What TV series would you take to a desert island?
Brideshead Revisited – the classic version with Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. I think I was off being a teenager when it was first on. I adore the novel and desperately want to watch it, but just don’t have the time with two kids.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Any whodunnit. I can’t resist one even if it’s four in the afternoon, I’ve seen the episode of Midsomer Murders before and I’m supposed to be making the kids’ tea. My husband Norman [Cook] gets so cross with me.
Who was your first crush?
Jon Pertwee in Doctor Who. He remains my favourite Doctor, although Matt Smith is hot.
Any other family favourites?
My eldest, Woody, is ten now, which is great because I can finally introduce him to all the classics I loved in the 80s like ET and The Karate Kid. For years all he’d watch were cartoons and I’d be groaning inwardly: oh please, no more Ben 10! Nelly, my daughter, is only eighteen months but I’m already looking forward to watching musicals with her.
Who would you invite to your perfect dinner party?
All those actors and actresses who set the British film industry on fire in the 1960s: Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter O’ Toole, Richard Harris… I bumped into Tom Courtenay in the street the other day. I was so excited; he didn’t have a clue who I was, but was charming all the same.
You’ve produced one short film – is that still an interest?
I really enjoyed it, but my accountant wasn’t very impressed. A producer’s role is to hold the purse strings. Unfortunately, I’m very good at spending money and not particularly good at being frugal. I think I’ll just watch movies from now on; it’s a safer option.
You’re the new host for the Strictly spin-off Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two – are you nervous about filling Claudia Winkleman’s shoes?
Physically and metaphorically I may have trouble fitting my huge feet into Claudia’s tiny wee shoes, but I will do my best. If you had asked me a few months back what my dream telly job would be, I’d have answered without a moment’s hesitation: hosting It Takes Two! Even before I appeared on Strictly, I was obsessed: I’d video it and watch it in a quiet room because I didn’t like people talking over it. I took it all really personally and got horribly involved in it – it’s quite sad I suppose.
You famously came third on Strictly in 2005 – are you still a keen dancer?
I’m a bit rusty but at weddings I’ll sneakily do a little foxtrot in the corner. I do see Ian Waite, my dance partner, quite a bit. We did a charleston at my 40th last November and he ended up throwing everyone around. He even performed the lift from Dirty Dancing with my six-foot-four brother, hoisting him in the air like Jennifer Gray.
Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?
Martin Clunes. People always say that I look like him because we both have quite big noses and big ears. I actually told him that once. He laughed then backed away slowly.