First thing

The way they start their day 10. Donna McPhail stand-up comic and anchor of The Sunday Show Manchester
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Indy Lifestyle Online
I do not do mornings. I set my alarm for 9.30am, but I just end up pressing the snooze button for about an hour and a half. When I'm doing stand-up, I don't have to get up until about 1pm, but while I'm doing The Sunday Show I have to have crawled out of my pit by 11am, to get to the BBC office. I'm always exhausted: I'm working up to 11pm in the week, and don't get to bed until 2am at the earliest.

I've been living where I am now - in the middle of Manchester, about four minutes' walk from the BBC offices - for about three months, and there I have the most comfortable bed in the whole world, with a down duvet and down pillow. It's impossible to get out of. But there's always a real mess around me, with clothes just dropped on the floor. Someone comes in to clean once a week, but a day later it's all just as bad again.

I have a TV in my bedroom, and I always have to put on This Morning with Richard and Judy. That's the only thing that can bring me round, apart from coffee, which I'll get up to make and bring back into bed with me. But eventually I start getting scared that the office will call me and ask why I'm not in yet, for although I never really start writing before 2pm, they do like to see that I'm actually there.

When I'm finally up I go and stand under the shower for quite a while. I couldn't have a bath, or I'd probably fall asleep again. I might also have to take off my make-up from the night before - or at least whatever hasn't come off on the pillow - but I don't put any more on until much later on.

I'm often accused of wearing "house" clothes to the office, but I think what I wear is entirely reasonable: jeans, a T-shirt with a baggy shirt over it and a pair of big boots, usually. I like to be in something slouchy, unless I've got to do an interview. I also wear a baseball cap - primarily so that I don't have to do anything with my hair - which is also an indicator of my mood. I can only write jokes with it on, and even then it has to be on back to front. If it's on the right way around, then there are no jokes forthcoming.

I never eat in the morning. I always have some kind of cereal in, but I don't have it for breakfast: I really can't stomach any food for about two hours after I've got up. But I have another cup of coffee while I get my things together, which doesn't take long because my bag is always just where I dropped it the night before, with the script work that I brought home with me to do still in there, not done.

I'd like to say I get into work at about 11, but everyone knows that when I say 11 I really mean 12. On the way, I generally stop off at a local newsagent to get milk, chocolate, fags or Pepsi - something to wake me up. When I do finally get in I have some more coffee, and then see my production team, who come into my office for a general chat and to tell me what's going on that day. I have my own office, in the corner of the building, which I suppose is because I can get very stroppy when I'm writing and am probably best tucked away.

Being the presenter of a topical magazine programme, I have to find out what's in the papers, but going through them all is actually somebody else's job. I get a summary of the main stories on six A4 pages, with page numbers and headlines, so that I can go straight to what interests me, for material for the show. I just wish that someone would organise my whole life like that.

In short, everything about mornings annoys me. Mornings annoy me. For the 16 years since I left home, I haven't been able to bear getting up, and I feel I could sleep for a living. I can't be talked to - I just leave the answering machine on - and my agent knows never to call me before at least 1pm. Get on the wrong side of me in the morning, and it's very bad newsn

Interview by Scott Hughes

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