Reg­gie Yates, broad­caster

The Guardian - Weekend - - Content - 12 11 Novem­ber 2017 | The Guardian Week­end Rosanna Green­street

Born in Lon­don, Yates, 34, be­gan act­ing as a child, and his tele­vi­sion roles in­clude Grange Hill and Doc­tor Who. At 18, he joined BBC 1Xtra, and went on to be­come a reg­u­lar on Ra­dio 1 and an award­win­ning doc­u­men­tary-maker. His first book, Un­seen, is out now.

What is your ear­li­est mem­ory?

Sit­ting on my dad’s lap play­ing pi­ano.

Which living per­son do you most ad­mire, and why?

Any­body who in­vests the lion’s share of their time in help­ing oth­ers.

What is the trait you most de­plore in your­self?

I’m pretty ob­ses­sive and a neat freak.

What was your most em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment?

When I was do­ing the charts on Ra­dio 1, I got way too com­fort­able and swore. It was the only time I’ve done that on live ra­dio or TV.

Prop­erty aside, what’s the most ex­pen­sive thing you’ve bought?

I bought all my sib­lings signet rings and pen­dants with my fam­ily crest on. There are a lot of us.

What is your most trea­sured pos­ses­sion?

The hard drive with all my pho­tos of fam­ily and friends.

What would your su­per power be?

To be able to jump back­wards and for­wards in time.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Bert or Ernie from Sesame Street.

What is your most un­ap­peal­ing habit?


What is your favourite smell?

Oud – it’s not my favourite smell, but it re­minds me of one of my favourite peo­ple (who will re­main name­less).

What or who is the great­est love of your life?

Film and mu­sic: film is my wife and mu­sic is my mis­tress. Which book changed your life?

None, but sev­eral made an im­pres­sion: Pimp by Ice­berg Slim, Tues­days With Mor­rie by Mitch Al­bom, Mal­colm Glad­well’s Out­liers.

What is the worst thing any­one’s said to you?

I was ac­cused of be­ing ag­gres­sive in a mo­ment when I was be­ing pas­sion­ate, and there’s a big dif­fer­ence be­tween the two.

What is your guilti­est plea­sure?

Choco­late bis­cuits be­fore bed.

What was the best kiss of your life?

The fun­ni­est was my first kiss on screen at 13. It was a film called I Bring You Frank­in­cense. She was 17 and knew what she was do­ing. I didn’t.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?


If you could edit your past, what would you change?

How lit­tle con­fi­dence I had in my late teens and early 20s.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Brook­lyn in the late 70s/early 80s, to see the birth of hip-hop.

How do you relax?

With mint tea and good con­ver­sa­tion.

What is the clos­est you’ve come to death?

Have you seen my doc­u­men­taries?

What sin­gle thing would im­prove the qual­ity of your life?

Hav­ing chil­dren: it’s what I’m most look­ing for­ward to.

What song would you like played at your fu­neral?

Jump Around by House Of Pain, and Pull Up To The Bumper by Grace Jones: stuff peo­ple could dance to.

How would you like to be re­mem­bered?

As some­one who tried to keep learn­ing, and wanted to help.

Tell us a se­cret

I wish I could be an in­te­rior de­signer.

My guilty plea­sure? Choco­late bis­cuits be­fore bed

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