Culture, Interview

12 bottles of Oyster Bay with Jodie Prenger!

If you only glean one thing about Jodie Prenger at the interview, let it be that she’s a cracker. The Blackpool-born singer and actress made headlines in 2008 when she beat off thousands to win BBC1’s I’d Do Anything to become Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Nancy in the West End production of Oliver!. Far from a one hit wonder, she’s gone on to play various other leading roles on stage, appeared in TV programmes, guest radio presented for Elaine Paige and Paul O’Grady, toured with John Barrowman, released a weight loss DVD and now she’s the titular role in a touring production of Calamity Jane. I caught up with Jodie while she was settling down for a nice cuppa.

Right, the kettle is on, so first up, some quick fire questions. What’s your favourite musical?

How very dare you – oh gosh, oh wow – I do love Gypsy. But then there’s Barbra Streisand and Funny Girl. And Calamity Jane, of course. But, I’ve got to go with Gypsy.


The Notebook [said without a pause]. It’s amazing. I read somewhere that Nicholas Sparks based it on his wife’s parents. I don’t cry at human films; I’m in tears over animal films, but this one makes me go.


It’s going to sound morbid and awful, but The Book of Human Skin. There is a horrible baddie but a really beautiful love story.


Off the Wall by Michael Jackson. No question.


Lots! That’s why I have a backside like a house [guffaws!]. But chocolate; it makes me very happy.


I’m a secret Disneyworld person. I worship Mickey. But I get too excited, more than a three or four year old would. Forget Santa; I still believe in Snow White.

Way to Spend an Afternoon?

A lazy Sunday with a proper Sunday dinner, an abundance of films, snuggling up to the person you love, with the rain beating on the windows, the fire roaring and nothing to do, no emails to answer and you can switch off from the world.

Now on to the harder stuff… When you were competing for Nancy one of the producers criticised you for being too big for the role; do you think body image is as big an issue in theatre as it is in TV and film?

A tough one. Ironically, I always remember the photoshoot when I won the role, and I was trying on the costume for the previous actress, and they were the same size – a size 14 – so I thought, ‘back off!’. There’s always that size issue, and there will be while it’s at the forefront of media. However, you notice more on TV and theatre, the realness of casting. There is every shape and size and there’s a role and part for everyone. I can’t say when I was ten stone I was right for Nancy.

Do you ever have to defend your weight today?

No. I don’t. Thankfully. I mean, of course, there are some dresses I’d like to drop a stone for, but I’ve decided buckskins [which Jodie wears as Calamity] are the way forward. They’re so comfy. There should be a National Buckskin Wearing Day; just as long as they’re not real!

If your dream was to play Nancy, what’s it now?

I’ve been so lucky, and have played some polar-opposite roles. Calamity is a total dream to play, when I was in a meeting and asked to do it, outside I was calm and cool, inside I was thinking ‘this is the most amazing thing that’s ever happened!’. And it’s such a talented cast; it makes you sick. My dream for when I retire though is to open an animal sanctuary and become feral: let the roots grow out and the fake tan wear off.

Do you still feel like ‘just Jodie from Blackpool’?

Oh god, yes. I mean, I like the odd taste of champagne but I never let it go to my head where I’m demanding 12 bottles of Oyster Bay and M&Ms. I don’t think so. You see people like that, demanding everything and getting away with it. They’re like naughty kids; I am a devil backstage, I love to have fun, but people want more and more. It’s sad to watch, and when you get the inside info that someone’s like that, you don’t really enjoy watching them perform anymore. My nan always said, ‘It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice’.

Did you really wet yourself after winning the role of Nancy?

I actually can’t remember after winning. I was in a total daze. You scream that hard, and jump that hard, and you lose every sort of bodily control. I wasn’t expecting to win. It was genuinely the only out of body experience I’ve had.

What’s your most embarrassing moment to date?

‘Footitis’. I’m always putting my foot in my mouth. It’s that northern thing where you speak as you find. I don’t think I’ll change; sometimes it works for the better, sometimes not.

Will you be making any New Year’s Resolutions?

Probably to send more Christmas cards. The intention is there; I always buy them, and then I never send them. Maybe I should just send a photo of me writing them as proof of the effort. Maybe I should start sending them in January?

How do you tackle the ‘January Blues’?

I don’t really get them. I don’t have the time for them to be honest. I work on an even keel – unless I go to Disneyworld and then come back, and then I’m rocking back and forth hugging a Goofy teddy as I comedown!

Calamity Jane is known as a tomboy; can you relate or are you more feminine?

I do like going and getting my hair done, and putting the fake tan and Spanx on, but I actually read on Wikipedia – apart from being an alcoholic and smoking – I kind of cover every trait the real Calamity, Martha Jane Canary, has. I just think she was an amazing person, this entity from the Wild West: sharp in her tongue and quick in the gun. The role was written for Doris Day, who is beautiful and gorgeous and the rough and ready Martha; this is a happy medium between the both. I read as well that she actually worked in a brothel. Nancy was a prostitute too. What does it say about me?…

Do you prefer Nancy or Calamity Jane?

Another tough one. With Calamity I get to live at the end and I get married, so her.

How do you fill Doris Day’s boots?

That is such a scary thing. I grew up loving Doris Day, and Vera Lynn, and all the old stuff. I never wanted to mimic her. I think that’s actually quite an insult so I hope I’ve done her proud. I didn’t know but she opened an animal sanctuary herself as well, so I hope I can do her proud in that as well.

Without spoiling anything, what can audiences expect?

It used to break my heart to see kids come to Oliver! and get upset when Nancy died, but in this, you’ve got four year olds dressed up in cowboy outfits, and adults in their 90s, then the music starts, and people start humming along. It’s so well know, and it’s fun, with a beautiful love story. The cast is so strong. If I had enough money, I’d pay for everyone to see it! And I can’t wait to bring it to York. I bloody love York. The shopping and the area is lovely. And the people are really nice. People actually talk to you in the shops. It’s not that there aren’t lovely shops down South, you just have to find the right little pocket, but there are more pockets in the North!

Culture, Food, Interview

Alfie Boe in the buff

Who is Alfie Boe? When I was offered an interview with him, I knew his name. I thought I knew he was a singer (I was right), but turns out he’s also an actor, an Italo-phile (that’s an Italy lover, duh!), and a bit of a flirt. Here’s what went down when I chatted to him last week.

Let’s start with the easy questions to warm you up, so do you have a favourite book?

I have to admit I don’t read very much; whenever I do try and read I feel guilty, that I should be looking at music. But I should try and get into it a bit more.

Does that apply to films as well?

I do like watching my movies, and I have a number of favourites. I like the old-fashioned 1940s films, things with Cary Grant, Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart, so Casablanca, Out of Africa and The African Queen. They’re the best, they really capture a romantic time period that I really love.

A favourite album?

These are tough! [Groans] I love all types of music so I have favourite albums across the board. I love Led Zeppelin’s ‘Houses of the Holy’, The Rolling Stones ‘Exile on Main St’. Dean Martin, Enrico Caruso, but I can’t pinpoint one in particular.

Do you still feel Northern?

I’ll always be Northern. I’m about as Northern as you can be, I think. I’ll never lose my roots. I’ve spent time in America but people say I’ve not lost my English accent and I can’t. I can’t ever lose my identity as being a Northern English bloke.

So it’s not grim up north?

Absolutely not. Morrissey was wrong with that.

I’ve read that a businessman overheard you singing when you were working as a mechanic, and he told you to audition.

Yes, but he wasn’t the only person who was encouraging me. I had a lot of support, but this particular guy told me about the auditions.

So what song did you sing?

I sang a song called ‘You Are My Heart’s Delight’ and it’s an old song written by Franz Lehar – an old classical composer – and it’s one that my father used to play around the house all the time. So I’d hear this song constantly and because it was an opera company I had to try to sing something like that. Because my father used to play it all the time, I couldn’t help but learn it, and know the words. I did it in English, it’s actually originally in German, but I did it in English, and got on. They asked me back for a second audition and I sang some West Side Story for them then and then they offered me the job.

I know what you mean, I remember listening to my mum’s Tina Turner album in the car for ages.

Your parents teach you things.

But not always good! I remember getting into trouble, aged six, for coming into school and singing the words to Tina’s ‘Private Dancer’. That was a tough one for my mum to explain!

Oh my word! Not so good! [Laughing] That’s absolutely great.

Do you still get stage fright?

I do. Not fright, but nerves before I do a show. It’s part of the job, and being a performer. All that nerves are are wanting to do well. It can sometimes be horrible to experience, but then also they can be exciting. Once you turn the nerves into excitement and develop them into your performance, that’s ok.

How do you feel about being known as ‘the Lancashire Michael Bublé’?

[Chuckles] Is that what they’re calling me now?

Apparently so.

Really. Well that’s a nice compliment. I’m fine with that. I didn’t expect that.

Is that what you’ll call yourself now?

Completely. I’m going to drop the name ‘Alfie Boe’. Bit of a mouthful for an album cover though.

You were in ITV’s Mr Selfridge recently; what brought about the move from musical theatre to TV?

Well, I’ll always been acting really in the shows, and it’s always been a part of my career, and when I got this opportunity, I jumped at it. It was a great chance, and something that was going to open another door for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’d like to do more. Music is taking up a lot of my time at the moment, but if the opportunity arose to do some more acting on TV, I’d love it. Great fun.

You’re known for your performance of Jean Valjean in Les Mis; what did you think of Hugh Jackman’s version in the recent film?

Well, we’re very different obviously – different people and different performers – he did a good, he did a great job. With that role, it is a strong acting role, if you have the acting and the vocal ability too, then that’s great. Hugh sang it in a very different way than I did; I’m operatically trained and he’s musical theatre trained and he used the voice that he has. It is a very different performance and character that we both play but that’s the beauty of Les Miserables, many people have done the roles and brought something new to it that keeps it alive.

And now you can move on to Lancashire’s Michael Bublé?

Exactly. There you go. I’ll get my dance steps moving.

And get the hip shake?

Get the hips going; that’d be good [laughs].

What question do you wish people would stop asking you?

Oh, my word. ‘When did you decide to become a singer?’ or ‘When did you discover you had a voice?’ That’s the one I get asked a lot.

So what do you wish people would ask you?

Erm, I don’t know. ‘What am I going to have for my dinner tonight?’ Anything but that. I like exciting questions, things that make you think a bit, rather than just coming out with the same old explanation about why I became a singer. You know, ‘What would you advise?’ Well, it’s to work hard, and go for your dreams, and that sort of thing, there’s nothing exciting you can say.

What would surprise your fans to learn about you?

Probably that while I’m stood here talking to you on the phone I’m naked.


[Chuckles nervously] I’m not really. I have just got out of the shower, but I’m not naked.

Wow. And we’ve just been talking about that hip action… Alfie Boe naked. Done. I can knock that one off the list. So… on to do you feel kinship to Italy? Obviously you have your name, the tenors, your new album features Italian songs, and you’ve been cooking over there; is it a country that you really enjoy?

I love Italy, I really do. It’s a great part of the world: the food, the culture, the weather, the atmosphere. The music is something I’ve grown up listening to for a long time, since being a kid, so yeah, I do have quite a strong connection to Italy. I go over as much as I can, and I love the food. There’s so much of Italy I’ve got to discover. Some beautiful areas, I’ve been to quite a lot of different parts but there’s so much more I want to try and find.

I think you get the sense with Italy that it wasn’t really that long ago that is wasn’t a country, that it was almost counties.

Exactly. I suppose it is a little like counties in a way; in England, with the counties, there are different accents for parts of the country.

And you get the sense of pride.

You do, and that’s the same in Italy. You get your Romans, Tuscans, Venetians, Sicilians, and they’re very very different, and make a point of pointing that out.

Well, I’m going to have to stop monopolising you now, but thank you for talking to me.

My pleasure, come and see the show if you get the chance!


A Ruby beyond price

Ruby Wax is back (if she ever went away), and this time she’s on tour with Sane New World – a compact version of her best-selling book of the same name – providing a manual (if you will) on how to survive the 21st century. There’s no better qualified person to show us how and why we sabotage our own sanity; the ‘poster girl’ of depression, Ruby recently left Oxford University with a Masters in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, but there’s always a spike of comedy to hand too…

What made you decide to write a manual that was for the normal-mad, as well as the mad-mad?

For seven years I did a show [about depression], but it’s not like I was doing it for a special group, everybody came, and people would nod their heads in recognition, and once you study how a brain works, it’s all pretty similar once you peel the layers back and look at the plumbing.

And don’t forget, it may not be the ‘one in four’ [who suffer from mental health issues] but people are complaining of burning out, and the numbers show that by 2020 it’s going to be stress that kills us, which is ludicrous when in other parts of the world there are other reasons, and we’re killing ourselves with our own thinking.

So I found that really interesting – why that’s happening, and why that’s happening now. I wanted to know how did it get like this? And I don’t want to blame anything but it’s technology. I don’t know when to shut it off and everybody needs to find out their tipping point.

Clearly I’m the poster girl for mental illness, but I’m saying at the beginning that this is for everybody; a show for the normal.

It’s that expression – FOMO – the fear of missing out.

Yes; that’s interesting. I didn’t know that. FOMO. That’s a really good expression. How did that expression come about?

I think it’s just a phrase that’s been used in the last few years.

Well, how bizarre is that? And then there’s the entitlement – it’s a disease – people with no talent at all have to go on the X Factor, or think they should be supermodels but they ignore the fact that they’re the size of Tibet. You know, everybody thinks they deserve it, just because they’re there, because the magazines tempt you.

The new X Factor just started this weekend, and they’ve lowered the age limit to include 14 year olds so there was a boy, who said, with no hint of irony, ‘I just want to have girls screaming my name.’ He was actually quite talented, but that’s not why he was doing it.

Well, we’ve got another heroin addict on the cards there; that’s just waiting to happen. But they should do a follow up of what happened to everybody. Wouldn’t that be good? I can’t even watch it; I think if you watch stuff like that, you’re in cahoots with them, like you’re watching the death of an animal. Maybe I’m being really ignorant, but I just don’t do it; I just turn my head.

I’ve never watched it before, but someone told me I had to watch it from the beginning.

The point is, we all have addiction in our blood, so once you see it it’s hard to get your eye off it, like a car accident. Can you open one page of Hello! Magazine? I can’t. I have to burn them.

No; I can’t read it.

But if you get your hands on it, you probably open it and keep going.

Do you think adding the ‘spike of comedy’ to your manual is important?

Otherwise I’d be doing a lecture at a university, so I took my dissertation, and I turned it into comedy. If it’s not comedy, what would I be doing? Who would buy a ticket? I saw Mark Thomas at Edinburgh and he’s hilarious; it doesn’t have to be about the brain – politics, whatever – but otherwise I’d get bored. I think it’s a comedian’s job to say something real but make it funny, otherwise it’s intolerable. Everything can be tedious if you don’t have a sense of humour; everything.

In your book Sane New World you mention asking people to describe their bathrooms as tapping into their mindset.

I’m talking about the nature of entitlement, and I’m talking about narcissism in that place. People who demand to have toilets that do more than three functions, and I think that Freud should have asked, ‘how do you want your loo to look?’ because that is the gateway to the unconscious.

So what does your toilet look like?

It’s pretty humble. I mean I don’t live in a slum toilet but I don’t have a chandelier and a marble floor. It’s just a toilet. You know, I don’t need to have the 17th century chaise longue for people to watch me taking a bath. I mean, it’s a fucking shower. [Laughs] It’s a nice one, but it doesn’t play Rachmaninoff.

You’ve mentioned that a great way of coping with things is to find your own ‘fucked buddy’?

Oh right, that’s in the book, but that’s not on stage.

So who is your ‘fucked buddy’?

I have girlfriends who are very vulnerable; they’re not rich, they’re not famous, but they get it; they’re my tribe. So I would call them, not one of those alpha women. These women, you can talk about the dark side, and they don’t get bored.

How do you take a step back from this information overload?

I try to do mindfulness. But nothing is a 100% cure, but, at least, beside medication, I’m trying something else. I don’t have a lot of trust in just sedating yourself or hoping for the best, or waving a crystal. I really have to see the evidence, and so this was the evidence-based stuff, that you can see physiological in a brain scanner.

Is there an ideal time to have been alive then? If the information overload is a symptom of the 21st century; do you think we were much more content 200 years ago?

Yeah; definitely. I mean, you died early. [Laughs] But you kind of knew your place, and if it got too bad, you’d just have a revolution. But the problem is, I don’t need to know… I mean, I need to know if my neighbour is having sex with the man next door, but not four doors down. I don’t need to know.

Ruby Wax will perform Sane New World at Harrogate Theatre on 13th October. For more information, visit



Wax on, wax off

By the time you’re reading this, I will just have finished interviewing Ruby Wax for the magazine I edit. I can tell you right now that pre-interview I’m feeling pretty apprehensive. I’ve always liked Ruby. I think she’s a hoot and a half. And I’ve been very impressed by her stance on depression. However, I’ve only had a few hours to prep, and I get the feeling that, as an accomplished interviewer herself, she’ll not suffer an unprepared fool gladly. Hopefully I’m sorted though; and hopefully I’ll get some good stuff that I’ll post here in due course. Fingers crossed!

Interview, Writing

Interview time again!

I’m excited because tomorrow I’m meeting Pamela Hartshorne, the author of Time’s Echo and The Memory of Midnight. She’s based in York, and sets her timeslip novels in the city, going back and forth between the present day and Elizabethan times, and they’re both great reads.

I’ve got lots of questions to ask her, about her books, about her writing, advice for aspiring novelists, but if you have a question you’d like to ask her, let me know ASAP and I’ll see what I can do!

Look out for the full interview coming in the next few days or so.




Interview with Heather Small

Last week I posted that I’d be interviewing Heather Small from the M People. To be honest, I loved the M People as a child (that’s my mum’s influence!), and I think her song Proud in anthemic, but other than that, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found was a truly inspirational woman – intelligent, funny, feisty, and yes, proud.


If you remember living through the 90s (and chance are, most of you do), then Heather Small is a bit of a legend. Singer of M People, she gave us some seriously catchy tunes, such as Moving on Up and Search for the Hero; she also performed on the Children in Need collaboration of Perfect Day, which found its way into many record collections.

By 2000, she was going solo, and this time, we had a new track to love – Proud. The upbeat anthem garnered instant popularity, and has since been used in the Olympics, as Oprah Winfrey’s soundtrack and most recently, as a comedic refrain on Miranda.

As well as balancing her many charity endeavours, in 2008, Heather competed in Strictly Come Dancing, last year saw an M People greatest hits tour and this summer Heather is headlining the Grassington Festival.


What was your reaction when you heard that Oprah wanted to use your song Proud as the theme tune to her show?

She was looking for a song that encapsulated her time in the business, and one of her aides suggested the song; she liked it. They asked me if I’d come over and sing it live. Everybody feels like they know her – she’s a legend. She does a lot of good works. To see someone that looked like me on TV, someone who took herself seriously, that was inspiring, but she’s much more playful in life than on screen; she’s got a really sexy vibe.

So you didn’t run around screaming, “Oh my God, it’s Oprah?”

[Laughs] That’s where we differ! Was I pleased? Of course I was. I was honoured. When you do something that other people find believable; when you’re able to translate something that was primarily for yourself but now relates to a third person, that’s amazing and humbling.

The Biggest Loser uses Proud in their show, but recently the format has gained controversy, in particular for the most recent winner – Rachel’s – incredibly dramatic weight loss. Do you think there’s too much pressure to conform to social norms about appearance?

Well, I was happy for them to use my song in the first place. It means different things to different people. I had a sneak peek of the show and it’s great to see other people achieving their goals. There’s no quick fix for anything; you just have to grit your teeth.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but there’s always going to be one person that is more vulnerable. Like anything, a pattern of behaviour can become addictive. Being overweight, it’s not just about the food, it’s about something deeper – psychological – so sometimes you get to place where you lose the weight, and then the attention you get, it’s like a high. So you constantly want that high. So you become obsessive.

There’s a pressure on females to look a certain way, and to a lesser extent, males – and that makes me laugh; I think, welcome to our world.

The thing is that the more images of variety of women that’s out there, the better. I come from a Caribbean background, so the thought that someone is not accepted for their weight is totally alien.

I only realised when I was 18 that you ‘have’ to be six foot and stick thin, but that would get no headway in my community.

Ultimately you have to look after yourself, and be good to yourself – if you like to wear something, and it feels a little tight, you know what to do. Treat yourself right, be happy within yourself and don’t accept anything less.

You’ve sung with some remarkable people in the past, including Tom Jones (what was he like?); but who’s still on your duet wish list?

I said once I wouldn’t mind working with Missy Elliot – and that was a loooong time ago but I still think she’s great. A female collaboration, something different to what I do would be great but I don’t have a victim in mind.

What are the greatest lyrics of all time?

Oh, that’s a hard one. ‘Young, gifted and black’ – when I was younger, I thought, ‘Are we allowed to say that?’ I grew up in 70s Britain and when I heard those lyrics, I thought, “Yeah, that empowers me”. Growing up, I didn’t feel that empowered.

What do you think of Bruce Forsyth’s recent announcement of his intention to leave Strictly Come Dancing?

He’s a phenomenon; that he can walk away while he’s still successful and on his own terms, well done. He’s done it right, he’s got the option to come back, and he’ll always be the King of Strictly.

Do you think there’s a difference between his departure, and that of Arlene Phillips?

I was disheartened when Arlene went; she was a really nice woman – feisty, opinionated, mature. We’ve got to celebrate mature in women; I wish that that was recognised in all walks of life, from entertainment to business to anything.

When you appeared on the show, you were in the bottom two on four occasions, how did you pick yourself up after?

Well, it’s not a matter of life and death, and I approached it far more light-heartedly than some of the others, who were in it to win it (and good for them). The whole experience was character building. I found I danced better without the cameras; I was nervous.

Nervous? Really? I think most people would be surprised to hear that.

Even with what I do I can get really nervous. Before I go on stage I stay on my own and try to keep calm with relaxation exercises, vocal warm ups, some ginger tea with manuka honey, candles burning – anything that will keep me calm!

Would you ever consider taking part in other celebrity ‘gameshows’?

No. I don’t think so. The thing with Strictly – my mother and sister were huge fans – and my sister was ill, and she wanted me to say yes. I’d turned them down so many times, but she made me ring them back up and say “yes”. And I got to meet Mark Foster and Brian Fortuna; I wouldn’t be without them. And I did have a laugh in that Strictly bubble.

What would be your ‘perfect day’?

Everybody knows I like to be with family and friends so it would definitely involve them: hanging, eating, talking, trying to put the world to rights (or not), I love to dance – so it’d end with dancing; and some voluntary work – I like that kind of thing, because I like to feel useful.

I did some local voluntary work yesterday at one of Mary Portas’ Living and Giving shops; I like Mary; it might not be a perfect solution but she tries and the money goes to Save the Children. I met some really lovely people; it broadens your horizons as you meet so many different types of people. I like the company of women, and a lot of voluntary services and charities have lots of women through the structure, from management to foot soldiers.

My own charity is Barnados; I only mention it to give a boost to them; if you get the information out there, then that’s a good thing.

You’ve sung and lent your voice to a number of great events, from Gay Pride to the Olympics, is playing a positive role in society important to you?

I think it’s one thing being a positive role model, but you’ve got to be true to yourself. Get involved in things that mean something to you. For me, that’s discrimination, and anything to do with women and children, then I can always be called upon.

As a society, we should try to exercise more tolerance and empathy; I think you can be far more calm and understanding if you can understand someone’s situation. I realise that sometimes I can be quite idealistic but it’s something to work towards.

You’re the headlining artist at this year’s Grassington Festival; is there anything in particular you’d like to do or see while you’re in the Yorkshire Dales?

My family’s from Leeds so I know that Yorkshire is very pretty. More than anything I’m looking forward to playing the festival itself; you bring yourself to people, and with the other artists on the bill, you get an eclectic mix; the crowd comes because they love live music, and there’s a sense of community. That’s what defines a society – it’s not our wars, it’s our music, our culture. You have to start with the very young so everyone feels like they have something to contribute, so you take pride in yourself and your community at large.

Plus, this is a charitable organisation, and on a local level, it’s good to support.

Finally, I have to ask, sorry, but what have you done today that makes you feel proud?

[Laughs for a very long time] Oh, you’re making me laugh, young Betsy. Earlier today I went to get my injections. I’m not a very ‘together’ person but I’m going to Rwanda in a few days to support The Blue Sky Village, and I’m proud that I’ve finally managed to get my injections and pulled it all together.


Quickfire Round! – Favourites:

Book – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Film – Mostly recently, 12 Years a Slave

Album – Blue for You by Nina Simone

Food – Chocolate; I have to have the dark stuff

Place – At the moment it’s Barbados; it’s where my family’s from originally so I just go and relax with family and friends; have a laugh and feel at home





Next week, I’ll be interviewing Heather Small, of M People fame. Obviously I’ll be asking her ‘what have you done today that makes you feel proud?’ (Duh!)

But are there any burning questions that you’d like to put to the soul singer? ‘Did you find the hero inside yourself?’, ‘where did you move up to?’, and ‘do you want to kiss or kill Miranda Hart?’ are all current front runners…