Published: 16 November 2013
TV Property expert Sarah Beeny:
‘Going to a hen party in 2001 where a girl asked me to screen test for Property Ladder changed my life’
We ask a celebrity a set of devilishly probing questions – and only accept THE definitive answer. This week it’s TV property guru Sarah Beeny
The prized possession you value above all others... My photographs, especially from my childhood.
The biggest regret you wish you could amend... Giving up learning the piano when I was 14. These days I look on in awe and envy when I see someone playing. But I’ve just bought a ukulele.
The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions... I’d start with breakfast in bed with my husband, Graham, and the boys – Billy, nine, Charlie, seven, Rafferty, five, and Laurie, three – at our home in south London. I’d have Marmite on toast, cut in squares with the crusts trimmed off! Then we’d go skiing in Austria. Graham and I would have lunch – no kids! – at Bucci’s restaurant in Balham. I’d have oysters and mussels with Chablis. Then we’d all go for a walk in the mountains in the South of France, paddling and fishing with nets. I wouldn’t mind a glass of prosecco somewhere romantic in Italy before driving to the Welsh countryside in our new Fiat Ducato motorhome. We’d go for another walk, then back to the van for a round of the card game Uno and to cook sausages and marshmallows on an open fire. I’d finish at Rise Hall [her Yorkshire stately home], which has the best sunsets ever.
The temptation you wish you could resist... Saying inappropriate things at the wrong time. People look at me and think, ‘Did she really say that?’.
The book that holds an everlasting resonance... Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss. It’s about taking opportunities and having a free spirit.
The priority activity if you were the Invisible Woman for a day... I’ve got a major crush on Antonio Banderas, so I’d follow him to see what he’s like.
The pet-hate that makes your hackles rise... Petty bureaucracy. I can’t stand being told what to do.
The film you can watch time and time again... How To Train Your Dragon. It’s pure escapism and even has a happy ending, which I always prefer!
The person who has influenced you most... My husband Graham. I’m 41 and we’ve been together since I was 19. He’s fearless – he’s calm about a business failing. He says, ‘As long as we have enough to make beans on toast, we’ll be fine.’
The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint... Elizabeth I. I’d like to know how she coped with the loneliness her power brought.
The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child... Positive things happen to positive people.
The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity... Lizards. There’s something so prehistoric about them. I want a pet iguana, but Graham won’t let me.
The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again... A silver bracelet decorated with daisies and red stones, which was given to me when I was five. It got broken at a party when I was 18.
The unending quest that drives you on... To finally be on top of everything! My inbox would be empty, all the cupboards tidied, the house sorted, the financial books organised. I’ll be dead before it happens, then it won’t matter!
The poem that touches your soul... The Highwayman by Anonymous. My mother, Ann, read it to me when I was seven and it always reminds me of her. She died from breast cancer when she was 39 and I was only ten in 1982.
The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase... That I’m bossy. When people meet me they think I’ll start telling them what to do. But I’m quite relaxed. I’m just a busy mum, working hard and feeding my kids.
The event that altered the course of your life and character... Going to a hen party in 2001 where a girl asked me to screen test for Property Ladder. I got the job and my TV career took off.
The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it... I’d force everyone who sends an unnecessary email to give me £1. I’d get rich quickly.
The song that means most to you... Shut Up And Kiss Me by US country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter. I sing it to my kids and it makes them giggle.
The happiest moment you will cherish forever... Walking into Rise Hall in February 2000. It cost £430,000 and we’d swapped a three-bed house in Battersea for it. Now it’s a thriving wedding venue business and an amazing home.
The saddest time that shook your world... Seeing my dad Richard [now 72] crying after Mum died. We’d all gone away for a last weekend shortly before she died and Dad was crying because he hadn’t put film in his camera properly, so none of the photos we’d taken had come out. It was agonising.
The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you... To finish my children’s book. I’m determined to have it published by the end of 2014.
The philosophy that underpins your life... You regret the things you didn’t do in life, not the things you did.
The order of service at your funeral... I’d like a church service with classic hymns and the family could bury me next to Mum or wherever feels right. I’d like a champagne reception at Rise Hall.
The way you want to be remembered... As someone who was smiley and kind.
The Plug... Sarah supports Savvy Switch, LED Hut’s campaign for householders to switch to eco-friendly LED light bulbs. Visit www.ledhut.co.uk or follow @LEDHutLtd on Twitter.
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