Things They Told Me #5: Alison Steadman

Seeing that Alison Steadman is the first guest on Sandi Toksvig's new Channel 4 series Extraordinary Escapes tomorrow (February 10th) got me thinking about the chat I did with her for the 'Life As I Know It' slot in S magazine in 2014.

Below are some of her most entertaining answers about her love of cuddly toys, her beloved Liverpool and why some people call her Mick.

I've also had an entertaining encounter or two with Sandi but I'll save that for another day...

Not a lot of people know this but I’m very good at... making toys for kids like little dolls houses and shoebox rooms, and I can make hobby horses out of a sock and an old broomstick.

My nickname is… Mick. That’s what my brother-in-law always calls me and it’s derived from the fact my mum used to call me Mickey Drip, which was a fond thing you used to get called if you were being a bit naughty. She used to say “You’re like a monkey up a stick” and I think Mickey Drip came from that.

I’d like to say sorry to... fans whose letters I haven’t answered over the years. When you’re busy the letters pile up, you answer a few and others get left so I’d like to apologise to those people I neglected to reply to or send a photograph to.

My first kiss was... when I was around 16 and it was very nice. It was from a young guy who was a friend of the family and it was quite romantic because it was by the Christmas tree.

My biggest regret is... that I ever permed my hair in the 80s. I looked like a complete idiot.

The one thing I’d change about myself is... knock the nerves on the head. Sometimes when you’re going on stage you lack confidence. That’s been creeping up on me over the last few years and I want to get over that.

The best thing my parents taught me was... to be kind and to be tolerant. I had very kind, lovely parents. You got told off sometimes but they were always reasonable and fair, and they were very gentle people. I guess they also taught me how to love a baby and not get fed up with it when it’s crying because it’s crying for a reason.

The first record I ever bought was… probably Living Doll by Cliff Richard when I was 14. I bought it in a record shop in Liverpool. At that time everyone thought he was good-looking and great, which he was.

It’s not good for my image but I like... I’ve never been concerned with my image, to be honest, so I wouldn’t know what to say about that.

My greatest weakness is... cuddly toys. My sister’s exactly the same. We love soft toys and cuddly toys and when we were in Bruges together we saw these fluffy Tintins. I was so tempted to buy one but I had to tell myself “The bedroom is full of toys as it is”.

If I could pass any law I would... cut down on the overuse of plastic. It really annoys me and I’d like it to be law that you have to take your own bag when you go shopping or that you get charged a fiver for every plastic bag because charging 5p isn’t going to make a difference.

I drive... a very old VW. I’ve had it for nearly 14 years and it’s my little pal. I mainly use it for shopping or visiting friends and as long as it keeps going I see no reason to replace it.

The shop I can’t walk past is… anywhere they sell cuddly toys. I see the face of a little dog or a teddy bear and I’m so tempted to buy it. I have to use all my strength to make myself walk away and I’m still thinking about those Tintins in Bruges.

The most expensive thing I’ve ever splashed out on is… a tube of face cream that cost me a fortune. I can’t recall the make of it but I had this idea that I was going to treat myself and it was the worst thing I ever did because it brought me out in spots all over my face and I had to throw it in the bin.

My favourite place in Britain is... my city of Liverpool. I adore going back there, which I do three or four times a year and I’m always happy to be there.

The best day of my life was… I’ve got two sons and the days when each of them was born I was so happy. I couldn’t believe I’d gotten this lovely baby in my arms both times and I remember waking up the next day, looking at them and thinking “Oh my God, I’ve just fallen hopelessly in love”.

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