The 5-minute Interview: Helen Baxendale, Actress

'I'd make all schoolchildren take ballet lessons every morning'

Staffordshire-born Baxendale, 37, became a familiar television face after starring in "Cold Feet" alongside James Nesbitt and appearing in "Friends" as Emily, Ross's mousy English wife. She is now appearing opposite Christian Slater in "Swimming with Sharks" at the Vaudeville Theatre, London.

I wish people would take more notice of ...

Our world heating up. I wish they would stop buying things. I wish The Independent wouldn't tell us not to buy water and then give it away free.

A phrase I use far too often ...

"Will you please just do what I've asked." I say that to my children.

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

Going over my lines. It's lunchtime and we have just finished eating.

A common misperception of me is ...

I don't know if there are many misconceptions. One is that my birthday is on Valentine's Day. It's on 7 June.

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

Having three children. I never imagined I would do that or get to this stage of life. I never saw myself as proper grown up.

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

I'd make all schoolchildren take ballet lessons every morning. And I'd ban advertising aimed at children. I'd be a benevolent dictator. And I'd reinstate old-fashioned children's TV.

I'm good at ...

Growing tomatoes. I've had a bumper crop this year.

I'm very bad at ...

Being organised and doing things when I'm supposed to do them in the manner that I'm supposed to do them.

The ideal night out is ...

I don't think I'd like to be in England. I'd be in Paris. I'd really like to go to the cinema and watch something entertaining. Then I'd have a quick drink and go home.

In another life I'd have been ...

A cartoonist

In moments of weakness, I ...

Have a good, brisk walk, and up the pace of my legs a bit. I'll try to get a new view.

The best age to be is ...

Childhood is pretty fantastic but every age has its moments of beauty.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

I don't have a philosophy.

Alice-Azania Jarvis

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