Aggie MacKenzie: My Life In Media

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So what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

My sister, who was a proper journalist, rang me up when I was working at the National Union of Students' media office. She was looking for a junior sub editor and after a boozy lunch rang me to see if I wanted the job. I'm a pedant so I loved it.

When you were 15 years old, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

The Daily Express - terrible - and the Aberdeen Press and Journal. I used to buy Patch, Petticoat, Honey and Jackie magazines. My sister was "Cathy and Claire", Jackie's problem page.

And what were you favourite TV and radio programmes?

Coronation Street, Emergency Ward 10 and Dr Who, which was so scary I nearly wet myself every Saturday night. On radio: the Radio 1 Top 20, and Stuart Henry on Radio Luxembourg. When I was about 13 he came to Abbey Moor, where I lived, to play a disco. I won the miniskirt competition by hooking my skirt up over my chain belt - he gave me a PP Arnold LP - but the next day it was page 5 in the Daily Record. My mother gave me absolute hell.

What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

I never watch telly - in fact I come downstairs and switch it off, because the first thing the boys do when they up is turn it on. I'm ashamed that it has come to that. I like a look in at Big Brother, occasionally. I listen to the Today programme; I feel the need not to be completely ignorant about what's going on in the world. I read Sam Wollaston in The Guardian's TV pages.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

Nothing. You need loads of time to do that.

What is the best thing about your job?

To be earning a good salary, to be well supported by researchers, producers and directors, and to have very little responsibility... it's just not work.

And the worst?

Being away from home and the kids.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

When we turned a house and family around by changing their approach to living. They lived in complete shit before and it was causing terrible arguments, but they really embraced that change in their lives and are much happier they're firing on all cylinders. I'm proud to have facilitated that.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

It's happened a couple of times when I'm on location and the camera's rolling: I do a massive involuntary fart. Another time, when we were filming, I was doing my science bit about all the germs living in this house, and the camera guy called, "Cut, there's a bogey here." I wondered: what's that the terminology for? He said: "Can you put a tissue to your nose please?"

At home, what do you tune in to?

I don't like watching films on telly, I need to be in the cinema. I like anything to do with food. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is pretty good. I watched that Julie Burchill thing - Sugar Rush - a few weeks back. It was pretty disappointing. The relentless innuendo was too obvious. I love The Simpsons and it gives me the chance to sit down with my kids. I used to watch Frost on Sundays.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

We always get The Observer and I love Observer Food Monthly magazine. I never buy a magazine now, apart from Viz for my son Rory, nearly 14.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

Just to be in work. Nothing specific; I don't think much beyond next week.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

My fantasy job is running a tea shop for interesting, arty bohemians.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Esther Rantzen, for setting up Childline. It has done so much invaluable work.

The third series of 'How Clean is Your House?' begins on Wednesday at 8pm, Channel 4

the cv

1975 Aggie works as a secretary at MI6

1977 Gets her first taste of the media industry working in the NUS press office

1978 Moves into journalism on a range of national titles, including 'Company', 'Country Living' and the 'Telegraph' magazine

1998 Begins the job that hones her hygiene skills, as associate editor of 'Good Housekeeping'

2002 Meets her alter ego, Kim Woodburn, and begins tackling the nation's toilet bowls in 'How Clean is Your House?'

2003 The book of the series is a best-seller

2004 The pair make another cleaning-themed show for Channel 4,' Too Posh to Wash?'

2005 A third series follows a US version of the show

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