Left Behind? Being left-handed was a problem initially. I had so many traumas when writing with ink. When you do your neat little essay in your neat little book, you smudge it as you go along. Do you remember those vile plastic chairs with the little tables on the arm, designed for writing? And the arm was always on the right-hand-side? It was always incredibly uncomfortable to lean over yourself to write on the "wrong" side.
Court In The Act? Lady Eleanor Hollis in Hampton Court wasn't my favourite school. They tried to make me play lacrosse, which I hated. It was a private school but I've always done much better in state education. I was one of the rebels talking at the back of the class. At eleven we moved to Devon and I went to a convent. For a year I wanted to be a nun. I liked the life-style: they were always knitting us bedsocks or making bird's- nests with us or giving us chocolates. I started going to church but it didn't last. I saw the light and then it dimmed...
Boys In The Band? At 13 I went to St Margaret's school, Exeter, up the road from my house. I got detention on a regular basis, sometimes double- detention - not for anything dreadful, I was just annoying. I was in the netball team and played Ophelia in Hamlet. I sang in a pop group. Being a singer is one of the most nerve-racking things you can do and I was dreadful but it was an excuse to be with the boys in the school over the road. I don't remember it but my friends tell me that I went around saying "You wait - one day I'll be famous!"
Blinded By Science? I took eight O-levels and passed seven. I could never understand the reasons behind physics and chemistry and no one ever bothered to explain. I did actually pass Maths and Chemistry but I failed Biology - which I thought I understood and was too cocky about. At 16 I went to Exeter College, which I really enjoyed. I did A-Levels in French, English and Theatre Studies.
Morning Glory? I read English and Drama at Hull, a great University. I did loads of of reading - three or four novels a week. I worked out that I could read 50 pages an hour and if I had been out the night before - which was most nights - I would set my alarm at 4 am and catch up on my reading. I like early mornings. I got a 2.1.
Decline And Falmouth? I went home and spent a gap year doing bits and pieces on local radio stations and then went to Falmouth College of Art for a one-year course in radio journalism. I gave it up halfway through when I saw an ad for a television reporter on BBC South-West. We'd done very little TV at university but I got the application form and sat up all night making a rough copy, putting down all my jobs. In the morning I told one of my tutors, "I'm not going to bother." He said, "Give it to me and I'll get my secretary to type it up". It was posted and got to the BBC on the last day. When I got the job, the College said I could come back in the summer and take the exams. That was very nice of them - but any excuse not to take exams...Reuse content