Caroline Quentin: ' I once said everything I'd done in my career was rubbish. It was a joke, but it has been following me around ever since'


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The Independent Online

Property is the national obsession I've done a lot of restoration myself, something like 13 properties now. It's about nesting, and aesthetics. I like my home to be as lovely and comfortable as it can be. We all like watching it on TV because it's so often torture going through yourself, but less so when you are just the viewer.

It's quite rare in comedy for lead roles to go to women So thank you, Noël Coward! I'm currently in his play Relative Values, in which the two lead roles – mine and Patricia Hodge's – are both female. Actresses of a certain age [Quentin is 52] are always struggling to find good parts, so it's nice to be bucking that trend.

Spontaneity is the key in life I'm far too chaotic to be ambitious, but I am spontaneous. If I feel something is good, whether it's TV, theatre, or presenting, then I do it. If something touches your heart, go for it.

I fell in love with India I was there for 10 weeks in March 2011, filming a travel show called A Passage Through India, and the time I spent there was one of my favourite times in my life. I miss it, and think of it every day. I took the family there on holiday, and we all decided we want to live in Mumbai. It's a fantasy, but India's that kind of place, isn't it?

Careful what you quip I once did a Q&A at Bafta, and suggested that everything I had done in my career was rubbish. It was said as a joke, but it has been following me around ever since. A shame, really, because it makes me sound terribly neurotic, and I'm not. I'm not!

I trained to be a dancer I was a hoofer, part of the chorus line at the end of the pier, but then I auditioned for a play, a classy director came to see it, and he took me straight to the Royal Court. It sounds naff to suggest it, but everything I've done since feels like the most incredible privilege, a happy accident.

Comedy is everywhere I never believe anything that doesn't contain an element of humour to it. To me, life is absurd, hilarious, ludicrous, and even in the darkest of times, there will be things to make you laugh. That's why I love doing comedy, because all life is there.

'Men Behaving Badly' somehow summed up the 1990s Who saw that coming! It was just another sitcom initially, but it tickled the nation's fancy. I still get 15-year-olds coming up to me saying they are watching it on those satellite channels, and loving it. I haven't watched it myself, but then I don't have those extra channels.

My children are proud of me They came to see me in Relative Values the other night, and beamed with pride. What a lovely thing to hear from your children, eh?

I've been a keen gardener since I was 25 I love nature, and animals. My husband kindly allowed me to have some chickens a few years back, and now we live on a small holding in Devon: chickens, sheep, lots of vegetables. It's a hobby, but also our life, and it's blissful.

My husband is bloody marvellous He used to work in television, but re-trained as a cosmetic scientist, and has just launched a range of personal-care products for teenagers. It's unisex, and not sold to them on the basis of their sexuality or using sex to sell. It's simple and honest and brilliant.

I love people I'm genuinely very sociable, so when people recognise me and come up to say hello, it's not a hassle. I can travel around most of the country now and soon find someone to talk to. It means never feeling like a stranger.

'Restoration Home', presented by Caroline Quentin, airs on BBC 2 at 8pm on Wednesdays