Anyone of a certain age will remember Derrick Evans — AKA Mr Motivator — and his cheery catch phrase “Say yeah!”, from his high-energy lycra-clad workouts on ‘90s breakfast show GMTV.
A beacon of positivity, the Jamaican-born fitness instructor has lived most of his life in the UK and rose to fame in the early 1990s, making appearances on the UK breakfast television show where he performed live fitness sessions.
After starting-out in the fitness industry as an instructor in north west London, Derrick moved into the space of providing one-to-one training for many celebrities. His big break came on the 23rd August 1993, when he was credited with turning around the ratings of ailing breakfast television show GMTV.
He created a memorable on-screen persona wearing his now-trademark bright coloured unitards with complimentary socks and bum bags.
Performing his fitness routines live on-air in his tight-fitting lycra outfits, a slew of fitness videos followed including Mr Motivator's 10 Minute BLTs, Mr Motivator's 10 Minute Workouts and Bums Legs & Tums. This range of merchandise became the biggest selling titles in the UK and to-date over 2 million videos have been sold.
The name ‘Mr Motivator’ derived from street performances he, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan gave to crowds in shopping centres and other public areas — Finnigan commented that he was a motivator and the name stuck!
After approximately 10 years at GMTV, Derrick Evans resigned so that he could concentrate on developing the motivational speaking side of his abilities; providing talks and team building activities for many blue chip companies.
In 2009, Derrick returned to GMTV as Mr Motivator for a three-week-long special to spearhead a public health programme Change4Life. This led to him meeting the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in promotion of the NHS campaign.
Mr Motivator first appeared on the festival circuit in 2010, performing at Bestival on the Isle of Wight as a special guest on the main stage. He performed a fitness routine while encouraging the crowd to join in and generally increase the amount of exercise they do and their enjoyment of doing it. He has made numerous appearances since, including Reading Festival and Truck Festival, at which he’s performed every year since 2016.
In 2016, he released his autobiography The Warm Up, which chronicled his story of growing up in Jamaica. And in 2020, he joined the BBC HealthCheck UK Live to "keep Britain fit in lockdown" during the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the resurgence in home-based workout routines.
Providing mass workouts and his unique way of exercising for individuals, charities, schools and businesses has meant that Mr Motivator is continually in-demand and has led to numerous television, film and radio appearances.
Derrick Evans was appointed by HM The Queen, a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to health and fitness.