I enjoy Lewis hugely. I love the chemistry between Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching America’s Next Top Model with my youngest daughter. I find myself shouting at the television: “How can they be so awful, these ghastly girls!”
What makes you cry?
I’m dreadful and the older I get, the more teary I get. There are usually tears at the end of Love Your Garden, when we reveal the garden, and I find it hard as the presenter not to blub as well. I don’t watch the one in the hospital with the babies being born [One Born Every Minute]; I haven’t the strength.
What makes you blush?
Oh, I haven’t blushed for a long time. Sometimes I get angry. I got very angry during the Diamond Jubilee coverage when the Queen was wrongly called Her Royal Highness and presenters were vague on facts. One said the Queen has outlasted 12 prime ministers and at least six American presidents. We all make mistakes but when somebody obviously hasn’t done their homework, that gets me a bit rattled.
What’s on your wife’s watchlist?
A Question of Sport, which is beyond me. Sometimes I surprise myself by knowing an answer but I’m not that sporty. My wife is. She’s even trained me to support Southampton Football Club. “I get very unnerved now,” an old friend said to me. “You never used to talk about football. It’s worrying. I prefer it when you talk about theatre.”
Who was your first crush?
I was quite keen on Kathy Kirby, the blonde singer on the Billy Cotton Band Show. I was only about eight. I thought she was terribly glamorous. My tastes have changed considerably in the intervening years!
What would you resurrect?
The Good Old Days, which was music hall performed at the Leeds City Varieties. We get variety with Britain’s Got Talent but music hall seems to have disappeared.
How did you discover your green fingers?
When I was ten I found I could grow things. I wasn’t particularly academic when I was little but I could sow seeds and they would come up, and I could take cuttings and get roots on them. I’ve always liked beauty – I notice things a lot whether indoors or out – and to make a small thing beautiful, like a garden, is for me one of the most satisfying, stimulating things there is.
Do you ever tune into Gardeners’ World?
I deliberately don’t watch. I’d be irritated if I thought it wasn’t as good as it used to be and a bit stunned if it was better. It’s not mean-spiritedness; it’s just that I’ll do my thing and they can do theirs and good luck.
What do you wake up to?
I like to wake up quietly to birdsong and have my porridge in silence, which sounds terribly boring but it’s wonderfully calming. I don’t really want to be hectored by radio or TV at that time of day.
What do you wind down to?
My idea of perfect evening viewing is a period drama like Downton Abbey or a Jane Austen, or watching the masterful David Suchet in Poirot. Anything with a steam train, a costume or a horse will do me nicely. I enjoy escaping to a more refined age for a couple of hours.
1. The Voice or Britain’s Got Talent? Britain’s Got Talent 2. Eastenders or Corrie? Neither. They’re always so miserable on EastEnders. 3. Jamie Oliver or Nigel Slater? Nigel Slater 4. Radio 4 or Radio 2? Classic FM 5. TOWIE or Made in Chelsea? Neither. Watching people pick fluff out of their own navels is not my idea of fun.
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