The Chatroom

Sounding Off...

Claire Murphy talks to the food lover who hates cooking 

You are currently appearing on Whose Recipe Is It Anyway? where chefs have to guess which celeb supplied a recipe. Did you enjoy presenting the programme?

It was fantastic. It's one of the most interesting jobs I've ever done. We shot 40 programmes in 10 days and the time just flew by so quickly. It worked extremely well and everyone enjoyed it. 

Are you a big food fan?

Yes, I love my food and I love watching other people cook. Personally, though, I loathe cooking! Working on the show was perfect for me because I had all my favourite chefs preparing food on the day, so I was in heaven. 

Acting, singing, presenting or writing - where does your heart lie?

Film and TV acting are my great loves - but if there's nothing on offer, then my priority is to work. I'm lucky that the fields I work in are rarely dull. 

How did you make the move from defining 80's popstar to TV presenter?

A very good manager! And I'm a hard worker. I think there's a lot of ego involved in being a pop star, whereas to be a presenter you need to be knowledgeable and hardworking. It suited my thirties very much to go into presenting and I now present in areas I'm particularly interested in, like alternative medicine, food and the arts. 

Who have you most enjoyed meeting?

I really enjoyed meeting the former hostage Terry Waite because he's so extraordinary. And I've met some wonderful women, everyone from the writer Su Townsend (The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole...) to jazz singer Marion Montgomery. I love meeting people who have inspired me. 

Who were your favourite bands or singers during the 80's?

I really loved Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Metallica, and Sisters Of Mercy.

You sang: 'I'm going to turn suburbia upside down...' Have you?

Well, I think it has turned itself upside down. Suburbia is not what it was 20 years ago, everything's come to the surface right now - wife swapping and transvestism. I don't think there is such a thing a suburbia anymore. 

If you could sing with a band today, who would it be?

Catatonia. I think Cerys Matthews is fantastic and she's got a great voice. 

What do you think of acts like Hear'Say who have had fame handed to them?

I don't know that they have simply been handed fame. I think success when you're very young is a terrible burden because you're not formed yet. There's a lot of talent in Hear'Say, just as there was in the Spice Girls, who also had mega success at a very young age. There's nothing more tragic than that being taken away from you before you are 25. My heart goes out to Hear'Say. I don't resent them, I just think they're in for a rough ride later on and they've got to lay the foundations now. 

Do you prefer acting onstage or in front of a camera?

I know what I'm better at, and that's acting onstage, but I prefer acting on camera - I like the whole circus of television presenting - I love the equipment and the team. When it works properly it's like watching the cogs of an engine. I just get so excited - I don't think it could ever bore me. 

Do you watch yourself on TV?

No. I would only watch if I had to be  very critical about it. I'd watch it a long time afterwards when it couldn't hurt me if I thought I was crap! 

What has been your career highlight?

I'd say the highlight of my career was hitting 40. Niggly things don't bother me anymore and time becomes so valuable that life just gets better.

On Guide
June 2001