Radio Times readers once voted you their favourite Blue Peter presenter of all time. How did that feel?
When I heard the results I actually cried! I just couldn’t believe it, I thought it must have been a joke.
Why do you think you beat such legends of children’s TV as John Noakes and Anthea Turner?
My dad always told me to keep my feet on the ground and remember where I’m from. I’ve always tried to act in that way, and maybe that has something to do with it.
Do you still watch Blue Peter these days?
I don’t have the time, but I am angry that it has been moved from BBC1 to CBBC. It deserves to be on mainstream television, not on the digital channel. People seem to forget that it’s not just a kids’ show, it’s a family show, and a generation of children and their parents are missing out because it’s less accessible. It should be on BBC1, just before Pointless.
You’re on Celebrity MasterChef. Are you in charge of the kitchen at home?
Yes. I try to be a little bit experimental, but that can go disastrously wrong. I just can’t keep my fingers out of the spice dish. Concoctions can go either way. They can either be fantastic, or make my family run to the bin!
Do you have a particular speciality?
I like my baked salmon, with watercress sauce, asparagus and garlic-crushed potatoes. The worst thing I’ve ever done was a vegetable pie. Don’t even ask!
You, of course, once had a culinary disaster live on Blue Peter…
Ah, the famous pancake. It was horrific. It looked like one of my pets had been ill. It was so bad I started laughing. It was the first episode in which we ever wore earpieces, and they were screaming at me from the gallery, telling me to toss it. I almost forgot I was on air and started replying out loud, saying, “I can’t toss it,” because it was stuck to the pan. There was far too much talk of tossing. People still come up and talk to me about it.
Who controls the remote in your house?
Me. My husband lets me watch what I want, really. He loves The Simpsons and South Park. He and my son, William, who’s 21, watch it when I’m not there. They do South Park impressions and talk to each other in the voices.
What makes you reach for the off switch?
Adverts. I have to turn over as soon as they come on. I record things and watch them on catch-up, so you can fast-forward through the adverts, or I get them on DVD.
Celebrity MasterChef begins on Thursday 18th June at 9pm on BBC1