My Secret Life: Harry Hill, 48, Comedian
'I see a funny face in the mirror'
Charlie Cooper is Health Correspondent for The Independent, i, and The Independent on Sunday, writing on the NHS, medical advances, and international health. Since joining the papers as an editorial assistant, he has been nominated for young journalist of the year at both the Press Awards and the British Journalism Awards.
Saturday 08 December 2012
My parents were… My mum was a full- time mother and my dad was a commuter.
The household I grew up in… Really hectic. I am one of five kids – you had to fight your corner. We were a big family so rarely got invited anywhere and we didn't have much money so never went out. Four of us wedged in a sofa watching the The Generation Game, central heating on full blast, condensation dripping down the windows – that's my memory of it.
When I was a child I wanted to be… a chemist. I wanted to make fireworks.
If I could change one thing about myself… my hair. It started to go when I was about 23. I did all my ageing in my twenties. People say I haven't changed since then. Now everyone is catching up.
At night I dream of… myself on various TV shows. Once I was in Emmerdale. You wake up from a dream like that, you don't feel great.
What I see when I look in the mirror … quite a funny face.
I drive/ride… a Shadow 2, an old 1980 Rolls-Royce.
My house is… nicer than my old one. I moved because a window cleaner knocked at my door and said: "Oh, you! I thought you'd have a better house than this."
A book that changed me… The House of God (1978, Samuel Shem) about junior doctors in America. When I was a doctor I thought I was the only one feeling the way I did. I didn't really like the job and felt quite ambivalent towards a lot of the patients. I read this book and it was exactly what I was thinking. It's a very dark book about how you become hardened. I was in the NHS at its lowest point, doing 100 hours a week with no guarantee of a job at the end. It had a doctor's gallows humour. My humour is the opposite of all that – a reaction to it.
The last album I bought... I just got into Stevie Wonder. My wife has been going on at me about him for years.
My greatest regret… is that my hair hasn't been here to see my success.
My secret crush... Jennie Bond.
The last time I cried… I was listening to the song "A Place in the Sun" by Stevie Wonder – turns out it's not about that Channel 4 show. It's a very uplifting song.
My five-year plan… on tour this spring, then making a film about a crooked vet trying to get hold of my hamster... and I'm writing X Factor, the musical.
What's the point? If you consider that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, when we die our atoms go out into the universe and eventually get recycled. So if you have an infinite amount of time, then eventually you will come back exactly the same. Which suits me. I'm also hoping that Jesus will be there with all my dead pets.
My life in six words… Born in Woking, died in London.
A Life in Brief
Harry Hill, real name Matthew Hall, was born in Woking in 1964. He trained as a doctor but gave up in 1990 to become a comedian; two years later he won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe. He began hosting his own show, Fruit Corner, on Radio 4 in 1993, before moving to TV in 1997. He hosted Harry Hill's TV Burp on ITV for 11 years; a 'best-of' DVD, Harry Hill's Cream of TV Burp is out now. Hill tours his new show, Sausage Time, from February, He lives in south London with his wife, Magda, and their three daughters.
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