If you’ve ever been a teenage girl, imagine what life might have been like with no agony aunts. Exactly. It’s a terrible thought. No embarrassing questions in magazines to snigger at with your friends, no relief in reading the answers to those embarrassing questions you secretly wanted to ask.
So ahead of new documentary Sex, Lies and Love Bites, which takes a comical and informative look at the history of the magazine and newspaper problem page, here’s what you need to know about its presenter, Philippa Perry.
-She is an author and agony aunt (currently writing for Red magazine) and she writes for other newspapers about mental health, relationships and family. She’s answered questions about all sorts of things, from affairs to porn addiction, from alcoholism to religion. She sometimes presents The Culture Show.
-Perry has written a graphic novel called Couch Fiction about what therapy is really like, and a self-help book which has perhaps the world’s least ambiguous title, How to Stay Sane.
-For a while, Perry was the manager of a McDonald’s before going on to do a degree in fine art. She became interested in mental health after a period of volunteering for the Samaritans in 1985.
-Turner Prize-winning, cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry is her husband. They met on a creative writing course at City University London, and went to a transvestite club on their first date.
-She has said that the only difficult thing about having Perry dress as alter ego Claire is that sometimes he doesn’t want to do the washing up as it might ruin his dress.