My Secret Life: Andrew Davies, screenwriter

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The Independent Online

Andrew Davies was born on 20 September 1936 in Cardiff. A screenwriter, he has produced adaptations of classics including Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch and Vanity Fair. The winner of five Baftas, he spent years working as a university lecturer before taking to full-time writing in 1986, and his work on screenplays ranges from the BBC's Bleak House to the Bridget Jones films. He has two children and lives with his wife Diane in Kenilworth. Andrew Davies' adaptation of the saucy 18th-century novel Fanny Hill, starring Alison Steadman, Hugo Speer and Samantha Bond is scheduled for broadcast on BBC4 this autumn

I drive: a Lexus dual-fuel 4-wheel drive. The best thing about it is the electric tailgate. I press the button, it goes up and my dog Daisy leaps in; I never get tired of it.

If I have time to myself: I sit (preferably in the sun) and read.

You may not know it but I'm no good at: resisting temptation.

A book that changed me: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I thrilled to its joyous iconoclastic atheism, its cynicism, its imaginative breadth, its human warmth.

Movie heaven: Ingmar Bergman, Fellini, all the Godfathers, even Part 3. Shane, A Night at the Opera, On the Waterfront.

Comfort eating: Carte d'Or vanilla ice cream in the two-litre tubs.

When I was a child I wanted to be: a sailor. Then I actually went on a boat and got seasick.

I wish I'd never worn: my dead Uncle Id's hairy ginger tweed suit, but it was a case of having to.

All my money goes on : wine, whisky and holidays.

At night I dream of: going home, up to the bedroom I had as a boy, and writing a great novel in old exercise books – all in a weekend!

My favourite building: is St Pancras Station, by a short head from the Guggenheim in New York.

My biggest regret is: never learning to play a musical instrument, never being in a band, and never writing a hit song.

It's not fashionable but I like: old-fashioned three-hour lunches with lots of wine, and brandy to finish up with.

If I wasn't me I'd like to be: Scarlett Johansson, I think. It would be nice to be young again, and interesting to be a girl, especially one so beautiful and talented.

The shop I can't walk past: doesn't exist.

My favourite work of art: Monet's Red boats at Argenteuil.

The soundtrack to my life: Françoise Hardy.

The best invention ever: has to be e-mail. It's so great not to have to print out scripts and cart them off to the Post Office.