Our favourite five minutes: celebrity interviews

Each day, The Independent's five-minute interview allows celebrities to prove that brevity really is the soul of wit. Here's the cream of the crop from 2007
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A common misperception of me is...

People think that I can rap. I've done it, but I'm not Eminem.

Monty Panesar, England cricketer

That I say yes to everything. I'm much more discerning than people realise; recently, I said no to a programme asking me to talk about losing my virginity.

Marcus Brigstocke, comedian

That I am patrician. I am not at all. I'm more like a loaf of bread.

Sir Christopher Meyer, ex-diplomat

That I'm Judi Dench's understudy.

Thelma Holt, director

I'm not as stupid as people think I am.

Tony Blackburn, DJ and broadcaster

That I'm bald. I am not bald, I'm balding.

Harry Hill, comedian

That I'm tone deaf.

Natasha Hamilton, singer

I'd like it to be known that I don't walk around all the time wearing a leopard-print thong.

Peter Stringfellow, nightclub owner

That I'm posh. I'm not that posh. I'm just quite posh.

Tom Findlay, musician

That I am already dead.

Dick Francis, author

That I'm moody. I'm not. I just have a grumpy-looking face.

Akala, musician

They call me "the mushroom man". I don't want to be a mushroom.

Antonio Carluccio, chef

That I'm a sex-maniac.

Adrian Lyne, film-maker

That I'm camp. It's only the voice and maybe the walk and the way I put my hand on my hip. And the make-up...

Alan Carr, comedian

That I was involved in the Brinks Mat robbery. I wasn't, and I will never grass on those who were.

Hugh Dennis, comedian

That I'm boring and intolerant. In fact, I'm engaging, interesting and very modest.

Tommy Sheridan, former politician

I wish more people would take notice of...

Cyclists. I really hate them. I wish that they would not be so self-righteous and would realise that they are a danger to pedestrians. I wish they would not vindictively snap off wing mirrors on cars when they were trying to cross in front of the car.

A S Byatt, novelist

Accessories. There are two types of women those who don't do anything with accessories and those who look like a Christmas tree. One piece of advice: unless you are an electrician, do not wear your mobile on your belt

Gok Wan, stylist

Heroic people who are warning us all that Islam is the new fascism, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Julie Burchill, writer

The sky... it's nice

Jade Goody, former Big Brother contestant

The best age to be is...

Twenty-eight. After 30, people start asking: "Have you sorted out your pension?"

Benjamin Zephaniah, poet

A phrase I use far too often is...

"Post-war-socio-cultural democratisation."

Peter Saville, designer


James Nesbitt, actor

"I'm hungry."

Jade Goody

"Dude." I said it to Salman Rushdie.

Rob Thomas, musician

In a nutshell, my philosophy is...

Get a grip and vote Labour.

Alastair Campbell, PR adviser

Don't panic when you're trapped inside a nutshell someone's bound to want a nut sooner or later.

Paul Kaye, comedian

There's no God, so be nice to people.

Ricky Gervais, comedian

If you're going to eat with your hands, make sure you have a napkin.

Todd Solondz, film director and writer

If you're going to spit, make sure you target it so that it doesn't land in your face.

Henry Goodman, actor

Work until you drop. Never retire.

Edward Rutherfurd, novelist

If you ain't doing something, you're doing nothing.

Will.i.am, musician

Don't kill anybody. I've been quite good since I got out, but I have to see my probation officer tomorrow.

Jeremy Hardy, comedian

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it is broken, take the cover off, fiddle with it for a bit, pretend that you might be able to fix it even though you have no idea what any of the wires do, and then hit it with a hammer. Hard.

Hugh Dennis, comedian

Ask yourself, constantly, "Am I treating my fellow citizens as I treat my mum?"

Tommy Sheridan

Buy your biscuits in France, your beer in Belgium, and you cars on the Essex Road.

Gilles Peterson, DJ and record producer

I'm good at...


Sir Bobby Charlton

Starting false rumours and spreading gossip. It's a hobby of mine.

Jo Caulfield, comedian


Jack Osbourne, presenter

Getting myself out of trouble. When I was working in South Africa, this man jumped out of a car and went crazy, waving a gun about. "I'm going to fuck you up," he said. I just came out with: "Don't you think it's too early for that?" It worked.

John Simpson, BBC world affairs editor

I'm good at...

Making music, making love. That's all that matters to me.

Dizzee Rascal, rapper

I'm very bad at...

Paying my bills, geography, reading, writing, spelling, maths.

Jade Goody

You know me as...

A nightclub owner, but in a truer life I'd have been...

In prison for a long time.

Peter Stringfellow

A musician and a lyricist, but in a truer life I'd have been...

A drug dealer.

Chris Difford

An actress, but in a truer life I'd have been...

A thinking man's mermaid.

Judy Cornwell

An actor, but in a truer life I'd have been...

A lumberjack. That's what I wanted to do, but I didn't have maths O-level.

Ian Hart

A novelist, but in a truer life I'd have been... a high-achieving government minister. I'd speak lots of languages fluently and have very big breasts.

Sandra Howard

A singer, but in a truer life I'd have been...


Will Young

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

Surviving a 105mm howitzer shell in Sarajevo in 1992.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN correspondent

That I became a teen idol in Asia.

Sarah Brightman, singer

First, becoming director general of the BBC. Second, being fired.

Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC

I appeared on a Sunday morning chat-show without a tie, looking cool and trendy, only to receive an email from a member of the public saying that if he had a scraggy neck like mine, he'd wear a tie. He said that I looked like a second-hand car salesman.

Alan Johnson MP

When Jodie Kidd, in Barbados, stuck her tongue down my throat. I told her to get me a beer and never do that again.

Piers Morgan, former editor of the Daily Mirror

Ejaculating for the first time.

Dominic Cooper, actor

When I got the call to do Celebrity Fit Club, because I didn't think I was fat.

Aldo Zilli, chef

In moments of weakness I...

Feel worthless. My brain shrinks to a pea and I flush.

Oliver Stone, screenwriter and director

Buy a football club.

Simon Jordan, entrepreneur

Got married for the first time.

Gerry Anderson, Thunderbirds creator

It would involve oral things: smoking, eating, drinking, taking drugs or chewing a chair leg.

Jeremy Hardy

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Talking to my youngest son about how his day went at school.

Piers Morgan

Actually, I'm a really good multi-tasker: I'm peeling an orange, watching the football and talking to you.

Paul Oakenfold, DJ

The last thing to shock me was...

A guy in Germany. He came up to me and shouted, "English fuck you!" I think it was a football thing.

Steve Balsamo, musician

Watching porn with my boyfriend.

Caroline Reid, comedian

I'm not a politician but...

I'm a poptician. It's good to be breaking new ground. That's what potatoes do.

John Hegley, poet

I'd like to see all good-looking men walk around naked between 6am and 8am on Sundays.

Tara Palmer-Tompkinson, television presenter

I could lick Gordon Brown any day.

Julie Burchill

I should be, because I know the right answer to everything.

Matt Rawle, actor

I'd take a bribe any day.

Mary Tamm, actress

I'd make all crime illegal.

Danny Wallace, presenter

If I fell down and hit my head, I could probably act like one.

Patrick Duffy, actor

Compiled by Alice-azania Jarvis


Comedian and actor








Comedienne and performer

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

Waking up alive on Bank Holiday Monday, 1998. I fell off a quad bike and my skull filled with blood, mashing my brain. I was dead for five days.

I am not a politician but...

If I was, I would bring down Western civilisation in all its entirety, apart from licen-sing hours.

I'm good at...

Being an astonishingly well-hung, pan-global, light-entertainer phenomenon.

The ideal night out is...

I'm not allowed out.

In moments of

weakness I...

I don't have moments of weakness. I'm Rik Mayall.

You know me as a comedian but in a truer life I'd have been a...

Breast enthusiast.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is...

Never ever ever ever ever bloody anything ever. Me and Ade [Edmondson] wrote that when we were tiny.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Drinking tea and reading a Ford Maddox Ford novel.

A common misperception of me is...

That I belong to some secret lodge, because I have no handshake. I suffer from Dupuytren's contracteur, which means that when I shake your hand, two of my fingers go into your palm. Women can think I'm making some sort of vulgar proposition, so I try not to shake people's hands, or I explain that I suffer from this hand problem.

I wish that people would take more notice of...

Cyclists on the pavement. As a pedestrian, it drives me nuts. They whizz past you. If you scratched your head, they'd either break your arm or you'd knock them out. They're not proper cyclists, you know. They are frightened of traffic.

The most surprising thing to have happened to me was...

Making a living as an actor. For ages, I didn't believe it possible.

A phrase I use far too often is...

"You groove me out", in almost any context. I can say it instead of goodbye, or if people say: "I'll meet you on the corner." It's postmodern, ironic jive talk.

I am not a politician but if I were I would...

Bring back Sundays.

I'm good at...

Texting with both thumbs.

I'm very bad at...

Brain surgery. Remembering to post letters. And calling people back.

The ideal night out is...

I'd go to watch David Beckham and Michael Owen play for Real Madrid, then go to a supper club where Rachel Yamagata would be playing and singing. Then I would have a private plane take me to the Ritz in Paris, where I would stay in the Coco Chanel suite.

In moments of weakness I...

Drink Yorkshire tea.

You know me as an actor but in truer life I'd have been...

A lyricist. I'd like to write country songs and hope one of them might be recorded by Taylor Swift. And if ever my songs were to be performed by Taj Mahal, I would die happy.

The best age to be is...

Thirty-three. You are no longer quite as hysterical as when you were young but you are still a bit more than when you're older.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this...

Pay cash, be kind, don't take drugs and pay your taxes.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Eating at leisure and enjoying this steak the hotel sent up for me I had to wolf it down. I might even be in the bar.

A phrase I use far too often is...

I talk about carbohydrates a lot: "carbohydrates are killing us", or "you're killing yourself with those carbohydrates."

A common misperception of me is...

That I'm intoxicated all the time. I couldn't write so much if I was. I get confused for the characters in my books.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Really great music. It's under-appreciated, which is so tragic, because it can be transcendental. There are so many great bands and people still listen to that dreary Coldplay crap.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

I was drinking a bottle of whisky on the bus once and then I woke up in hospital. The whisky didn't do it the bus got blown over. In fact, the

whisky probably saved my life.

I'm good at...

I'm a fantastic lover and I'm highly intelligent.

I'm very bad at...

Being sycophantic and picking up awards. I'm not good at self-promotion. I like a quiet life but then you have to resurface for this kind of thing.

I'm not a politician but if I were

I would make Britain a republic with devolved regional government. The monarchy and Lords are a waste of money. Bang goes the OBE.

The ideal night out is...

Going out with my wife to see a good movie and then going to a good restaurant. Then home for a cosy night in.

In moments of weakness I...

Succumb. I've got things that I allow myself to give into.

In another life I'd have been...

A Bollywood starlet, an astronaut, football player or cowboy.

The best age to be is...

Twenty-six. You've got that concept of your mortality but you're also still young.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is...

To try and get away with as much as you can without hurting anybody else.

I wish people would take more notice of...

My amazing breasts. Never mind the ankle bracelet, you need to look at the two things next to it.

If I weren't talking to you right now I would be...


The most surprising thing that ever happened to me...

Was having my baby nine months after my husband tripped and fell on me.

I'm good at...

Answering questions.

I'm very bad at...


A common misperception of me is...

That I'm getting old. It's just not true.

I am not a politician but...

I enjoy stealing public funds as much as the next guy.

The ideal night out is...

Me at a busy intersection with a whole lot of Johns in very slow-moving cars.

In moments of weakness I...

Pass out.

You know me as a chat-show host and comedienne but in a truer life I'd have been...

Siamese twin comedians who were joined at the head.

The best age to be is...

Some time in the Iron Age. I just love beautifully forged tools.