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Andi Oliver headshot against orange background Show caption Andi Oliver: ‘I could be kinder to myself.’ Photograph: Richard Grassie/Radio Times
The QA

The chef, broadcaster and singer on breaking her legs, the pain of reading Enid Blyton as a child and why she bit a policeman

Sat 11 Dec 2021 09.30 GMT

Born in London, Andi Oliver, 58, fronted the band Rip Rig + Panic with Neneh Cherry in the 1980s and went on to work as a presenter. In 2017, she became a judge on the Great British Menu on BBC Two and, in 2020, she was made host. A regular on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, her latest project is Wadadli Kitchen in east London, which showcases Caribbean home cooking. Her Christmas special, A Taste of Home with Andi Oliver, will be on BBC Two. She lives in London with her partner. Her daughter is the presenter Miquita Oliver.

Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought? I’ve never bought a property. The most expensive thing I’ve bought was a Hyundai Tucson.

Describe yourself in three words Fanciful, loving, and anxious.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? I struggle with my weight – up and down like a yo-yo.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose? My brother. He died when he was 27; he had sickle cell anaemia. I miss him every day.

Who would play you in the film of your life? Viola Davis.

What is your most unappealing habit? My daughter says I let her start cooking and then I take over. It’s annoying.

Which book are you ashamed not to have read? Michelle Obama’s.

What does love feel like? Like safety.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you? Recently there was a conversation about Enid Blyton and her book The Three Golliwogs. I said on Twitter that I remember it being read out in the class at school, and it was a horrible experience. Somebody put it in the Metro and the comments below the article were disgusting.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? To my brother, because when we were kids I didn’t understand his illness and it used to irritate me.

Have you ever said ‘I love you and not mean t it? I’ve said it by accident, at the end of business meetings. Love you!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I call people darling, because I can’t remember anybody’s name.

What has been your biggest disappointment? The fact that I didn’t get more success in the music industry.

How often do you have sex? Not enough, because I am never home.

What would you like to leave your children? Love, kindness, and a nice big house.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? I broke both my legs in a hit-and run accident when I was 26.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life? I could be kinder to myself.

What has been your closest brush with the law? Years ago, my friend and I were quite drunk, and she was getting arrested. The policeman grabbed me and twisted my arm behind my back and put one arm in front of my face, so I bit him. I got arrested as well.

What keeps you awake at night? Menopausal anxiety.

Would you rather have more sex, money or fame? Sex and money.

What happens when we die? We become the stars.












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