Carol Thatcher: My Life in Media

'I didn't realise how emabrrassing peeing in the bushes would be until 17 days later, after I was crowned winner of I'm A Celebrity'
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The Independent Online

Carol Thatcher, 53, is a freelance journalist and broadcaster and will this week host the breakfast show on LBC 97.3FM. The daughter of Baroness Thatcher and twin sister of blundering businessman Mark, Carol worked as a journalist and largely avoided the spotlight until entering and winning ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! last year. She lives in London's Bankside.

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

I studied law at university and wanted to go on a working holiday in Sydney. I got a job at the Sydney Morning Herald and later on a TV station, and that was that. I stayed there for four years.

Have you ever considered following in your mum's footsteps?

No - one is enough in the family. I don't want to do it.

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

I read a selection. We got all of them because my mother was in politics - I did a few current affairs projects and back then, because my mother was a household name, I'd flick through and see many features on her.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

When I was a kid, I watched mainly films on TV and pop programmes like Top of the Pops. Now I listen to Loose Ends, and The News Quiz on Radio 4. I like Jonathan Ross very much and then there's Nick Ferrari on LBC, whom I greatly admire.

Describe your job?

Freelance broadcaster and journalist, and author of four books.

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

Radio! LBC 97.3FM - I listen to Steve Allen sometimes - how does he get away with it? And of course Nick Ferrari and Radio 4. TV-wise, I'll often watch Sky News, CNN and GMTV.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

Yes, the internet. I look up news on Google and I use this for research. Also TV satellite news.

What is the best thing about your job?

Working as part of a team and - being a freelancer - the variety.

And the worst?

Being a freelancer can be lonely at times. Also getting up very early in the mornings and feeling sleepy.

How do you feel you influence the media?

I don't, really. I have my itinerary after winning I'm a Celebrity, which will pass on to the next person after they get another winner. I left influencing the media to other members of my family, like my Mum.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

I wrote a tennis book about Chris Evert and her then-husband, John Lloyd. It was called Lloyd on Lloyd and became a No 1 bestseller. Also I did a biog of my Dad called Below the Parapet: Biography of Denis Thatcher, which reached No 3.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

Peeing in the bushes in the jungle - I didn't realise how embarrassing that would be until 17 days later, after I was crowned winner.

At home, what do you tune in to?

As before - a selection of TV and radio.

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

I love The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer and, on the tabloid front, News of the World and The Mail on Sunday.

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

I was truly astonished to win I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and that will suffice. I didn't even back myself at odds of 33/1.

How do you feel about taking on Nick Ferrari's mantle?

Excited, enthusiastic. I hope I do a good enough job to encourage people to ring in. I'm so delighted, really, I love the phone-in format. I'll be saying "...and now over to the travel with Natalie Bailey" in my sleep!

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

I would work in the travel business as I am a complete and utter globe-trotting nut! I want to explore South America some more.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

I admire Nick Ferrari for his enthusiasm and energy on the breakfast show, which he presents with so much personality. He was one of my most ardent supporters when I was in the jungle, too. I also love Jonathan Ross.

The cv

1977-79: (working holiday in Australia) Sydney Morning Herald

1980s-1990s: Daily Telegraph, TV-am, BBC Radio 4, Daily Mail

1983: Diary of an election: with Margaret Thatcher on the campaign trail

1986: Writes best-selling book on tennis-playing couple Chris Evert and John Lloyd, Lloyd on Lloyd

1996: Writes Below the Parapet, a biography of her father Denis Thatcher

2005: Enters and wins the ITV reality show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

2006: Presents the breakfast show on LBC 97.3FM