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Katie Derham on how her dog is a Strictly Come Dancing superfan

The former Strictly contestant also reveals her love of The Durrells and sailing

Published: Saturday, 17th June 2017 at 8:06 am

What’s the TV set-up at your house in Sussex?


We have one family TV in the living room and no other tellies in the house. But my daughters [Eleanor, 11, and Natasha, 15] are incredibly mobile with their viewing, whether it’s sitting at the top of the stairs or just outside the back door. But I like the big comfy sofa, cup of tea in hand, and a big screen, watching telly properly.

Tell me more about this sofa…

It’s a pretty ancient threadbare corner sofa, slightly food-stained. We have our Sunday-night dinner in front of the telly. I try to make everyone sit down at the table during the week but Sunday night is food-in-front-of-the-TV time.

What’s your house like?

We live in a very old house and our big telly-watching sofa is in the draughtiest, coldest room in the house, so we have lots of blankets. We’re big fans of what they call “character”, which actually just means crumbling. Once we get the fire on and shut the curtains it’s lovely and cosy, though.

What are you watching on TV at the moment?

Recently my elder daughter and I were gripped by Big Little Lies. It was an amazing analysis of those bits of a relationship that nobody ever talks about. My husband John [Vincent, cofounder of restaurant chain Leon] and I have always been West Wing and 24 fans. As a family we’ve just come to the end of our happy Sunday-night times with The Durrells. We do a lot of sailing round where it’s set and we sit there looking at the shots of Corfu and go, “Ooh, we want to be there now.”

Do you go sailing as a family?

We’ve been sailing together since Eleanor was born so that’s what the girls know when it comes to holidays. I’d mucked around on rowing boats but my husband has sailed since he was little and he introduced me to it. I’m not desperately good, but I love it.

What’s the main attraction?

It’s incredibly liberating because of that sense of “where are we going to go today?” You can’t plan anything because the weather might change, the wind might change and so there’s a real sense of freedom. It’s like floating caravanning, really.

Away from the water, who controls the TV remote?

Well, while I rue the fact there are so many screens in the house – mobiles, laptops, iPads – there are moments when it helps because we can all watch what we want. The only argument we’ve occasionally had is Doctor Who v Eurovision.

Do your pets watch with you?

We have a golden retriever, a rabbit and a couple of chickens. There were more chickens but there’s been a bit of fox work…

So the surviving chickens don’t watch with you?

No, they don’t: that would be a fantastic Durrells-like scene! But our dog does watch with us – and was obviously a huge fan of Strictly.


Katie Derham presents Sound of Dance on Saturdays at 3pm on Radio 3


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