And the nicest interviewee of 2018 so far is....
I've interviewed some lovely folk this year - and hardly any divas (ahem). But the loveliest of 2018 so far is unquestionably Sandi Toksvig. She's passionate about gender equality and this interview caused some ripples when she revealed funny women are edited out of certain panel shows. She's also super smart and funny. Is it just me or - should Sandi run for Prime Minister?
I've interviewed Jimmy Nesbitt a few times and he's so friendly and easy-going, it's only when I get home and write up the piece – and list all the huge projects he's been involved in, from The Hobbit to Bloody Sunday – that I remember he's actually a pretty huge star. I got to fly to Hong Kong for this Lucky Man interview and watch Jimmy and Rupert Penry Jones rehearse their fight scenes - have a look at my exclusive behind the scenes pictures.
Nothing plastic fantastic about the cast of Age Before Beauty
The latest drama from Cutting It writer Debbie Horsfield swaps hair salons for the anti-ageing industry which is bliss for a journalist – it meant I got to grill the cast about plastic surgery and botox! None of them have had any work done but did allude to friends and colleagues who have. Annoyingly they were tight-lipped (as opposed to pillow-lipped, ha!) about the names. But it makes for an intriguing read... I also hosted the Q&A at Soho Hotel which was an absolute riot.
sometimes, just sometimes, it *is* okay to meet your heroes
I LOVE Dawn French. Like, serious love. I'd probably leave my husband for her. And the dogs. When I was little, my friend Jo Cherry and I would sing 'Cox and Cherry' to the French and Saunders theme tune, and pretend to be them. So if you'd have told me then that I'd have ended up interviewing the great woman herself so often that she now greets me with a big hug, I would have DIED.
David Walliams: How I Found A Different Side To The Class Clown
It was a total pleasure to sit down with David Walliams recently and chat to him about comedy, talent, being a dad, writing, and the pressure of living life under the spotlight. It was quite a serious conversation - apart from the odd laugh, of course - and it was really lovely to see a different side to him than the comedian we normally see gooning around on telly. I was really pleased with the way this one turned out.
sarah lancashire: discovering a sweet and shy side to the heavyweight actress
Sarah Lancashire's always been prolific, but it's only relatively recently that she's been getting the meaty roles she's always craved. I interviewed her for Radio Times (and hosted an on-stage Q&A at the launch for C4 drama Kiri) and found her to be shy, thoughtful - and petrified of messing it up
a career highlight: meeting the fastest man in the world
I met Usain Bolt shortly after his triple gold at the Rio Olympics. It was amazing to watch the machine in action: his huge entourage, his sponsorship commitments. He should have been celebrating but he looked exhausted as he was passed from pillar to post. Being the world's fastest man is no picnic, it seems.
Lesley manville: Oscar nominee and star of little-known BBC comedy 'Mum'
I'll let you into a sort-of secret that only a million or so people know: the best show on TV is Mum. This gentle, heart warming, beautifully written comedy will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. Its star Lesley Manville must be the only Oscar nominee who also stars in a low-budget TV comedy. I interviewed her for the Radio Times.
How GOOD was Britannia, the recent Jez Butterworth drama starring David Morrissey as a Roman general, Kelly Reilley and Zoe Wanamaker as celtic warriors, and Mackenzie Crook as a druid. But guess what? It's all based on real life - give or take a bit of poetic licence. I wrote a piece about the real-life story of the Roman invasion of 43AD and it is properly fascinating.
a rare bit of hollywood glamour for me
Much as I love telly - and I am PASSIONATE about British TV in particular - it's always a bit of a thrill to interview a proper, bona fide Hollywood star. Last year I got to chat to Renee Zellweger for the new Bridget Jones film. She was *very* Hollywood but that's not a bad thing. I also talked to her British co-stars, Sally Phillips and Sarah Solemani, who were smart, funny, and opinionated - I had a big girl crush on both.
I interviewed all the Love Islanders and my favourite was...
ITV very kindly ask me to interview the Love Islanders every year (in London, sadly - we do the press day a few days before they fly off to Majorca). Here are the fruits of my labour - and click to find out who was my favourite.