First Impressions: Esther Rantzen
ESTHER RANTZEN is one of England’s most popular journalists and television presenters. She is best known for presenting the BBC series That’s Life! She has also had great involvement in various charitable causes and is the founder of the child proteWhat are you working on at the moment?
A helpline for older people called The Silver Line.
When were you at your happiest?
The answer to that is always now.
What is your greatest fear?
Riding on a roller coaster.
What is your earliest memory?
Standing up in my cot listening to the hooting of an owl late at night.
Who has been your greatest influence?
My husband; my late husband.
What do you most dislike about yourself?
I have a very low boredom threshold.
What is your most treasured possession?
My wedding ring.
What trait do you most deplore in others?
Do you have a fantasy address?
The south of France. No, actually, I take that back. I'd love to live on the Cook Islands, in the South Pacifi c. It's one of the most beautiful and fascinating places I've ever visited.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Oh, Lord – I suppose my hair.
What is your all-time favourite book?
The temptation to say Fifty Shades Of Grey is overwhelming, but I will fi ght it. I'd have to say Alice In Wonderland because it's full of imagination and great storytelling. I remember it being read to me when I was a child.
What is your favourite film?
The Producers, definitely the old one with Gene Wilder – don't go near the new one!
Your favourite record or piece of music?
Ella Fitzgerald's Every Time We Say Goodbye.
Your favourite food?
Wild strawberries. And I usually eat them on their own, without cream or anything.
Who would you most like to come to dinner?
Elizabeth I. She was a scholar and a politician; she brought people together, inspired the arts and was fascinating. It would be a stimulating conversation.
Which historical character do you most admire?
Well, Elizabeth I, and for the reasons, see above.
What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?
I always block out memories of nasty things people have said to me. I'd have to pass.
Do you believe in aliens?
What is your secret vice?
Eating chocolates in traffic jams.
Do you write thank-you notes?
Which phrase do you most overuse?
Oh blimey. Probably 'If not now, when?'.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Getting my late husband back.
What would you like your epitaph to say?
ChildLine made a difference.
Esther Rantzen is Vice President of The Sick Children's Trust, which was founded in 1982 and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. To find out more about the charity's work or to make a donation, please visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org
Daily tip from the lady archive
“PEOPLE cannot help being influenced by their surroundings and their environment; therefore how all important it is that both of these should be healthy and cheery, for health and happiness both go hand-in-hand.”The Lady. The Blessing of Old Health, 18th November 1920