QUICKFIRE: Chris Tarrant on Parisian romance, being naked and a bizarre skill

TV and radio presenter Chris Tarrant on Parisian romance, being naked and a bizarre skill. 

Chris Tarrant
James Shaw/REX/Shutterstock

Guilty pleasure? The Jeremy Kyle Show – it’s like watching a car crash, but he is very good at what he does.

Where is home? An extended 17th-century cottage in 40 acres of fields and woodland in the middle of Berkshire, where I live with my partner Jane.

Career plan B? This is my career plan B. I was supposed to be a teacher and spent a year at a school in London’s East End, which was pretty grim.

Biggest bugbear? The roads and traffic in this country are appalling.

As a child you wanted to be… Captain of the England cricket team.

Your best quality? I’m a loyal friend.

And your worst? I’m an awful enemy.

Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Take a girlfriend to Paris for lunch on her birthday, when I’d pretended I was going to take her fishing for the day.

Last meal on earth? Steak and a bottle of red wine, cooked on safari in Africa as the sun is going down. It’s something I did in Botswana and it was wonderful.

Dream dinner-party guests? Billy Connolly, Joanna Lumley, Bette Midler, Elton John and Sir Trevor McDonald – they are all people I respect and admire.

Cat or dog? We have had lots of dogs over the years, but our last one, a Jack Russell called Jack – very imaginative! – died a year ago.

On a day off we’d find you… Fishing.

Starstruck moment? Meeting David Bowie at Capital Radio. He was the nicest person I ever interviewed, even if to me he was a god.

Big break? [ITV Saturday-morning children’s show] Tiswas, which I was in from 1974 to 1981, changed my life.

Career highlight? A surprise appearance on stage by my father when I was presented with a lifetime National Television Award by Sir Trevor McDonald at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000.

Most embarrassing moment? Shutting myself out of my room completely naked at 2am in a hotel in Warwickshire.

Favourite tipple? Malbec red wine.

Hangover cure? Lots of water before bed and when you wake up.

Top of your bucket list? To go to Ulan Bator [now Ulaanbaatar], the capital of Mongolia. I also want to get within three feet of a grizzly bear.

Secret skill? I can take my underpants off without first removing my trousers – believe me, it’s possible.

One thing that would make your life better? My parents still being alive.

Biggest lesson you’ve learnt about money? It’s very nice but health is much more important.

Where would you time-travel to? England in the 1930s – very few cars, no mobile phones, no reality TV shows. Wonderful!

First record you bought? Jailhouse Rock’ by Elvis Presley.

Most extravagant purchase? My motorboat on the Thames.

Best present you ever received? My first record player, a Decca Dansette Minor, that my dad bought me.

Biggest fear? I’m terrified of snakes.

Celebrity crush? The actress Miranda Richardson.

Happiness is… Spending time with my kids because they make me laugh so much.

Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railway Journeys will return to Channel 5 early in the New Year.

Interview by John Koski