Sky News Presenter Kay Burley

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Published: 7 February 2015

Sky News presenter Kay Burley:

‘People say I’m po-faced, but they’d be amazed how naughty I am’

We ask a celebrity a set of devilishly probing questions – and only accept THE definitive answer. This week it’s Sky News presenter Kay Burley 

The prized possession you value above all others...My sense of humour! It’s essential for the job I do. The team at Sky are very serious, but in the downtime they’re hilarious. If it wasn’t for humour, I’d probably not be quite as sane as I am.

The biggest regret you wish you could amend...My parents died quite young, so serious regret isn’t in my DNA. I live every day as if it were my last because one day it will be. That said, I wish I hadn’t bought my Range Rover Evoque last year. It cost about £40,000 and has been terrible. I’m going to replace it with a Porsche Macan.

The book that holds an everlasting resonance...Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. It’s the best love story ever told.

The film you can watch time and time again...The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s funny but deals with serious issues like ageing and unrequited love. Maggie Smith and Judi Dench are brilliant. I can’t wait for the sequel.

The temptation you wish you could resist...Having the last word, whether I’m arguing with friends or interviewing someone on TV. I can’t help myself.

The priority activity if you were the Invisible Woman for a day...I’d go to No 10 and listen to David Cameron to find out why he really doesn’t want to take part in the party leaders’ General Election debates. I think it’s because, as Prime Minister, he has the most to lose, but he can’t admit it.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise...Drivers at traffic lights who only indicate to turn right after the light’s turned green. You’re then stuck behind them if you want to go straight on. It drives me nuts.

The person who has influenced you most...My dad Frank. He was wise and had a great sense of humour, which my 21-year-old son Alexander has inherited. Dad died from a heart attack in 1995 at 65.

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child...There is no rush. Take your time, you have your whole life ahead of you.

The unending quest that drives you on...To be first with the news. If I’m beaten to it, I’m gutted!

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity...Formula 1 motor racing. I used to find it ridiculous and boring but I’ve grown to love it thanks to my son.

The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint...The American writer Dorothy Parker. She was a great wit who’d be terrific company.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again...A 9ct gold necklace my mum Kathleen bought for my 12th birthday. It had my sign of the Zodiac, Sagittarius, on it but I lost it while playing in a park. I still think about it.

The event that altered the course of your life and character...Covering the Herald Of Free Enterprise ferry disaster in Zeebrugge in 1987 for TV-am. I was a very a junior reporter but I volunteered to go. When I got back I was promoted to presenter and my career took off.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it...I’d break into Buckingham Palace and have a nose around. I want to know what the private rooms are like and if the Queen really keeps food in Tupperware.

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase...That I’m po-faced. People have a go at me on Twitter and say I’m too serious. They’d be surprised to know how mischievous and naughty I am away from the telly.

The poem that touches your soul...If by Rudyard Kipling. I first read it when I was 11 after my mum gave it to me. It’s a brilliant guide to how to live life.

The song that means most to you...Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I remember watching the video on Top Of The Pops in 1975 and it blew my mind.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions...I’d corral all my friends at Heathrow and take a private jet to Ulusaba, Richard Branson’s game reserve in South Africa. We’d see the animals then have a big lunch in the bush. Antelope burgers are tasty, but I wouldn’t tell my friends what they’re eating. After, I’d leave my friends there and go to base camp at Mount Everest with my son Alexander. Later I’d trek along the Inca trail at Machu Picchu, in Peru. It’s meant to be quite a spiritual journey, so I’d go alone to give me time to think. After that I’d nip back to Ulusaba for cocktails with my friends. I’d end the day at home in London with my three Irish setters, quietly reflecting on an amazing day.

The happiest moment you’ll cherish forever...Ringing my mum on 12 April 1993 and saying, ‘It’s a boy. You’re a grandma!’ I didn’t know at the time but she was very ill. She’d had breast cancer when she was 50 and it had come back.

The saddest time that shook your world...Walking with my mum a few weeks later, pushing the buggy, when she told me about the cancer. I said, ‘I can’t manage without you Mum.’ She was my world. She died on 11 December when she was only 59.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you...Never breaking 12 seconds for the 100 metres when I was a kid. The best I did was 12.4.

The philosophy that underpins your life...It’s Kipling’s line, ‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same…’

The order of service at your funeral...Gin. Laughs. Gin. No songs. More gin – I just want people to get drunk and tell a few stories.

The way you want to be remembered...Great mother, loyal friend, dog lover.

The Plug...Kay Burley presents Sky News from 2pm-5pm Monday to Friday. Follow her on Twitter @kayburley.