How have you settled in to life as a Formula 1 presenter for the BBC?

I’M really enjoying it, this season particularly. It took me a year to find my feet, build the relationships and feel confident with what I was doing. It’s a lot of fun, and of course the racing is epic.

Is it now second nature for you, remaining calm under pressure during live broadcasts?

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You have to. It’s one of those programmes where you can come on and say “Hello and welcome”, and the programme’s already changed; something’s already fallen away. You really have to think on your feet; it’s not scripted, it’s all coming from the heart really. From my point of view, that’s why it’s exciting. You’re in a challenging environment as well because it’s noisy, and you’ve got cars coming out and you’ve got to be really careful. I’ve got David (Coulthard) and Eddie (Jordan) either side of me, which makes us quite a big team wandering around. It’s also slightly different because they come from different perspectives, and I have to ask them questions according to that.

Is it true Eddie Jordan has begged you to wear flat shoes when you work together?

No (laughs). It’s not really my thing. I do sometimes wear flat boots, but not that often. I prefer to wear a heel. I like to feel like I’ve got my glad rags on and I’m ready for work.

You’ve got a lot on your plate this year

To be honest, the last two years have been quite full-on for work, and I’ve been concentrating on getting myself back on track – full-on with the BBC. I did Trooping the Colour this year with Huw Edwards, and I’m doing another year of Formula 1 next year.

You’re also part of a new Hotpoint campaign which suggests many Brits feel their home is out-dated – tell us about that

I think people aren’t really aware of how much home technology has come on in the past few years, particularly with appliances. People felt they’d upgraded their relationships more than their technology at home! It made me laugh, but then I thought I might have a toaster at the back of the cupboard that’s 15 years old, so that will have lived out a couple of relationships, and I’ve been married for five years. It’s good to make people think about home technology, because we don’t think about it in the same way as technology that we carry around with us, or even our TVs and computers. With home gadgets, traditionally we’ve made them last as long as possible, and they’ve perhaps been passed down from generation to generation. But if you’re running a fridge that’s 20 years old, that’s costing you a lot of money – more money than a modern fridge because they’re so much more energy efficient.

You once made a small fortune playing the young Cherie Lunghi in a coffee advert. was that the best three hours of work ever?

Yeah, it was. For the time I was there, I think I earned the most money I’ve ever earned in my life in that because I got repeat fees. That was ’93 or ’94. A really great job. It was funny when she was on Strictly (Come Dancing), a lot of my friends said, ‘You still look like her’. That was a good gig.

Are there no more plans to act?

I only flirted with it in my twenties, but sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if I had committed myself to acting. It hasn’t worked out that way though, and I’m pretty happy with the way things are.

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