QUICKFIRE: Broadcaster Simon Mayo on crazy clogs, evil cats and why he wants to go to prison

Amanda Searle

Guilty pleasure? I don’t believe that there is such a thing. If you like something, say so – who cares what anyone else thinks?

Where is home? A Victorian house in Islington, North London.

Career plan B? A teacher. My father was a headteacher, my mother was a teacher, my sister is a headteacher and I was going to do teacher training before I got a job working for the BBC in Nottingham.

Who would play you in a movie of your life? It’s a ludicrous idea, so anyone from the Milkybar Kid to Brad Pitt to Christopher Walken.

Biggest bugbear? Drivers who don’t know how to turn right at crossroads.

As a child you wanted to be… A radio presenter. I always loved Johnnie Walker and now I’m fortunate enough to be on the same network.

Earliest memory? Helicopters dropping food parcels during the winter of 1962-63. We were snowed in at Lee Abbey in Devon over Christmas.

Best quality? Staying calm. And your worst? Staying too calm.

Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Propose to my wife Hilary ten minutes into Valentine’s Day.

Last meal on earth? Either chicken balti or amshe tikshe, a kind of Indian-Chinese hybrid dish from our local Indian restaurant.

Dream dinner-party guests? Stephen King, Kenneth Branagh, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Anne Hathaway and Yuval Noah Harari, who wrote Sapiens. I have interviewed them all apart from Oprah.

Advice to teenage self? Those high-heeled clogs at 14 were never a good idea.

Cat or dog? Dogs. Cats are possessed by the devil – I’m also allergic to them.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Someone who got lucky.

Starstruck moment? Interviewing Bruce Springsteen on my Radio 2 show in 2016.
It was my career highlight.

Most embarrassing moment? Not recognising Naomi Campbell when a Radio 1 producer arranged for her to bring a cake into the studio on my birthday.

Favourite tipple? A glass of chablis.

Hangover cure? Drink less.

What did you have for breakfast today? Bread from a local bakery, Bread by Bike, marmalade and decaf coffee.

Top of your bucket list? A trip to the Canadian Rockies.

One thing that would make your life better? More time to read.

Philosophy? Work hard, be kind.

Biggest lesson you have learned about money? I’m not very good at looking after it.

Where would you time-travel to? Dartmoor Prison in 1814 to meet Richard Crafus, an American sailor captured by the British who called himself King Dick. He is a central character in my new novel Mad Blood Stirring.

First record you bought? Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel.

Most extravagant purchase? A couple of Gucci cashmere jumpers that cost about £200 each. I still have them.

Best present you ever received? A Rock-Ola jukebox from Hilary. Biggest fear? Being irrelevant.

Celebrity crush? Charlie’s Angels, Joanna Lumley and Meg Ryan.

Happiness is… Spurs getting at least one point more than Arsenal. Things are looking good this year.

Simon’s new novel Mad Blood Stirring is published by Doubleday, price £12.99* To order a copy for £9.74 (25% discount until 6 may, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; P&P is free on orders over £15

Interview by John Koski