QUICKFIRE: Cathy Newman on brilliant women and a surprising stressbuster

Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman on brilliant women and a surprising stressbuster.

Photo by Adrian Lourie

Guilty pleasure? Singing Whitney Houston songs at the top of my voice at karaoke – it’s a great stress reliever.

Where is home? A Victorian semi in Southeast London with my husband John and our two daughters, aged 14 and nine.

Career plan B? To open a fruit and vegetable shop in the Hebrides or, if it’s too rainy, on a Greek island.

Who would play you in a movie of your life? Gillian Anderson.

Biggest bugbear? When my husband puts empty packets back in the cupboards.

As a child you wanted to be… A violinist. I changed my mind after I saw Kate Adie reporting from Iraq during the first Gulf War.

Your best quality? I’m very organised

And your worst? I can be bossy and too ordered.

Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Playing Elgar’s ‘Salut d’Amour’ on the violin for my husband at our wedding reception in 2001.

Last meal on earth? Red mullet fresh from the Aegean, chips, a Greek salad and a glass of retsina as the sun goes down over the sea.

Dream dinner-party guests? Four women who are in my new book: Beatrice Shilling, an engineer vital to us winning the Battle of Britain; Dina St Johnston, who founded the first computer software house in the UK; Noor Inayat Khan, a Second World War spy, and astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? My hair. I have a love-hate relationship with it.

Favourite tipple? Anything alcoholic with bubbles.

Any advice to your teenage self? Don’t worry about being different.

Starstruck moment? Flying to the Congo with Angelina Jolie and William Hague in 2013 to report on their campaign to end sexual violence in war zones.

First record your bought? Whitney’s 1985 debut album, Whitney Houston.

Top of your bucket list? Speak fluent Mandarin and play the violin at the Royal Albert Hall.

One thing that would make your life better? Twenty-six hours in the day.

Philosophy? You can’t do better than your best.

Biggest lesson you’ve learnt about money? It doesn’t grow on trees.

Biggest lesson you’ve learnt about women? They need to be less reticent about their achievements.

Last film that made you cry? Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Films about daughters growing up make me really emotional.

Where would you time travel to? Back to 1918 to share the triumph of some women getting the vote.

Most extravagant purchase? White Prada shoes I’ve had for more than 20 years.

Best present you ever received? Our two children.

Happiness is… Watching Casablanca with my husband by a roaring fire.

Cathy’s new book, Bloody Brilliant Women: The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention, is published by William Collins, price £20.