for her daughter as she dipped into the world of TV.

‘To be honest I didn’t really know what it would be like but what it has given me is a real insight into how challenging it is to be in front of the camera and be natural and to learn lines and do pieces to camera and learn all these technical terms to which I’d go “whaaat?”.

‘It’s a good job I didn’t realise it was going to be so intense really because I would have been more nervous than I actually was, but hey! I got to work with my daughter and get an insight into her world. And even though she probably won’t like me saying it, because she hates me complimenting her, but she’s absolutely brilliant.

'She’s a professional, she’s a hard worker and she just does it. She even carries all the kit for the camera crew. She’s so easy to work with. It was long days and in spite of staying in some nice hotels, it’s not as glam as you think. It’s very hard work.’

As well as promoting the new show Michelle will be off to film World’s Strongest Man in the summer and of course she has a wedding to plan. She met Ben at a BBC Sports Personality of the Year event and after just one date she was already thinking he was someone special. In Fiji he definitely is. He coached the Fijian Rugby 7s team to Olympic victory in Rio in 2016 and even had a coin made in his honour.

Michelle and Ben Ryan

Michelle Ackerley and Ben Ryan. They have just got engaged - Credit: Michelle Ackerley

During our interview, Michelle revealed her engagement had taken place less than a week previously.
‘We literally got engaged on Wednesday then Ben had to fly to Singapore with work. He does a lot of travelling. He’d been planning to do it for a while.

'We’d meant to go to New York last Christmas, but we’d just been pushing it back and pushing it back. Cut to Wednesday morning, I think he’d just psyched himself up and thought “It’s now or never.” so I was just pottering around in the kitchen and then he came in and proposed. Then we went for a lovely walk along the river, grabbed a bacon butty and sparkling water, and then he flew to Singapore that evening.’

Adds Mavis: ‘But he did ask our permission. We had little conversations about the ring and what she may like. He was flying to Dubai, and I said “Right. You need to go to Cartier. This is what she likes". And then he texted a few days later saying, “got it”.'

Although Michelle has swapped the laid-back vibe of Alderley Edge for busy London she still makes time to come back and enjoy time with Mavis, at favourite haunts including  Corks Out and Luciano by Gino D’Acampo, as well as the Liverpool coffee bar Espresso Plus, owned by Mavis’s partner Timothy Gray.

‘To be honest. If she wasn’t my daughter, she’d be my best mate,' says Mavis.
‘She keeps me in line, we’ve got the same sense of humour, same dress sense... we love the same music, and we love a dance. We love going out. I love all her friends; she loves all of mine. It’s not put on.

‘People say you shouldn’t work with family, but for us, it was the perfect thing to do.'

Dirty Rotten Scammers begins a 15-part run on BBC1 on June 6 at 10am.