Credo: Cleo Rocos - 'I have fantastic memories of drinking with Princess Diana'

The actress on tequila-tasting, tax bills and partying with Kenny Everett and Princess Di

The ‘Kenny Everett Video Show’ wouldn’t happen today [Rocos co-starred in the popular 1970s-1980s sketch show,  as Everett’s scantily clad sidekick]. Everyone now is so much more uptight and clenchy-buttocked; there’s these professional campaigning women with thick ankles and shrill ovaries who have nothing better to do than to police people’s opinions. We never worried about objectifying woman back then – it was just a great cartoon that was funny and cheeky.

I miss everything about Kenny [who died from an AIDS-related illness in 1995]. I miss our friendship, his mischievousness,  and how we would never run out of things to laugh about. I also miss the way things changed in comedy after his death, into this angry, yelling, terrorising comedy.

I have fantastic memories of drinking with Princess Diana She would regularly sneak out on her own, in disguise, to go to places round the corner from the Palace. I remember drinking peach Bellinis with her, Kenny and Freddie Mercury at the Bombay Brasserie nearby, before we all went up to Kenny’s penthouse to continue drinking. I’ll never forget watching Diana, Kenny and Freddie dancing around the lounge to the Gypsy Kings, each waving one of Kenny’s feather dusters in the air.

Most of us are here because our parents had a drink together Great songs, great friendship and great romances were forged over a cocktail or two. You become the favourite version of yourself and good things come from it. Where it goes wrong is the volume – and what’s in the drink. Wine can legally have up to 200 additives, which  I think is a huge problem. A lot of the time, even after only half a glass, I feel like I’ve been shot in the head. There are so many hidden sugars in some drinks that people are falling apart; the violence has a lot to do with sugar, though there is overconsumption of course.

I had a terrible first experience with tequila But then I went to Mexico and tried some there, and it tasted so smooth and natural. The stuff you often find in the UK is only 51 per cent agave and 49 per cent industrial, sugarcane-based alcohol and other chemicals, which give you a terrible hangover. So  I started my own tequila brand, AquaRiva [which won the 2012 Spirit Business’s Masters Medal], for which all my drinking experience with Kenny counted as research.

I went on ‘celebrity Big Brother’ in 2007 because  I had a huge tax bill I don’t mind people knowing that, though Kenny would have been horrified. The hardest part? You try to be in this house, covered with cameras, and you need to laugh. But trying to think of something to laugh about is hard.

You can’t market to me  You can’t walk me up and down Old Bond Street and tempt me. I look at people who buy £1,500 handbags  or huge £500 torture-chamber shoes as unwell. It’s the secret to my nauseating happiness. I’d rather be out having a good time with friends.

Why do people collect so much stuff? When I feel I have too many possessions I box them up and chuck them out. I last did that three years ago when I was moving. I was in the moving truck and suddenly thought, I only need half of this!  I was so horrified, I opened the back door and said to people in the street, “Anything you want, please do take it.”

Cleo Rocos, 51, is an actress and TV presenter. She is launching National Positive Drinking Month on 13 September to promote healthy drinking and sugar-free, low-calorie versions of traditional cocktails. For more information on her brand: aquariva.co.uk; cleorocos.com

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor