Motoring: My Worst Car: If only I'd known how to drive it

Tanya Broome's Jaguar XJS
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The Independent Online
I HAVE a very real fear of cars which has something to do with the fact that I don't know how to drive yet. Recently, I had an incident with my partner's Saab which involved a narrow country lane, a ditch and someone's lawn, but that's the subject of an insurance claim, so I can't tell you about it.

However, for the first time ever, I can reveal what a terrible mess I made a few years ago when filming a television pilot. Television is a strange business. People seem to think that you are superhuman and capable of anything. So when someone asked me if I could drive, I said yes without any hesitation. The pilot TV show was a bizarre adventure game show which involved performing outlandish tasks.

In this case the task involved driving, as inconspicuously a possible, an open-topped sports car across the country. There was just me and a colleague, who was operating the camera.

It seemed simple enough. We went to this central London showroom and were going to borrow a Jaguar XJS convertible. It had an automatic gearbox and all I had to do was steer the thing towards the camera.

Unfortunately it all went badly wrong. Instead of pulling gently away I made the Jaguar shoot across the forecourt, over a garden area, where it hit the camera trip. I swerved in the other direction and the XJS ran up and over an ornamental pond, leaving the headlamps dipped in the water.

The manager of the showroom went ballistic. I was totally humiliated, but collapsed in tears of laughter. It felt a though I'd been travelling at 80mph, but it was probably only 8mph. I spent the next five hours cleaning the car and calming my colleague down. We never told the production company and the car dealer calmed down a lot, mainly because there wasn't much damage.

Although that Jaguar should have been a doddle to drive, I think I've worked out how I managed to do so badly. As the world's worst passenger, I am always stamping on an imaginary brake. However, a friend pointed out the other day that the imaginary pedal I'm pressing is actually the accelerator.

That hasn't put me off learning to drive. Any volunteers?

Tanya Broome presents `UK Raw!', Channel 5's late-night magazine show, every Wednesday at 11.30pm. She was speaking to James Ruppert