Early in 2003, while head of the Good Housekeeping Institute (the consumer and cookery departments of the magazine), I was invited to take a screen test alongside housekeeper Kim Woodburn. Just a few months later Channel 4’s How Clean is your House? became an instant hit with over four million viewers. The show ran for six series, plus two produced in the US. The How Clean? format was sold to numerous countries around the world and the UK version currently airs in 16 of them – from Norway to Namibia and repeated widely on UK digital channels.
Sales of the tie-in book to the first series quickly reached over half a million copies and it continues to sell today.
I was born in Rothiemurchus, Aviemore in 1955 and left in 1973 for Aberdeen to study to be a bilingual secretary, after which I went to work for the Foreign Office in London. On my first day I was told I was actually at MI6 and did I want to stay with them or go and work for the real Foreign Office? Always one to favour a challenge, I agreed to stay and take on a Miss Moneypenny role. After two years I was offered an overseas posting but felt I was not cut out for embassy life so I left to spread my wings and pursue a career in women’s magazines, which eventually led me to Good Housekeeping.
TV credits include How Clean is Your House?, Too Posh to Wash, Come Dine with Me, The F Word, Never Mind the Full Stops, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Richard and Judy, This Morning, GMTV, The Jonathan Ross Show, Graham Norton, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Children in Need, Loose Women, Saturday Kitchen, Ready Steady Cook, Big Brother’s Little Brother, Dead Ringers (by proxy!), The Wright Stuff, Breakfast News, The Paul O’Grady Show, Hider in the House, Market Kitchen, The One Show, Dancing on Ice, Daily Cooks’ Challenge, Grumpy Old Women, We Need Answers, Britain’s Best Dish, BBC News 24, Rodge and Podge (RTE), Daily Politics Show, The Hour Show (Scottish Television).
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