My Life In Travel: JoAnne Good, broadcaster and actress

'New York City never disappoints – it is all adrenalin'

Interview,Simon Calder@SimonCalder
Saturday 09 January 2010 01:00

First holiday memory?

Margate, in Kent, sitting on a donkey. But then I went to live in Australia at the age of four – my parents were "£10 Poms". So then, all my holidays were in Australia, until we came back to this country when I was aged 12.

Best holiday?

As an actress I've been able to travel a great deal in my work, including some amazing working holidays. But on a purely recreational basis, I'd say Corfu in the 1970s. I'd just read My Family and Other Animals and I thought, "I've got to go and experience this." There were no bargain airlines, so you got the train to Dover, the ferry to Calais and then hitched through Italy to Corfu. Hitch-hiking was a really easy way of getting around. I just loved Corfu because everything to do with the food and the drink was new – I hadn't experienced tzatziki or retsina before.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Brighton, where I've still got a home. There's no fourth wall to Brighton, there's the sea and that's it. I like that feeling of space.

Better to travel or arrive?

It's better to be travelling there, because of the expectation and anticipation. Travelling back is horrible.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That the English feel threatened by travellers. When you come back from anywhere abroad, Australians will eagerly ask, "Where've you been?" But if you come back into this country and say, "I've just been to Beijing", which I actually had once, people's eyes glaze over – it's "we don't want to know".

Ideal travelling companion?

Probably my bulldog, Matilda, who has her own passport. I have a very sociable job, so I love the thought of not having to talk to anyone.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I was part of the generation that didn't know that frying ourselves was not doing us any good. I avoid the beach these days. I'm an adrenalin junkie: that includes nightlife and culture, anything that gives me a kick.

Greatest travel luxury?

Touche-Eclat, an undereye highlighter. The more you fly, the less effective it is, because of the low cabin pressure. I take about three because they dry up on planes.

Holiday reading?

I love diaries because I'm very voyeuristic. I love delving into people's day-to-day lives.

Where has seduced you?

Muscat. In the early 1990s it was really difficult to get into – you could only get in if you had a work visa. I worked for the actor Derek Nimmo, who was sponsored by Hilton to fly actors all over the world doing Alan Ayckbourn plays in Hilton ballrooms. So you'd recreate the Old Vicarage in a ballroom, using Hilton-type furniture. But you flew first class and you were given five-star accommodation. Muscat was paradise.

Best meal abroad?

A fish restaurant on an island off Hong Kong, which I dined at with Derek. We had been to the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour, but unfortunately there were no free seats. So Derek organised for us to go out in a boat and we then swam from the vessel to a nearby island and tucked into peppered prawns.

Worst holiday?

As a child in Australia, when we went on a Christmas holiday to a place called Bethlehem which was so unbiblical – it was horrendous. There was no water and the beds had holes in them and pillowcases that had "sugar cane" branded on them. I remember my mother crying throughout and my brother and I arguing.

Favourite walk/ swim/ride/drive?

Going south on the A23 London-Brighton road from Cowfold over the Devil's Dyke into Brighton.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Pull back the sheets and press the mattress. I want to have a nice firm bed, and I also want to know, because I worked as a chambermaid, if they have changed the sheets. I always know if they haven't.

Dream trip?

To fly first class to New York and stay there for 10 days.

Favourite city?

New York, definitely; it never disappoints. It is all adrenalin. I once got back from there to Heathrow. I was jabbing the lift button and an airline pilot said: "You've just got back from New York haven't you?" I asked how he knew, and he explained: "You can't even wait for the lift."

Where next?

My friend Angela's apartment in Cannes, at Easter, It's wonderful sometimes to dip your toe into how the other half live.

JoAnne Good is the new voice of late nights on BBC London 94.9, weeknights from 10pm to 2am, starting on Monday 9 January

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