Twiggy: Strictly or X Factor? “X Factor, no question”

The actress and model on loving cliffhangers, preferring X Factor to Strictly, and being addicted to Dolly Parton


What brings a tear to your eye?


I’ve actually cried at previous episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? That said, it’s not difficult to make me shed a tear – my husband Leigh [actor Leigh Lawson] teases me about it. There’s a cemetery near our home that we sometimes walk through and every time I read the inscriptions on the gravestones, that’s it – I go. I can’t get through Bambi without a box of tissues.

How do you top and tail the day?

We wake up to Radio 4 and tend to end the day with the ten o’clock news and Newsnight. All the radios in the house are tuned to Radio 4 – it forms the backdrop to the day.

What else do you watch on TV?

I’m a huge fan of serials – I love those Scandinavian dramas like The Killing – when that ended I was beside myself. And I became obsessed with The Honourable Woman – well written, beautifully acted, the whole package.

Any guilty pleasures?

I never miss Location, Location, Location – I’m nosey and I adore looking at other people’s houses.

What surprised you in making Who Do You Think You Are?

I knew nothing about my family when we started filming – my mum didn’t like talking about the past – and every day I found out something new. I was surprised at how emotional I felt.

You’re from a family of strong women. Are you proud of that?

Definitely. My ancestors were born at a time when life was tough if you didn’t have any money, but they got through it and found a way to survive. I left the whole experience feeling enormously lucky to have been born when I was.

Did you watch TV as a family?

Like most people we huddled round the telly to watch Dixon of Dock Green and Emergency Ward 10. Oh, and Hawai Five-0 – my mum had a huge crush on Jack Lord. We used to laugh because in the opening titles he was standing on a cliff and his hair didn’t move. Mum and Dad also used to let me stay up to watch a sci-fi drama called Quatermass and the Pit. I’d be in my pyjamas, hiding behind the sofa, scared to death. It made a huge impression.

Time to bring it back?

It would probably look ridiculously creaky now. No, if I could bring anything back it would be quite
a recent thing, American police drama Without a Trace [2002–9] about a missing persons team. I was hooked on that.

Any surprising tastes?

I adore country music. I got into it when I lived in LA. I once drove 100 miles to see Dolly Parton in concert and it was worth every minute. Now, I have days where I play nothing else all day long.


Twiggy is in Who Do You Think You Are? tonight at 8pm on BBC1