Fiona Bruce on being punched by Dawn French, watching Call the Midwife and loving George Clooney

The presenter talks teenage crushes, watching telly with her daughter and being starstruck — but don't ask about Jeremy Clarkson...

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You’re presenting a new Antiques Roadshow spin-off. What’s it all about?

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What we’ve done is trace the history of some of the objects brought along to the Roadshow and in doing so we’ve come up with some very surprising revelations and touching reunions. 

So it’s Who Do You Think You Are? for antiques?

There’s a bit of that, but it’s one of the best things I’ve ever worked on – lots of really moving stories. 

For instance?

We follow the story of some samplers and discover they were stitched together by a woman in a workhouse. It’s clear she feels wronged, is nursing an enormous grievance and these samplers are a cry of rage from inside the walls of the workhouse. I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re absolutely heartbreaking. 

Have you ever been mistaken for Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton?

No, but I did go to the theatre not long ago and there was a very talented actress called Fiona Bruce who joked afterwards that in her dressing room she’s got tons of my fan mail mistakenly sent to her. No, I didn’t ask for it! 

On Comic Relief a few weeks ago, Dawn French punched you in a Vicar of Dibley sketch. Did it hurt?

The punch wasn’t in the script, but when we rehearsed it, Dawn said, “Surely at this point I’d be so cross I would punch her.” Richard Curtis told her to go for it. But every time she did, it made me laugh. I couldn’t keep a straight face. 

What are you watching on television?

Different things with different members of my family. [She has a son, Sam, 17, and daughter, Mia, 13.] I really like sitting down with my daughter to watch programmes like Call the Midwife, 24 hours in A&E, One Born Every Minute and Our Girl. It’s just the two of us, which is really nice. 

Is there anything you avoid watching with them?

No, but they’re not very keen on my output, that’s for sure. If I want to watch things I’m on, I end up watching on my own. What I do is “just what mum does”. 

So who controls the remote?

If the football’s on I concede defeat. 

Did the teenage Fiona have a TV crush?

This is going to make me sound 100 years old, but I really loved David Cassidy in The Partridge Family. I’ve never interviewed him and it’s best kept that way – don’t tarnish the memory with reality. 

And have you ever been star-struck as an adult?

I was at a film premiere that George Clooney was attending and I was very star-struck. We weren’t having a long conversation or anything, but I was definitely slightly in awe of him. 

So, a big cinema-goer?

I saw The Theory of Everything, which I loved, but I’m afraid I hardly ever get to go to the cinema. 

Not even Fifty Shades?

No, that’s definitely not my cup of tea! 

You once smacked Jeremy Clarkson’s bottom during a Top Gear appearance. Does he deserve a repeat performance?

Oh, don’t get me involved in that! 

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Antiques Roadshow Detectives starts Easter Monday, 7pm on BBC2