First Impressions: Andrew Castle
ANDREW CASTLE is a former No1 British tennis player. After retiring from sport he made a name for himself presenting for Sky and was an anchor on the GMTV sofa for 10 years. He is also lead commentator at Wimbledon.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm fronting Grant's Whisky's family stories campaign – to keep family memories alive.
When were you at your happiest?
Christmas, as a youngster. There was a nativity scene with wooden figures that we put on the TV. Everyone seemed to be around, it was great. And the power cuts in the 1970s.
What is your greatest fear?
I'd really rather not die. Unfortunately, it may be inevitable. I am hoping for a major advance in medical technology – soon.
What is your earliest memory?
When a fox got the chickens when we lived in Tadworth. My dad had a fish-and-chip shop and we lived in a house round the corner. And I remember coming out one day and it looked like a terrible war film – there were chickens scattered across our back garden.
Who has been your greatest influence?
My wife, Sophia. She has been a great civilising influence on me, and has calmed me right down. I think women are a civilising influence on men. Sometimes, men are difficult to control but we don't mind being controlled. She gets me to think before I speak. Not a bad thing.
What do you most dislike about yourself?
I think too much. I can be guilty of not enjoying the moment. I come from a working-class family and there was loads of love but not much money. I never want to have none again. I should enjoy the moment more.
What is your most treasured possession?
I keep it next to my bed in a drawer – and it's the order of service for my mum's funeral. I find that a great source of strength.
What trait do you most deplore in others?
Lethargy. A lack of get up and go, especially in the young.
Do you have a fantasy address?
Chequers, the official countryside residence of Britain's prime minister. I wouldn't mind running the place for a day, just to see if I could do it.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
As you get older, a little bit of belly seems to turn up when you least expect it: play more tennis and eat less.
What is your all time favourite book?
Anything by Jeremy Clarkson – he makes me laugh out loud.
What is your favourite film?
The Godfather Part I, Part II and Part III. Again and again. TV-wise, it has to be The Sopranos.
Your favourite record or piece of music?
Träumerei by Schumann. And my favourite version is played by Vladimir Horowitz. It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.
Your favourite meal?
Last night I bought two very nice hamburgers. I put them in white floury baps, with some Emmental and onions, and smothered them in brown sauce.
Who would you most like to come to dinner?
My mum and dad. My dad died when I was 19 and I hadn't seen him because I was living in America. I would have liked to have known him now I am an adult.
Which historical character do you most admire?
Annie Besant. She is considered to be the matriarch of the Trade Union and Women's Rights movements. She was the first woman president of the Indian National Congress. I found out in 1988 – because my mother was adopted and I had no idea – that she is my great-great-grandmother. How cool is that?
What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?
'I'm leaving.' Closely followed by 'You're on your own on this'.
Do you believe in aliens?
What is your secret vice?
Well, they are secret. But let me tell you that I do have some...
Do you write thankyou notes?
Yes. There is nothing like a handwritten letter or note. And if you take the time to do it – it's worth its weight in gold.
Which phrase do you most overuse?
I swear more than I am happy with.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A less busy brain.
What would you like your epitaph to say?
There is not going to be one because I'm going to live forever. But as a plan B I'd have 'He was good to be around'. I suspect that it isn't true, but it would be nice.
Andrew Castle is fronting Grant's Whisky's family stories campaign, which looks to help people keep their family memories and stories alive. Enter your family now by visiting www.grantswhisky.com
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