Sarah Millican on Gok Wan, Top Model and walking out of films

The Live at the Apollo comedian tells Radio Times about her guilty TV secrets

Which TV series would you take to a desert island?
Frasier. It has to be something that bears repeat viewings, is hilarious and has a dog in it.


Last TV show you recommended to a friend?
Glee. She didn’t like it. “Too upbeat,” she said. You can’t help some people.

Your price to go on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! or Strictly Come Dancing… 
What a horrible, mercenary question, cheeky chops. I try not to make decisions based on money – I’m lucky enough not to have to do that. But never say never. You can’t be dismissive of something that’s clearly entertaining a lot of people.

What was the last thing you learned from TV or radio?
I learned what a “croquembouche” is [a high cone of choux pastry filled with cream]. Thank you, Great British Bake Off – which is a reality show, but it’s so positive. The worst thing that happens is someone drops a cake, and everyone says, “Ah, what a shame. He dropped his cake.” There’s no, “Look at her, she’s an idiot”. It’s proper food porn. There’s nothing wrong with looking at cake.

What’s your guilty TV pleasure? 
America’s Next Top Model. I always watch it while eating, though. It feels like I’m eating for them – I’m somehow feeding them through the screen. But without all the make-up, they look like anybody. They’re not classically pretty very often, but with a professional make-up job they can look lovely, which is quite inspiring in a way. The attraction is Tyra Banks – she’s brilliant and a bit nuts. My boyfriend always asks, “Who’s presenting it this series?” It’s just because Tyra has different hair. He watches it over the top of his laptop: “Yeah, I’m doing work…” He also likes horror films with skeletons in. I like looking at different hair and make-up. Elle McPherson isn’t as good as Tyra – nobody is in the world. But you know she knows what she’s talking about.

How many TVs do you have in your house, or houses?
One flat, one telly.

When was the last time you shouted at the radio or TV? 

I’m not really a shouter. I know where the off button is.

Can you name someone you’ve seen on TV who is completely different in the flesh?

Everyone is slightly uglier.

First TV Personality you fancied?
Phillip Schofield. He knows, don’t worry.

Who from TV would you take for dinner or a drink?

Gok Wan, because I love him and we could eat a massive dinner and then he could show me how to hide it. I love what he’s done for women – how he makes them feel really nice without having to be different. He’s adorable in real life – just as you’d expect. The first time I met him, he said “You look lovely.” When anybody says that it’s nice, but when he says it you think, wow. Pretty hot tonight. I said, I’ve got my massive knickers on especially for you. I don’t say that to many men.

Your movie for when you’re at home ill?

When Harry Met Sally with the duvet and endless cups of tea

What would we see on your website favourites? – people send in an anonymous postcard with a secret on. They make you feel you’re normal: there are things you’ve never experienced, but then one where you think, oh yeah, I have felt that. You feel like a tiny speck in a massive world. It’s fascinating.

When did you last Google yourself and what came up?

I am over two years clean. Googling yourself is where madness lies. For every person who thinks you’re brilliant, another person thinks you’re an arsehole. It’s different on Twitter: if someone sends you a message to say they don’t like you or to send you abuse, you’re allowed to be upset because they’ve directed it at you. But if someone just puts on a blog “Sarah Millican is rubbish”, they’re totally allowed their opinion. If I’ve looked for that and been upset by it, that’s my fault. Another comic and I have made a pact not to Google ourselves, and we’re each other’s sponsor. If one of us feels like doing that, we ring the other and they talk them out of it. If I know I have to ring another person who’ll be disappointed, it’s enough to not do it. Any amount of success can disappear when one person sends you a really horrible message. Two hundred positive ones equal one negative. On Twitter I get mostly positive ones. I love when I do a show and in the interval, people in the audience are sending messages saying: “Love it so far!” Then you go out and have an even better second half. All comics have that please-love-me neediness.

You’re on a date. What film would you take someone to see?

Something smart and funny. A classic Woody Allen would work.

Who would play you in a film of your life? 

Well, I’m doing a pretty good job of it now. I’d be annoyed if I didn’t at least get an audition.

What was the last film you walked out of?

I walk out of all of them. How else would I get home?

Sarah Millican hosts Live at the Apollo tonight at 9:30pm on BBC1


This is an edited version of an article from the issue of Radio Times magazine that went on sale 1 December 2011