The Conversation: Dawn O'Porter, TV presenter and author

'People in clothes shops are so rude. It always baffles. And changing rooms are so unflattering.'

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The Independent Online

There's some new research that tells us people are more adventurous with their shopping when they do it online. Is that because they're drunk?

That is the danger, I guess. But if they are drunk, does it matter? I do most of my shopping online and I buy things that are riskier than when I go into a shop.

And you don't have to deal with the snooty assistants.

People in clothes shops are so rude. It always baffles. And changing rooms are so unflattering. I was in a changing room yesterday and it was fur-lined. I was like, "Are you fucking joking?"

Talking of clothes, you were pictured on your wedding day wearing a onesie. Did you get married in it?

I don't know why people think we took our vows in a onesie. Of course we didn't.

I was watching a clip of you on BBC Breakfast talking about your most embarrassing moment…

I thought Bill [Turnbull] was going to have a heart attack.

I can't believe you prefaced it with "Oh it's fine" and then used the words "greased-up naked orgy".

There was no other way to describe it. I think they do such a great job on those shows – to work for the BBC and be so PC and careful would be my idea of hell.

Some of the programmes you've made mortify your family, you've said. Would your husband, Chris O'Dowd, ever say, 'Please don't'?

He wouldn't be like that at all. He's very much not inside the box. He's not one of those actors who gives straight PR answers and doesn't really think about being a people-pleaser. He's so open-minded and that's why I married him.

You've written a young adult novel, Paper Aeroplanes. It's not all sunshine and smiles, is it?

It's quite gut-wrenching in places. It's very loosely based on my teenage years, in that it's set in the Nineties in Guernsey, but the story is completely fictional. But one of the characters, Renée, is very much the same kind of person that I am. I channelled myself a bit through her, and she's got the same family set-up. Her mum died when she was seven and she lived with her grandparents, but I moved out from my grandparents when I was 10, Renée still lives with them at 16, so it's me imagining how bad it could have got. It really deals with the loss of a parent, and being very lonely and being confused about who you are.

How do you find living in LA?

I lived there for three years before I met Chris and I had a weird time there because I wasn't working, and if you're not working it can be a really depressing place to be. But now I know it like the back of my hand and I've got great friends there. You can say to someone, "I want to write a film" and they'll go, "Brilliant, can't wait to read it", and if you say it to someone in London they'll be like, "You probably can't though, can you?". It's very encouraging, and that's probably because they're all on prescription drugs but I don't care. They're really nice.

When you were a bit low, did Chris help you?

He paid my rent. It was that simple. He got together with a wreck in many ways, who was really frightened about her career. It was my flat and I couldn't afford to pay for it. He said he'd take on the rent on the flat while I sorted myself out, so he gave me a security blanket for those few months.


Dawn O'Porter, 34, started out as a journalist before making TV documentaries and writing a novel. She is married to the actor Chris O'Dowd and supports, a free personalised shopping service from Barclaycard