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My Secret Life: Rebecca Front, 48, actor

'I told Jeremy Paxman I fancy him'

My parents were… enthusiasts. And still are. My dad was an artist and my mum was a teacher who also wrote children's books.

The household I grew up in… was very creative. Doing things, making things, writing things was the norm.

When I was a child I wanted to be… I actually wanted to be an actress from the age of about six or seven.

If I could change one thing about myself… I would like to be a little bit braver than I am. I am claustrophobic and very nervous of things like going in lifts.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at… I can sing and I used to write songs as well.

You may not know it but I'm no good at… multi-tasking. There's a lazy belief that women are good at it. In my experience the opposite is true.

I wish I had never worn… a cape. I went through a phase when I was about 15. No wonder I didn't have a boyfriend.

What I see when I look in the mirror… Something I can work with. As an actor your appearance is your main tool. I'm fairly honest with myself. I can play this part or that part – I can look OK if I put effort into it or I can equally look pretty damn dreadful if I don't. I'm quite relaxed about it.

My favourite item of clothing… A jumper my husband bought me. I look forward to winter just so I can wear it.

I drive/ride… a beaten-up old estate car that I've had for probably too long.

My house is… quite small and I adore it.

My favourite work of art… One of Matisse's cut-outs.

My favourite building… Probably the Chrysler Building.

Movie heaven… Jimmy Stewart would be there. It would probably be the 1930s. Black and white and preferably a bit feel-good – I'm imagining The Shop Around the Corner.

The last album I bought/downloaded… 21 by Adele. My children are now at an age where they introduce me to music, which is really lovely.

My greatest regret… Not dealing with my claustrophobia a lot sooner. It has stopped me doing things. I haven't been on the Tube for over 20 years. For a long time I wouldn't fly long-haul.

My secret crush… Jeremy Paxman. But it's not much of a secret. I may have actually told him to his face.

The person who really makes me laugh… My husband.

The last time I cried… I cry all the time, at everything.

My five-year plan… I don't have one. You can't in my job. It's too unpredictable and you have virtually no control.

What's the point? To have fun.

My life in six words… Hell, let's give it a go.

A life in brief

Rebecca Front was born in 1964 in east London and went to St Hugh's College, Oxford. Her comedy career began on Radio 4 with the double-act, The Bobo Girls. The second series was produced by Armando Iannucci, beginning a long-standing creative partnership that helped Front become one of the leading figures in British comedy. Most recently she played Nicola Murray in Iannucci's award-winning comedy, The Thick of It. She stars in new comedy, The Spa, showing on Sky Living in February