The Conversation: Alex Jones discusses difficult guests, Miley Cyrus and Children in Need


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The Independent Online

When does the Rickshaw Challenge get going?

We set off on 8 November from Northern Ireland. This time we're going to go all through the night which will be really tough – mentally as well as physically.

How far around the UK do you get?

We're going to touch on all four countries and end up on the EastEnders set in Albert Square, on the night of Children in Need.

You were in Cardiff recently – do you feel at home there?

West London is a two-hour drive from Cardiff so I'm able to get back pretty often. I do think it's important to get home and to support smaller charities. Velindre Cancer Centre, for example, recently treated one of my very best friends with stomach cancer and he's only 38. Luckily he's made it out the other side.

Is it true that despite studying at Aberystwyth University, you took your final exams in Magaluf?

Yes, I was taking part in a game show called Prickly Heat. It was kind of like It's a Knockout on the beach. And it was when my finals were.

And the uni were OK with that?

After much persuading, my tutor said, "We'll fly your papers out and you'll have to do them at exactly the same time as your classmates". So I took them in a gym, with Davina McCall keeping an eye on the time!

So Davina McCall was your invigilator?

Yes! She was hosting the show so she was in charge.

Now you're on The One Show, which is quite wholesome. Does that reflect who you are as a person?

It comes naturally: what you see is what you get. I do think there's a responsibility on us to uphold a certain standard, because we're invited into people's homes on a daily basis ... you have got a responsibility not to be seen falling out of nightclubs.

So how do you think Miley Cyrus is doing at the moment?

Bless her – to a point. I'm sure her parents are despairing and she seems to have gone along the same route as Madonna did, back in the late Eighties. Lots of people would say she's liberated; she's just doing what she wants and expressing herself in a certain way.

You get a lot of love online for what you wear on The One Show. Do you choose your outfits?

Yes, with a daily show like The One Show, there isn't much of a budget for clothes.

You don't have someone styling you?

Matt [Baker] and I have a lovely girl called Beth who brings us things now and again. But I more or less choose what I'm going to put on. Every night, Matt will come and say, "What are you wearing? What colour?" and then he'll find something to match that.

So nothing too fancy?

I wear high street all the time. If I was sitting at home watching, I'd like to know that I can go and buy that at the weekend from the local Topshop, or what have you.

Guests like Bruce Willis haven't quite gone according to plan. Do you have any favourites?

I think those who are solid, British, national treasures. People like David Jason just make for really comfortable viewing.

You're a Welsh speaker. Growing up my great-grandma used to speak Welsh to me. Can you give us a phrase?

I've had three conversations in Welsh already this morning! How's this? Tlis newch chi tesnogi plant mewn angen eleni: Please support Children in Need this year.


Alex Jones, 36, was born in Ammanford, Wales and co-presents BBC1's The One Show. She is currently taking part in the Rickshaw Challenge, helping to pedal a rickshaw 700 miles across the UK to raise money for Children in Need on 15 November