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This is the BBC. This podcast is supported by advertising outside the UK. BBC sounds, music, radio, podcasts, we're already live, this is beaming out to millions it isn't.

[00:00:19]

Hello, I'm Louis through and welcome to my podcast series for BBC Radio. Foregrounded with Louis through coming to do a quick hello.

[00:00:29]

Let's see if that records and then see if it works for you or I get to talk to people I've always been keen to meet but never really had the chance to. I can't hear anything now.

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Only now I do it remotely. That is, once we've got our video conferencing software sorted and both of us, me and my guest recording our halves of the conversation talks me.

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You know what? I've actually made friends with every appliance. My God, that sounds pretty bad.

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And my guest today is a TV presenter, mental health campaigner and darling of the 90s lad Mags, who once had an image of a naked torso projected on the side of the houses of parliament.

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She is Gail Porter. We recorded this conversation early in the lockdown. What did you say you were saying that you were making friends with your appliances. Did you say, yeah, I'm figuring out how things work. I've got a mixing desk that I have not used yet, and I'm trying to figure out how to use that to do a bit of radio recording. And I got myself a DJ set because I think if I'm going to be 50, I need to do more and more embarrassing things for my 17 year old daughter.

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So she said, don't throw me a party that's going to happen to D.J. at the party. That's going to happen to sing at the party. That's going to happen. I've got a list of things I'm not supposed to be doing, and I'm doing them.

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It's one of the pleasures, as you get older that they don't really tell you about, which is that you can embarrass your children, especially if they don't listen to very much.

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You have this reverse power of being able to have the effect of making them cringe just by rapping along to a hip hop track or dancing or even just just being just being in the room when their friends are there and saying, any of you like a cup of tea or.

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Yeah, I'm starting to write down lists because I had a conversation with her.

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Unfortunately, when all this lookdown stuff happened, I was just getting back from Spain and she was staying at her dad's. So I've not seen since. Your daughter. My daughter? Yes, honey. That's right. How old is she? 17. Whatever. Yeah, no, she's very cool. But before I went away, we had a full blown conversation. Well, I had a full blown conversation, 40 minutes, 45 minutes. She didn't answer me back and I thought, oh, wow, she's listening to me.

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And I didn't realize she had the airports and her ears. She was listening to catfish in the bottom in.

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She had no idea what you were saying. No clue whatsoever. She just wasn't listening.

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It goes quite quickly from this phase of younger children where they're like, what am I going to do, dad? Will you play with me? And then suddenly the pendulum flips if a pendulum can flip and they're off in their room.

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And what really not that much to do with you and you're like, hey, you want to come out and have a kick about you want to go down to the park? I know, but I guess you're you're cool. Dad, how old are your children?

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Fourteen, twelve and five. Because I bumped into them once when you were in.

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Well, I was going to say we've met a few times, I think over the years, but only briefly. But the most recent was when we were on our way to the tube and we bumped into you and said hello. And you remember what we were going to see narcotrafficking. You know, we were going to a panto to see Goldilocks. Right. You know, because you made a joke about it.

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Did I was a good joke, was a terrible joke. So I think I was fan girling at the time. I was like, oh, my God. My daughter said, please don't say hello.

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And I was just commenting on the irony of us saying, Goldilocks when you're bald was all it was. The architecture of the joke, I'm afraid to say is lost to me.

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I think it was. Well, do you live in pain? Q Does it look like it looks a little because I used to work in being here. It looks like you've got big cupboards behind.

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They are in the loft is the guest bedroom and it's not really decorated. We're really bringing this to life for the listeners. It's not really decorated to my tastes and it's sort of very grey and blocked. I quite like it.

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Is that your room where you get banished?

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This is where I've been allowed to do my work in so far as I'm doing any work, which is not that far, because with three kids in the house and two parents working, there isn't a lot of free time.

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But basically the idea is that I come up here and because I can't travel for work, I had my documentaries put on hold until I can travel again. I decided I would spend some time talking to people who I thought I could have an interesting conversation with. So thank you for doing me the honor of joining me on this little series.

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Thank you very much for asking me. I told a couple of my friends and they were like, oh my gosh, what have you done wrong? Have you done something wrong? Is it one of those weird documentaries? It's right now. I think it's just a chat. But everyone fan girls you so you've got a lot of love out there.

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Oh, nice to hear that. Yes. Scotland are asking for it. Thank you.

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So this is a conversation, but one of the things I've been reading is that you may have had the coronavirus.

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Is that correct? I'm not entirely sure because my father passed away in Spain, so I went to Spain to sort everything out and bring him home and managed to get a flight home, got my dad home, looked like a huge dad. It was in a box that got cremated.

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When did that happen? January. This is February. He passed away. And then I went just before lockdown to pick him up and then get back. And I saw everything out there. So, yeah, I got home and then sorry to jump in, but you got him home to your house.

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Yeah, to your place. Exactly. So you're basically cohabiting with my ashes over there in a box.

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Yeah.

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You see, you want to get it just is that too much to do to move.

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It could be a bit more. I, I'm show you at the end but yeah. It's a nice little tiny box. He's not in a vase or anything like that. No.

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No not. Yeah, it's just in a box. I don't know what to do with him, you know, a piece of music and have a chat sometimes, but also where we were when we were on the plane. It sounds crazy, but I was at my seat at the very back of the plane and a lovely air hostess lady came up to me. She said there's two seats up in first class. And I was like, oh, my God, that's great.

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There's two of us. And sorry, I lost my dad. And she was like. He didn't realize that had a dead body at my feet. I know it's funny, but you've got to laugh. My dad would laugh no, he'd want me to sort of make light of the situation. You know, he died suddenly. So I'm quite you can't say please. But, you know, he always said if he's going to go, he wants to go quickly.

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Same here.

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Me too. I think not that I want it to happen any time soon. No.

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To any of us, but to the virus. When I got back, I could not stop sleeping was coughing. A dry cough wasn't sneezing and I was sweating, freezing cold. I could smell or taste anything. So I phoned my GP and obviously they said, don't come there. I found one one one because I was really short of breath. So one one one were really nice. And they said, look, if your breathing gets worse, you call 999, get an ambulance.

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That's all we can do. We don't have enough tests. So I just kind of sat in my house with the cat sitting bless her as she was on my chest. I was like, because I can't breathe.

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And I thought, oh, my God, I'm going to die alone with a cat that did that downstairs.

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Goodness, that's quite serious. The idea of you having the coronavirus and your in your house, I think you live a lot of the time on your own, is that right?

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Yeah. So who was checking up on you? Your friends knew that it was going on I'm assuming.

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Well, I kind of kept it quiet. My best friend in Scotland did because she spoke to me and I couldn't even have a conversation. And then she said, I'm going to video chat you. And she looked at me and she said, thank you offer. So thanks. So she would just like send me a message every other day. But I didn't want to worry people. I just thought I'll keep it quiet and start to panic a little bit.

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A couple of nights were a bit scary because of the breathing or something else. Well, the breathing was a bit scary. And then suddenly the thought of nearly being fifty and not with my daughter and being single and dying with a cat on my chest. It was kind of not the way I was envisioning it. But now I got through.

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It smells come back. Coughs Gone the sleeping thing. I think that's just boredom.

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No, I was going to say, you mentioned that you are nearly 50. We're close in age, although I'm about to turn 50, whereas you've just turned and I've just had. Yeah. One of the things I've enjoyed about you is the fact that we're peers. Right. We came up at a similar time. We both got on to TV in the nineties. In many respects we are part of the same generation and lived through similar things. So I sort of see that with a certain commonalities.

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Now I know that there's plenty to talk about with you, and I know you've had well publicized mental health challenges, which I think you've been admirably open about.

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And I think that's all part of the conversation, too.

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But shall we talk a little bit about about the nineties?

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Because the nineties was it was coming back to me that strange era of Britpop and loaded magazine and FH and this sort of cultural moment in which the idea of the new lad.

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Yeah. Emerged. I was very old.

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You remember all of that, those happy times for you? It was strange. It was a very odd time because I always thought of myself as the girl next door and then. I don't actually understand really how it all happened, because the 90s was a bit of a blur, no pun intended. Yeah, exactly.

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And I had a massive crush on Damon, which he still knows. And I still hate if I see him in the street anywhere.

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But yeah, it kind of like I was doing children's television by the time it got to the 90s. I asked by a magazine called FHA and they said, you want to come in and do a photo shoot.

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And I thought, oh, wow, amazing. By this time you'd been working in TV for quite a while.

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Yeah, I've done fully booked and done a bit of living, kicking.

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Electric Circus we booked was a Scottish children's show. Right. Yeah. That was, it was like life and kicking in Scotland.

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I've seen a few of those clips from back in the day and you were and are an accomplished broadcaster.

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Like what comes across is this childlike enthusiasm, but combined with total sense of poise, you know, which isn't always the case with young presenters.

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It's not a compliment. That's a compliment. Can I get that on a T-shirt and said that? You said that. Thank you very much. Just make sure I get some royalties if you sell a lot of them. But so having established yourself as a children's TV presenter, you were saying that you've got approached by the Lads magazine to do what they just said.

[00:10:19]

You want to come in and do an interview about you? I was naive at the time and they said also we want to do a bit like bikini photo shoot, whatever. And I remember speaking to my gran at the time, this is before she passed away. And I was like, oh, I'm not sure she's brought all these pictures of, like, all her favourite icons when she was growing up, you know, or Marilyn Monroe's and everything.

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She went she's not got any clothes on. She's not going. And I was like, you know what? No one's going to see it. It's one of those. It's going to be impeached 78 or something. So I went in, they gave me a couple glasses of champagne. Everyone was lovely. I was in a bikini. And then they said, oh, do you fancy just doing a quick picture? We can see your bottom and you just look over your shoulder.

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And I was thinking, Gran said, no one's going to see it. Oh, yes, I did it and didn't get paid, went off thinking nothing of it. I think no one's going to see it. And then. Everyone saw it. Famously, it was projected onto the side of the houses of parliament. Yes, virtually the side of the building. And he didn't tell me. I heard about it on the news.

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And you looked like you might be naked. Yeah. Were you naked?

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I was naked, but you could just see me from the back bit and some if I can use the term side boob. Right, Bubi? But you know what? They did as well. This is funny. They removed the nipple because they thought it might be offensive.

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Not a whole like 20 foot image of a naked ladies, both them and a right boob. But the nipple might offend.

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Well, there's the phenomenon. Don't ask me why I know this top shelf magazines. There must be some law against nipple being shown, but you can show cleavage, right? So then sometimes you see these magazines where quite evidently there should be a nipple there, but there's just skin.

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The thing is, you're tall, so I can't see the top shelf magazines, so I just have to take your word for it.

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Nor probably would you be as interested in looking at it as I would be.

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This is before I was married, obviously. But there's this sort of other species of female, which is the nipple. The woman only inhabits the covers of top shelf magazines, of which you were briefly an exemplar, very famously on the side of the houses of Parliament.

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That was about 98, was it in 1998, 1999.

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I was mortified when the whole thing came out because I thought it was just going to be a little thing. Mum was not best pleased that ignored the whole thing and my grandpa thought it was brilliant. He bought three copies and gave one to Uncle Alf and Uncle Melvin.

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So I don't know what isn't. It is really odd is my granddaughter.

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Let's put the best possible complexion on that and say he was very proud and he just wanted his friends to know what a success you were making of yourself.

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And by the way, you know, clearly that's been a defining moment for you, though, not the only one, certainly not what you're mainly known for. Know, I hope you don't feel that there's anything to regret about doing that necessarily, right?

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Not in the slightest. I think at the time, obviously, I was thinking, oh, my gosh, I'm young. I've done something a bit daft. I didn't realise they were going to manipulate me in that way. And now I'm nearly 50. I like, check me out on the building that nobody else is bums, you know, and lots of bums have been in it. But my bum was on that building. So, you know, it's one of those things people still bring up and say, oh, my gosh, it was your apartment.

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Like, yeah.

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I mean, looking back on it, the 90s for me were very exciting. Like it felt that we had a new wave of music and a sort of sense of cultural confidence in the UK. You know, bands, as you say, like Blur and Oasis and Pop. And when you blur, I tended to be more blur.

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Is it obvious is there something about me that marks me out was more like, no, I just say I'm blur or pulp.

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I was never an Oasis fan. Didn't get it. I still don't get it.

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It's funny I said that to someone the other day and they said, no, no, no, everyone loved Oasis. I get it. I felt like they were invalidating my memory. Like, if you didn't like it, then you weren't there, although I was living in New York. So in a sense I wasn't there. But from a distance I was following it through the place.

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You were living in New York. Where you working over there? I was working over there when I was over here getting naked and not getting paid. What were you doing?

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I was coming up through, first of all, a magazine called Spy Magazine and then in TV for the first time presenting segments for a show called Michael Moore's TV Nation. And in 96, I went into production on weird weekends and then that just sort of kept me in work more or less ever afterwards.

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And was that your concept or somebody else's concept yours insofar as it could be claimed to be a concept?

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It was my concept. I mean, it was really just hey, it's a documentary series that follows me as I go and investigate strange, crazy and controversial American subcultures.

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Well, I loved it so much because you're so good at getting the right questions and also you're so brilliant at being quiet. Oh, thank you. Do you have a favorite? Oh, my goodness.

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The interview seems to be flowing in the wrong direction at the moment.

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Sorry, but do I have a favorite? The first one was my favorite, but all but it was the first one talking about.

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The first one was about survivalists in Idaho and Montana who lived and thought the world was going to end. Oh, yes, yes. Retreated.

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I mean, in a weird way, in Korona world it seems less outlandish. The idea of seems quite normal. Stockpiling food and worrying about the collapse of civilization seems as though they may have had more of a point than I realized at the time on the subject of the 90s. Yes, sorry. I have a degree of nostalgia for that cultural moment also because it's when we were in our 20s. Right. But I'm also aware that some of it hasn't dated very well at the time.

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It felt as though what was being celebrated was a kind of, among other things, an unreconstructed masculinity, but with a cloak of irony over it. Right. So it was we'd lived through the eighties, which to some extent been about. Realizing that you shouldn't be racist and sexist and then in the 90s, it was as though someone said, oh, you can be a bit racist and sexist as long as you say you're being ironic or it's done in a tongue in cheek way.

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Yes, there was a lot of sexism in television in the 90s. You must have seen it. Well, the thing is, I hug everyone. And someone was asking me about, you know, people being inappropriate in the 90s. And you met Jimmy Savile.

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I only worked with him once. Did you? Yeah. On Top of the Pops once.

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How old were you? What year are we talking?

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I can't remember. Got a whole bunch of old DJs and presenters and they had a whole load of us. So I think there was me, Jamie Theakston, I think Sarah Cox, Jimmy Savile.

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I remember him just cuddling me and I didn't feel nice about it. But then I was thinking maybe it's just the 90s and people just like keep cuddling each other. I don't know. He just gave me the creeps.

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Did you know that he had a reputation? No, no idea whatsoever. Literally, people used to think all the time I was doing something like the big breakfast in the morning, getting up, doing that.

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So you get the two o'clock, you finish work by 9:00, you'd get up at 2:00 in the morning.

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Yeah, because we were alive at 7:00 and then you'd be doing voiceovers during the day. And then at nighttime every week it was Top of the Pops.

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I mean, that's a pretty full schedule. So is your point that you were not partying that much?

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Yeah, not really. So when I met Jimmy Savile or different people, I'd meet them for five minutes, do a link, do something. There was a couple of people that just didn't feel right and a bit creepy, a bit like you. Weird meets dirty granpa kind of thing. But yeah, but I watched your documentary. I was like, wow. Yeah, I thought there was something weird about him. But there you go, so lad culture has its own little Wikipedia has it.

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Yeah, and the way they define it is the image of the lad or new lad was that of a generally middle class figure espousing attitudes typically attributed to the working classes involving young men, assuming an anti intellectual position, shunning sensitivity in favour of drinking violence and sexism.

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I think that sounds like all my exes. Oh, dear, I'm joking with the violence. But.

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But do you think that's a fair characterization? Was something that you saw at the time at all? Did you think of yourself as a ladette?

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Never, never thought of myself as a lad. I thought of myself as a worker, got up, did my job, did a few photo shoots, had a bit of a laugh. Thought you knew what? My body is not going to look like that in 20 years time. I don't really care. I'd get the odd sort of like shout out from a van, you know, wolf-whistles or whatever. I think that happens all the time. But I think in the 90s, it seemed to be heightened because there were so many of these magazines and there were so many jobs going to girls that looked the correct way.

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We looked to start away soon as I lost my hair. I didn't work as much. I didn't look right.

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But you were in the epicentre of it. So meeting a lot of people in the industry and going out with at least a couple of them. I know about Keith Flint from The Prodigy and then one of the members of top loader who you married. When was that fun?

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Did it feel fun or was that just work out? Keith is a love of my life. Absolutely loved him. I miss him. Terrible. What happened? That was a blind date, actually. So that wasn't work. I didn't meet him through work because I'd gone to a Formula One race and Keith had been there and seen me. And then someone who knew me, who knew him said, Would you like to go on a date with his friend?

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And I was like from the Prodigy.

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I was like, Yeah, sure, why?

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No, I was single. And we went, Oh, we did not stop laughing the entire evening. I then practically that was us together for almost two years. The good thing was he didn't really talk about work. I didn't really talk about work. We would just go and do fun things or I was actually doing a program called Wish You Were Here. You must remember. Wish you were here.

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Wish you were here. Wasn't it presented by you? Just Chas Chalmers. I mean, that had been on since the 70s. Yes, exactly.

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So I guess to do quite a few episodes. So I did a lot of Scottish ones, which was lovely and fine. But then I got asked to go to the Maldives. It was in the days when TV production companies had money. So they said you can take your partner. So me and Keith, when he'd had a few issues of the few things, mental health or substance, a bit of everything.

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So by the time we got to the Maldives, he had a few wobbles. But by the end of it, you know, he was like swimming every day. We were going to the gym and both of us, our mental health, which is so fantastic, of course, everyone is going to be extremely happy if you're in the Maldives. We were so lucky.

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And then when we got back and I said, right, I'm going to go back to work, you go back to work. He just didn't get his mind back into things properly. And he was going that way and I was going, right. We need to keep positive. And it just didn't work that way. He was on a downer. I was trying to work my hardest. And so it was a shame.

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Keith Flint for the younger listeners, legendary member of The Prodigy who sadly took his own life.

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It was last year marked. Yeah, he was basically a dancer. Well, he was the front man. He was the front man. He was the fire starter. He was the fire started.

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And his musical contribution, I mean, that was mainly the other guy. Was it Liam? Yes, Liam.

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They've all been friends since they were teenagers. They couldn't have done it without each other. But Liam's the mastermind. I sat in on a couple of sessions with Keith and they all had their bits. It was a proper collaboration. They were amazing. And I'm glad I got to see them life so many times. That was just a spectacle in itself. Did you ever see them live, Louis?

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No, I wish I had I bet they put on quite a show. Yeah, you would think that. Well, you you mentioned that is the love of your life.

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I think it was the first time I actually felt like, please don't leave me that kind of love.

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But there was a healthy relationship because he had his challenges. You've had your issues over the years, but the relationship itself felt like it was bringing the best out of both of you could.

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Yeah, I think so. I think I'm not a great person to hang out with. I get very bored very quickly. But because Keith had his issues, like I had my issues, it seemed to just work.

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But I always thought there was going to be that moment when we're going to have bad times at different times. And that kind of worked that way. Unfortunately, I wouldn't want to live with me at any point. I have to live with me because it's a thing, too.

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I was going to say you have to live with the ideal. It's not good. It's really tiring. I pour myself sometimes.

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Sometimes I have thoughts in my head and I just think just change the subject, think it's just have a different set of thoughts or feelings or just be someone else.

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Your brain can be a great friend and a fearful enemy. But the point is, so I feel as I'm circling around something, I'm not sure we've kind of got it, but. I suppose what I'm wondering is in working in TV as a young person in your 20s, a beautiful young woman, and you obviously must have had a lot of male attention. Also your talent, you know, you on screen, you're you just did you see talent?

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Well, I don't like that term. I don't like it.

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I never really liked the term talent. And I'd even have if a general audience even understands that in the TV industry, someone whose talent is just the person in front of the camera, it's not necessarily the most talented person you could argue might be the least talented. Where's the talent? He's still in his dressing room.

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I hated that term. And the other thing as well is like when I go to a job and they'd say, oh, would you like an object?

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You know, the script and you've done well, I think just stick to what you good.

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I'm good at talking, remembering stuff and usually saying things out of blame. I sometimes feel like I've got some sort of weird Tourette's. When I get depressed, I say things out loud.

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Well, and I think you're good at being very natural on camera in life situations, connecting with people. You're quick on your feet. I mean, on the point about pieces to camera and learning the lines. Early on when I got into TV, I enjoyed the part of it. There was meeting people, sometimes strange, dangerous people, Ku Klux Klan members, cult members and so on. The part that really gave me the fear, though, was when they said, oh, we'd like you to do a piece to camera.

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It just felt so unnatural. I really struggled with it. And then when I came to do my first series, we had weekends. We did a couple early on on the first shoot I ever did. I mean, they were OK, but it was clear that it wasn't really suiting my strengths. And ever since I've never really done any. It feels quite unnatural. But it's one of several technical aspects of TV presenting that I think you're really good at.

[00:24:36]

When I watched your recent documentary and had clips from your earlier material earlier shows, I should clarify for listeners that you recently did a documentary about mental health issues that you've had over the years.

[00:24:47]

And it was quite clearly a very emotionally demanding process.

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In several scenes, maybe five or six, you were brought to tears by thinking about things or encounters that you had, whether it was with your dad or old friends that you'd collaborated with over the years.

[00:25:03]

But there was this striking contrast between these emotions that were very close to the surface. But your commentary or voiceover throughout the program was so pitch perfect. It was sort of interesting contrast between sort of professional, completely competent on top of her game, Gale. And vulnerable, still struggling, Gail?

[00:25:23]

Yeah, it's very odd because my best friend from Scotland, I've still not seen the whole documentary because I can't bring myself to watch after my dad passed away, because your dad's in it.

[00:25:31]

And it's one of the most it's very awkward selecting scenes in the program as we sit down in a pub with your dad and he doesn't quite get the tone of the conversation. Right. And I think you look uncomfortable. Yeah. He says something that I think annoys you or bothers you and you say, oh, I let you down. And he says, no, you let yourself down.

[00:25:50]

That was it. Yeah. You let yourself down. And the thing is, I should bear in mind he's in your room.

[00:25:54]

I know, Dad, we're talking about you listening to everything. He's listening. We'll give him a right of reply. Do you know what? Nothing I did was right when I was growing up with my dad. Nothing you'd get. Yeah, well done. But there was always a bar and you're like, oh, it was very difficult to connect with them. But the thing is, I always talk to my dad like twice a week because he moved to Spain.

[00:26:17]

Seewald conversations not how you doing. It was kind of like, what have you done wrong? Have you done something else? Are you still single?

[00:26:24]

You still live in the car. He was old fashioned Scottish, worked hard, went to the pub every night, came back about eleven o'clock, was again about seven or eight and that was it.

[00:26:34]

Why did you talk to him on the phone so often? I talked to my dad. I mean, I'm not holding myself up as a model. I think I should talk to him more often. Sometimes a few weeks go by. But you were speaking to your dad in the program. You say every day, in fact, mostly a text in the morning.

[00:26:48]

UKCS everything OK? I think the reason was because I don't have my grandparents, I don't have my mum and my dad's the last person standing. So he's got a brother who I speak to now once a week. But other than that, he had nobody. And the thing is, my dad had his own mental health problems. And as much as he would annoy me, you just keep your mouth shut. I always say to my daughter, she's like, why do you keep falling?

[00:27:08]

Grandpa is like, because he'll just think it's the best conversation in the world. I probably won't say anything. He'll tell me about hanging out in Spain or going to the bar, but he's had contact with his daughter and he's happy.

[00:27:20]

So you were just being a good person? I wanted to be a good daughter. I think I've got to the stage now that I kind of leveled off. I was good, I was bad, I was useless. I was this. I was whatever. So I thought, you know what? Just be a decent human being. And even if he pisses me off, can I see that? If he annoys me, I would keep my mouth shut because two wrongs don't make a right.

[00:27:41]

And I don't argue with anyone apart from myself, obviously. Oh, my God, that sounds really crazy.

[00:27:48]

No, I think that's very sweet and in a way surprising because one of. The other revelations in the program is that you are diagnosed whether or not it's an accurate diagnosis as having either borderline personality disorder or emotionally unstable personality disorder, I think I had five different ones.

[00:28:05]

They didn't say that in the in the program. You just they thought, you know what, let's keep this clear. How many did you have in actuality then?

[00:28:11]

Five, five. Bipolar, world wide, bipolar two. I didn't even know there was two.

[00:28:16]

I didn't think you could have both. I thought you had to choose.

[00:28:18]

I don't know, I, I was just looking at these people. I think I was getting so emotional because, you know, it was an hour long documentary and we spent five months filming it. I don't get angry, but I did get angry a few times, just thinking I've got no idea. And there were no. You've definitely got this. No, you've got this now. You've got borderline personality disorder then. Oh, my God, you're fine.

[00:28:38]

You're absolutely fine. Everything's great.

[00:28:40]

Who are you getting angry with, the program makers or the psychiatrist?

[00:28:44]

I think both. Originally, I was very grumpy with the director and she knows this. I shouldn't apologize because she was just like pushing and pushing and pushing and saying, right, we do this, we do this. And I was trying to explain this is about mental health. It's not something you can turn on, turn off. If I don't feel too well, I'm not being a diva. But we were working constantly and doing all these interviews and it was very tiring.

[00:29:08]

And then I'd sit down with a doctor who's never met me before.

[00:29:12]

I'd sit there for maybe half an hour to an hour and suddenly, like, you got a you need to take this medication and that medication and then you'll be fine.

[00:29:21]

So I don't take any medication and I feel lucky to you know, you seem great after watching that program, I thought, wow, Gail's really still got some struggles, like there's still a lot going on with her. And yet when I speak to you now, it's such a pleasant surprise to see how well you seem. If I'm completely honest, I wasn't expecting it. I'm sorry if I've let you down.

[00:29:44]

No, on the on the contrary, with my hand on my heart, I thought, oh, maybe she's not in a brilliant place to have this conversation because a lot of this stuff is still very raw and very real, which would be fine.

[00:29:56]

But it just requires a slightly different approach. Whereas I see you now, you seem really well.

[00:30:00]

You know, after came out, people were stopping me in the street and going, oh, you look great. Are you OK? I was like, yes. I said, you know what? I'm the same as everybody else. We've all got our ups and downs. We've all got bad things. We've all got things going on. Our head mine was compressed from six months into one hour. So, yeah, I can keep it together. I have bad days.

[00:30:19]

I have good days. But, you know, obviously they're going to edit it into the worst times. I mean, it's great for people to watch to say, oh, actually I felt those things. I think that was the message that they were trying to get across the worst parts of it as opposed to the happy times. We're having a great time. I think we wanted to convey the fact that, you know, if you can go through it and this is the stuff you don't know about her, I don't think they wanted me to put too much of me being extremely happy.

[00:30:45]

So, yeah, nine times out of ten, I'm totally fine. And then I'll have my bad days. Are you alright talking about you talk to me about anything. OK, perfect. Thank you.

[00:30:55]

I do like to ask permission before launching into the darker parts of someone's story. By the way, I'm Louis through and this is my series Grounded with Louis through. And for today's guest, Gail Porter, the 90s not only saw her at the top of her game, a TV it girl and darling of the lad mags, but also dealing with a whole raft of mental health issues.

[00:31:16]

In some ways, it's a greatest hits package of several different documentaries that I've done because I've done a programme about post-natal mental health issues, which I think you experienced about anorexia nervosa, featured people who struggled with suicidality and self-harm, all of which have featured in some ways in your life. But I'm wondering, when you look back and make sense of what happened, you know, what led to those problems, to those challenges?

[00:31:44]

How do you begin to understand it?

[00:31:47]

I don't know. It was just at school and I got picked on quite a bit because I studied a lot. And so my nickname was Snobby Porter.

[00:31:54]

So when I get home, I try and be cool, but then I'd overeat to them. My dad used to make pig noises at me when I was about sixteen or seventeen, so I thought, oh, I'm overeating. And so then are you take foods like ice cream up to my bedroom and then listen to the Smiths, because obviously that's going to cheer me up. And then I had this sort of awareness of not being pretty or good enough.

[00:32:19]

I kind of went through I mean, literally my entire life has been like a wee roller coaster. I know people say that all the time, but I have my great times and then suddenly I think I'm useless. Everything overeating, I think was first and then I got called fat. So then I stopped eating altogether and then I ended up in hospital.

[00:32:36]

When was this? How old were you at this point? You know, I can't remember. I think eighteen. I was getting very depressed and then between nineteen and whatever, I was overeating under eating and then I think I started self harming. About 95 or 96, when you were about 25 about that age, so what's coming across is that there's always been part of your life that was susceptible to these sorts of challenges.

[00:33:03]

Right. It wasn't as though there came a moment when I descended on you.

[00:33:07]

Like I think there's always been ups and downs. I've always been overemotional. I remember when I was about five years old and my auntie wanted me to be a bridesmaid and there was two dresses to pick between. And my mum said she liked one of my aunts, said she liked the other. I was distraught for a week. I just cried. I wanted them to make the decision for me. And I remember having nightmares about it.

[00:33:33]

And I was only five or six. So I think my brain's just wired a wee bit differently.

[00:33:39]

So did you say that you were hospitalized when you were 18 or 19 with an eating disorder?

[00:33:44]

No, I collapsed. I think I collapsed when I was about 22. I can't remember 23, 24. It's not the sort of thing that you put down in a diary. No, I went to a gym and I think it was about 16 at the time. And I collapsed on a running machine and they took me to hospital. And then I was barred from the gym. I was not bothered about being in hospital. I was more bothered that I was barred from the gym.

[00:34:07]

That made me feel completely out of control. That is my six o'clock every morning, five k, get in the sauna, lose weight, feel good, go home. Five jelly babies. Cause I knew how many calories was in that. Yeah. And then repeat, it's like Groundhog Day.

[00:34:25]

First of all, you know, by the way, when I was at school and I moved from a regular local primary and I was sent by my parents aged about 10 or 11 to a fee paying prep school, I thought you may have got a fee paying school.

[00:34:38]

Yeah, it made me very anxious. It was no uniforms, scuffed shoes, just normal, rough and tumble to this school. That was almost like something from the 1930s. And I began talking differently because I didn't want to stick out. And I earned the nickname Posh Claude.

[00:34:55]

Oh, my God, you're posh clothes. And I'm snobby. Porter is that feeling of social anxiety. And it was odd because I was the least posh one there at that time anyway.

[00:35:04]

I guess I overdid the correct cut glass accent and also, I think worked too hard as well. I think that was part of the problem and people saw me as too much of a SWAT.

[00:35:14]

So what's striking as well is the way in which TV can be attractive to people with vulnerabilities. Right?

[00:35:21]

People who enter into reality shows are not always in the best of mental health. And there's this sort of question around how do we care for them?

[00:35:30]

There were two people on Long Island who committed suicide, committed suicide, not to mention Caroline Flack, the presenter who also committed suicide.

[00:35:40]

This is a long run up to my question, if there even is a question. I guess what strikes me is that very often creative people in TV or big personalities on TV or people who come across well on TV. Have ups and downs, you know, that there is some vulnerability there. Do you think that's true? I think it's true in every walk of life. But when you're on TV, people feel they've got the right to put it in papers or make it worse than it is and you end up reading about it.

[00:36:09]

I don't read tabloids or anything like that because I had my phone hacked. Who hacked your phone?

[00:36:14]

Not entirely sure are still going through all that, but I was very nervous of all my friends, which I now feel extremely guilty about because I was thinking, oh gosh, how did they know I was going to be there? How did this happen? How did that. So I was just thinking, oh, my friends, great. It's one of you not realizing that phone hacking was a thing. I had no idea. Stories don't bother me.

[00:36:34]

You can write what you like. I don't care anymore. But I didn't like the fact that I didn't trust my friends and I felt so guilty about that.

[00:36:40]

So that was the worst thing about the whole thing on that subject of, you know, I think you're right that there's people with mental health challenges in all walks of life. Right. But there's a unique set of exacerbated his or stressors that go along with being on TV and then having a profile and then being a tabloid plaything. In terms of your experience of TV and being a celebrity, to what extent was it healthy and fun and brilliant? And then to what extent was it the reverse?

[00:37:12]

Obviously there's a lot of people that work in television like you young presenters or I never met Caroline Flack, but she was popular. But her love life was in the papers stuff. We don't need to know about that she'd be private and to see it splashed across a paper. I know a lot of people say, well, you know what, you're in the media. So you kind of signed up for this. You sign up for being entertaining and being fun and being humorous or doing whatever you're doing you don't sign up for.

[00:37:42]

Yeah, that gives you access to my entire private life. And if I've had a break up or something bad's happened, it's nobody's business. When I signed up to be a kid's telly presenter, I just thought, you know, I'm just going to make people smile and be happy. And then suddenly the invasion is too much. They put me into Big Brother after I was really on, well, celebrity Big Brother. I was homeless and I was bankrupt.

[00:38:06]

And they put me into Big Brother because they knew I was desperate.

[00:38:10]

Well, let's recap for the listeners who aren't familiar with the story. We should try to sketch out the contours of what happened. You've been married, notwithstanding that you'd had some eating disorders. You still managed to get pregnant, which was wonderful. You had your child, honey, and then you had a break up. You got divorced.

[00:38:29]

Am I hitting the main points? Yeah. Yeah. In the background, there's this fluctuating level of mental health, would you say? Yeah, absolutely. And then over the course of ten or fifteen years, there are several very serious. What's the best way of putting it episodes? You know, you have a moment of seeming to want to do self harm. There's a suicide attempt.

[00:38:48]

I think I know what happened was I was suffering from insomnia on top of everything else. Sance slept for about two days and then I just kept taking paracetamol and I took some sleeping tablets. And then I found my ex-husband and I said, you know, I think I've ever done this. I don't want to die, but I just want to sleep. I just want to sleep on. My phone was hacked at that time. So by the time I got to Iani, it was already in the press that was hard.

[00:39:14]

So that was chalked up as a suicide attempt. You don't think it really was I worried about what's all this like? I just wanted to sleep. I was so exhausted and I had a headache and I was just tired and I was still going through just major depression and I couldn't figure out how to sleep. I felt like never ending being awake and I just wanted to sleep.

[00:39:32]

I've only read the first four or five chapters, maybe ten chapters of Laid Bare, the previous memoir. And on Amazon I got a sample free sample. Read all of that right now. I'll order the book and the page was the correct page, but there's a glitch.

[00:39:49]

And instead of getting laid bare the memoirs of Gail Porter, you get laid bare a semi pornographic bit of historical fiction about the Vikings.

[00:40:01]

I'd much rather you read that.

[00:40:03]

Did you read it?

[00:40:04]

I read the first two or three pages and there was no sex scene. And I thought, this is the worst pornography I've ever read. I love that.

[00:40:13]

And around this time, when you're dealing with mental health issues in a kind of more fullan way, your hair also falls out.

[00:40:20]

You don't know why I'm laughing. I just if you didn't have enough to deal with right. Is like, how do you like this? How about your hair starts coming out in chunks. It was like four weeks.

[00:40:32]

It was all gone. But I remember going home to my mum's in Edinburgh because I'd been working in America looking for dead people. It was a program called Dead Famous. So we were looking for Frank Sinatra in a graveyard in Las Vegas, looking for his ghost.

[00:40:47]

If we want to be strictly accurate. Yeah, I'm not actually going to dig him up. No, I then bits of my hair started falling out. My boyfriend was a cameraman. You say your hair's all falling, I was like, oh, it'll be fine, maybe it's hormonal or whatever. I get back to London, honey was totally cool. She was only two years old. She thought a little rock and roll. So we were fine with that.

[00:41:07]

But then I went up to Edinburgh to see my mum and I had a hat on and I took my hat off.

[00:41:12]

The first thing she said was, I told you, if you mess with the darkside, they will take your hair. I don't believe that she had said that to you.

[00:41:20]

She did. Or you went out there before I went out. She said, don't mess with the dark side. And then when I came back, she let you see the rest of the dark side. They took your hair.

[00:41:29]

My question was going to be, was it related to, do you think, stress or being bipolar or the breakdown of the marriage? But it turns out it was all blue eyes.

[00:41:39]

It was Frank Sinatra and Las Vegas, the chairman of the board himself.

[00:41:45]

I don't think he's got any previous on causing people's hair to fall out.

[00:41:48]

Well, like Marilyn Monroe had to wake. You were the sceptic on that format, weren't you? They were not. Yeah. The one who was sort of credulously saying that. You'd had a chill coming up your spine and you thought you heard Jim Morrison communicating with you.

[00:42:06]

You knew what Chris Fleming was our psychic and bless him, he got possessed every night, which is rather amazing. And it was always by famous people, for goodness sake. Why are you not getting possessed by Jim across the road in Texas? Why is it Marilyn Monroe or why is it Frank Sinatra? But you know what? It was great fun to make. There was a couple of times I was scared. I think Alcatraz was one of the funniest.

[00:42:31]

We slept there twice, five of us. I'm not going to say the right words.

[00:42:35]

It doesn't matter. We had Miriam Margolyes dropping bombs and. Oh, I love her.

[00:42:39]

I love her so much for she'll Arya's.

[00:42:42]

She was brilliant. She's no more brilliant than you are. You're winning all the time here.

[00:42:47]

Yes. So I'm sitting in solitary confinement in Alcatraz is by midnight, one o'clock in the morning and we had a psychic. She's next door to me and we're locked in and we've got our own cameras, you know, when you film yourself. So it's me, her. And then she's like, oh, my God, top of her voice. It's like, oh, my God, what's happening?

[00:43:08]

She's like, there's a man in my room. He wants to have sex with me. Not you, girl, just me. I was like, oh, whoa, why not me?

[00:43:19]

I was kind of like went from scared to go, oh my God, what's wrong with me? Is it because I'm bold?

[00:43:22]

It was a ghost man. No, it was it wasn't a real man.

[00:43:25]

No, no, no, not it's a ghost bad because we were on our own. We were locked in. I couldn't even get lead by a ghost. I couldn't believe it.

[00:43:34]

So I don't think that was ever shown on television. I think we had to cut.

[00:43:37]

I would say that was a little too risky for a family program. He's taking me to places I've never been before. Oh, God.

[00:43:45]

Oh, we went to go look for Jim Morrison. We'd all be sitting there and he's like, Jim, are you there? And then she go, not, you know, just me, everything. I was like, not even Jim Morrison.

[00:43:57]

Seriously, one of the strangest pieces of television I've ever seen was when June Sarpong presented a live seance in which Derek Acorah, the Liverpudlian psychic, got in touch with Michael Jackson from beyond the grave. It was live. And Derek Acorah.

[00:44:16]

He had a gravelly voice. I can't really do it.

[00:44:19]

He knew less about Michael Jackson than my granny did before she died, you know what I mean? Like, it was like he just read the Wikipedia notes, scan them five minutes before he came onto the set. So he was literally going, It's me, Michael.

[00:44:35]

I want to moonwalk. Yeah, I only want one glove, one glove. And then a few people who met Michael Jackson with fans getting in touch with Michael Jackson from beyond the grave. So Derek Acorah, as Michael Jackson says, I remember you.

[00:44:50]

We were in a car park and that was it.

[00:44:53]

That was his plausible detail that he remembered a car park.

[00:44:57]

There's one time we had seven psychics doing a live show. I was just like, I can't deal with this. It's like a psychic stand off the grid. No, spoke to me first. No, me first. No, he spoke to me first. Gail, not, you know, wants to sleep with you.

[00:45:11]

Well, it's just the way you doing that. I forgive me for never having seen that show. It sounds amazing. Dead famous. Did you continue making the series without that?

[00:45:20]

Yeah, that was the oddest thing I had. Do you remember the cigar out there when he's sitting in the photo booth and then he had that one flick of hair Hamlet.

[00:45:29]

Hamlet is a cigar called Hamlet.

[00:45:31]

I had that left. I went into the makeup lady boys and I said, you're going to have to do that.

[00:45:36]

We should clarify for the younger members. Sorry, there was an advert in which a man was trying to get his photo taken in one of those automatic photo booths, and he had one very carefully arranging his wispy comb over.

[00:45:48]

And just when he thought he had it, his stool collapsed and his hair flipped out of position. And then the camera went. It was a very funny advert.

[00:45:56]

So I asked her to just shave off. And I was panicking like crazy thinking I'm going to lose my job. So anyway, my director and the producer was extremely kind and he just said, you know what, put a hat on whatever makes you comfortable and we'll just deal with it. And they kept me on. If it wasn't for them, I think I wouldn't have had the confidence I did, too. When I came back to London, I thought, you know, if I can keep filming and working, then that's good.

[00:46:22]

So they were very kind to me, but there was a lot of other people that kind of did not want to use me for certain jobs. And then suddenly I was hailed as an expert on baldness, which I love the fact that I can help other people. But I just felt like everything I'd worked for and everything that I've studied. And I'm not stupid. Oh, you want me to talk about being bold?

[00:46:46]

Did you ever go through a wig phase? I've got a pink one.

[00:46:48]

I've got purple one. But that's for like quiz nights.

[00:46:52]

And so it's never felt like it would fit with you.

[00:46:55]

I don't like them. They're uncomfortable. Electable. If I had a weird shaped head, I might wait a week, but I don't like week. You've got a great head. Thanks. Let me be one of the many people who I'm sure told you that.

[00:47:07]

I don't know if you can see I've got we bump there. Yes, I can see it.

[00:47:10]

When I was born, that was where the forceps because they couldn't get me out. It pulled me. I only got it in there. And so when my mom saw me, apart from seeing a the dark side, she was like, oh, I see. Biscardi had to you were born. She was like, you are such an ugly visual with any scars across your head and you are totally yellow. Even remind me of how ugly I was when I was born.

[00:47:33]

Okay.

[00:47:34]

For parents are therefore to stop you getting to bigheaded. But assuming it wasn't Frank Sinatra, what tends to cause alopecia? Is it not well understood?

[00:47:46]

You know what? I don't know. I did a documentary for BBC as well about alopecia, and I went to so many different specialists all the way to say it was hormones. No one seemed to know it was. I stress I do get quite stressed and anxious, but so do lots of people.

[00:48:00]

But we don't all lose our hair. After I did the documentary, I didn't really care the right to give me drugs or take me treatments. And I was like, you know what? I'm done. I'm more than happy with the way that I am. And if people stare, then that's fine. No problem. Actually, Jinhua, I phoned my daughter before I came to speak to you and I said I have just put mascara on for the first time in years.

[00:48:21]

I've got a few lashes. Don't know where that came from.

[00:48:24]

I hadn't even thought about that because it's not just the hair on your head. It's your eyebrows and eyelashes too.

[00:48:30]

It's my entire body. I'm like a massive baby with boobs. That is quite the image.

[00:48:37]

The scary thing is if you Googled that, it would be fetish sites that probably are very lucrative as your wife from the neck down she goes.

[00:48:48]

If she did not have to shave or wax or anything. Oh, my God, that's the most amazing thing ever. The worst thing is the eyebrows and the eyelashes, because I felt a wee bit like someone to rub my face out. It's just a bold face with no expression.

[00:49:01]

It was very rare. It's so I think we're doing great.

[00:49:05]

How are you feeling? How's your energy? Yeah, I'm fine. I'm always fine. So you mentioned that you are not medicated, is that correct? No, no, I don't take anything.

[00:49:13]

Have you ever? Well, when I was sectioned, I was sections when I had a breakdown, they put me into a national health service just behind the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, which is now closed down. So basically, there was no doctors, nurses, and they put me in there because they thought I was I was very depressed and I had an ex-boyfriend at the time.

[00:49:36]

I flinch. I said I just need help. I need to speak to someone.

[00:49:39]

And he phoned the police and said, I'm worried that she might do something, which is was they were worried that you were a risk to yourself.

[00:49:46]

That's right. So instead of me being polite, I kind of like got a little bit angry and a little bit hostile. And then I think I sat in a room for about ten to twelve hours waiting for a doctor. And by the time the doctor turned up, he just said, How are you feeling? And I was a little bit rude.

[00:50:01]

So they just said, All right, we've got a section you for twenty eight days. So yes, when this section me, they just gave me pills. From the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed, I didn't question it, I just took it.

[00:50:13]

It's a weird thing being sectioned, isn't it. Not been. So I'd like to start that question.

[00:50:20]

Obviously, it's intended as a health intervention, but it's one of those weird situations in which they're saying, do you know what all that stuff about you being a free person and even though you haven't committed a crime, we're going to lock you up. And suddenly for twenty eight days, you're sort of this depersonalised person, right? You're a non-person.

[00:50:38]

Absolutely. So they took me in and gave me regulation pyjamas, took everything off my possessions. I didn't really have anything. No doctors, no nothing. There was a guard outside my room. I was put into the room and that was it.

[00:50:52]

The psychiatrist must have assessed you. Did someone see you and then say, OK, yeah, we can section her up to have made my diagnosis.

[00:50:59]

Yeah, there was a doctor that saw me and said, you're obviously in a bad place and they needed a family member to sign it to see they agreed. But obviously my mum was dead. My dad lived in Scotland and I was on my own. So my ex partner signed it on my family's behalf. And then I was taken in.

[00:51:17]

Your ex? No husband? No, no, no, no, no. Not a boyfriend.

[00:51:20]

I was saying at the time that seems unusual that a boyfriend or an ex boyfriend indeed.

[00:51:25]

Well, his ex after that. He was my boyfriend at the time. But yeah, after that he was definitely ex. He was a bit younger than me and I think he just couldn't deal with my ups and downs. So Amy, it all happened and I didn't see a doctor for.

[00:51:41]

A long time, and then there was assessment day and so day 15, I think it was, I got taken into a room and there was just a bunch of people sitting around a table with their notepads, and they just all went to ask me a few questions and then said, look, you can get your stuff together. Really sorry, you shouldn't have been here.

[00:52:01]

So war shouldn't have been here. So they said you shouldn't have been here. And then I just suddenly remember leaving and they gave me a bag of medication. They said, you're going to have to keep this because it's going to be difficult for you to come off it. And then I just remember walking into Marks and Spencers and I just was thinking, oh, my God, I can buy a sandwich. I didn't even really want a sandwich.

[00:52:23]

I was just looking around thinking, all these people know that I've been locked up for two weeks and just a bit. But yeah, it was very, very bizarre.

[00:52:31]

But during that time, your feeling was the psychoactive medication was not doing much for you.

[00:52:37]

I didn't want to take medication, but the boredom is just getting in. And there was two guys that thought they were Jesus. It was like a Jesus of every morning. No, I'm Jesus. No, I'm Jesus. So after, like, day one of not taking medication and two guys fighting over who was Jesus, I was like, just give me whatever you've got me. Whatever, I'll take it.

[00:52:56]

I'm done. Seriously? Yeah. I just didn't know what to do. Nobody to talk to me.

[00:53:01]

When I've done stories about forensic mental health in America, I met at least a couple of Jesus's and the Barack Obama and I'm not laughing.

[00:53:10]

I shouldn't laugh is when you actually in that situation and you think, oh my gosh, you actually do believe that you're Jesus, it's not an easy interview to have with someone who's in active psychosis thinking that they're Jesus. You just have to sort of change the subject. Really?

[00:53:27]

Yeah.

[00:53:27]

That was er they'd be having a little wee mini fight in the front room and I was going, OK, sandwich anywhere, anyone sandwich, a cup of tea, anybody told what to do and then we had no activities whatsoever.

[00:53:43]

There's nothing to do all day. I used to be on the telly box occasionally but there's one guy who used to come and if you saw the television on, he'd freak out because he didn't like the noise. So we had to switch off. There's one day we said we've got an activity planned for you all. And I was like, oh thank God, because if I wasn't mad before I got here, I'm getting madder by the day. And they said, right, we're going to do Batiuk.

[00:54:06]

I don't like are you serious, I will excel, farmer. We're all on drugs and you're going to give us hot wax to make a hot wax. That's right. Yeah, that's how I do.

[00:54:16]

Is the teak is hot wax a design making pretty patterns on fabrics with hot wax and paint, people with mental health problems. Everyone is burning themselves. And she's like, that wasn't the best idea. I was like boutique. You could have just given us crayons.

[00:54:33]

So when you were in, did that get in the papers? Oh, yeah.

[00:54:37]

They were there before I even got there. I didn't even know I was getting there. I like when they spin it, they make themselves feel less tawdry by spinning it as a positive, like brave Gail battles.

[00:54:50]

Yeah. Resurgent mental health issue or sad Gail. Oh yeah.

[00:54:54]

What I mean, I get a lot of sad Gail. Oh poor Gail as well. Poor Gail. I just I'm totally fine. You know, it's another chapter from a book I've just done Batiuk about yourself.

[00:55:05]

Harper's is solid material so.

[00:55:09]

Yeah exactly.

[00:55:10]

But you've always made the decision to be outspoken and up front about all these things that happen to you, right. Yeah. Is that a decision or is that just your natural disposition or a bit of both?

[00:55:22]

I think it's a bit of both. I'm not ashamed of anything. You know, we all make mistakes. I've had a few problems that many people do and some people don't talk about it. And I just think, you know, I'm not embarrassed. I'm not ashamed is what it is. And I'm quite happy in my own self.

[00:55:39]

You know, I think times have changed a bit and people are more open and outspoken about mental health issues, which is a good thing. Do you think they've changed you? Have you noticed a change?

[00:55:48]

I've noticed a change. I mean, obviously, everything can always get better. But, you know, in the end, Youlden, days and weeks ago, people used to stop me and chat and said, you know, I've had this, I've had that, or they'll talk to me on social media. As I always say, I can't help you, but it's nicer. I'll get a message saying thank you for listening to my chat. And I feel that more people think, you know, what's completely normal for people to not feel great and you're not on your own.

[00:56:14]

There's so many people that probably are sitting out there thinking, oh, my gosh, it's just me, it's just me. So I think the more we talk, I do think it's getting better. I'm still kind of a bit anxious about the whole medicating people. After twenty minutes of meeting, when you go to a doctor, do something very kind of things. People go for a run, go for a walk, even if you don't want to just go outside, get some fresh air, speak to someone.

[00:56:37]

I was going to ask that some people crusade against the pharmacological route, you know, and feel as though actually medication is actively harmful. I'm not hearing you say that, but you feel like you're sceptical up to a point.

[00:56:52]

Yes, definitely. I've got friends that are on medication and it works for them personally. I've done it. I've tried it when I was in that place and I did try it before then as well.

[00:57:03]

You can do both. And if you do want to come off meds, make sure you get advice from who gave you the medication. You can't just come off meds. But for me personally, I like exercising. I'm not a medication girl. I do. You take cod liver oil because apparently it's good for your hair.

[00:57:17]

It's still not keeping your routine good sleep. I think sleep is that to me, sounded like I think I'm an expert or like I'm doing daytime TV, a good night's sleep.

[00:57:30]

I've got terrible sleep. But when I have a good night's sleep or what difference it makes, I've been trying all sorts herbal teas.

[00:57:37]

And what about alcohol? A glass of red wine used to knock me out quite quickly.

[00:57:42]

It'll take more than that to knock me out.

[00:57:44]

Night nurse is not a good idea. I don't see that radio for getting a mixed message.

[00:57:49]

You wet night nurse is not a good idea. It's not.

[00:57:52]

But when I had the flu or that virus or whatever it was I had, I did take night nurse one night and I slept. So I did take it for medicinal reasons.

[00:57:59]

What about like three glasses of red wine, some night nurse and a spliff?

[00:58:06]

Is that what you do? Every night is not a good idea. See, I made it OK. It sounded bad and then I made it responsible. Is not a good idea. Not a good idea at all. Don't ask me why.

[00:58:16]

I know I'm going to interview you next time.

[00:58:20]

Next time you're going to interview me. So what does the rest of today hold for you, Gail?

[00:58:24]

Vesti is I'm going to keep writing because the book I don't have a publisher yet. I did have a publisher, but then they all went a bit wrong.

[00:58:32]

You know, the book is listed on Amazon. It says paperback coming June something.

[00:58:36]

I saw that as well. And it's a picture of my first ever book that was done in the nineties. So I don't know who's doing that.

[00:58:43]

But that's not me, really. Do you have a title? No, I don't have one.

[00:58:47]

So if you've got any ideas, I would say don't make it a pun on her lost. So to boldly go, I would say not that I was just going to call it Gail.

[00:59:00]

I wish you luck with it because writing is hard. Thank you so much for spending this time with. You it's go and get my dad again. Yes, we did say we were going to get your dad, didn't we? What was his name?

[00:59:12]

Greg Craig. What was his line of work? He was a building contractor. Sorry, can you hear me? It was a building contractor.

[00:59:21]

Chopper, a chopper and chopper apparently is a transliteration or version of Jaffa, the city in Israel. There is. That's a nice box. Nice, isn't it? Should be pretty nice. It cost me a fortune.

[00:59:34]

When you said box, I envisioned like a shoe box. I don't know why. Now it's a little mini coffin. Is that walnut or what kind of wood is that? I don't know.

[00:59:43]

They spoke Spanish and I don't speak Spanish. So I just just gave them the cash and said, I want that one. Well, that one, it looks quite heavy.

[00:59:49]

Is quite heavy. Yeah, I.

[00:59:52]

So do I say nice to meet Craig's acquaintance. So sorry it couldn't have been in life but but no. Would you not.

[00:59:59]

He'd be quite chuffed with this because he had a great sense of humor. He said hi, alibi for Eddie.

[01:00:05]

Thank you so much for asking me. I'm really delighted to see you've made my day. Oh please. Thank you for being candid and understanding as you are. You've been listening to Grounded with Louis through. My guest today has been a TV presenter and mental health campaigner, Gail Porter. Next week in the last of the current series, it's the turn of Hollywood actor, comedian and writer Dowd. Of course, there are many more conversations in the series.

[01:00:32]

Just search for Grounded with Louis through wherever you get your podcasts and subscribe. This has been a mind house production for BBC Radio four, put together remotely by Catherine Mannan and Paul Kobrick.

[01:00:54]

Hi, I'm Catherine Balash, and I'm Sarah Keyworth, we're comedians separately and a couple together with a host of You'll Do the podcast that gives you a little insight into perfectly imperfect love. Yeah, forget Nixon with this one and hashtag couples goals. We want to know the whys and has of sticking with the people we love and asking a few of the questions that are meant to help us develop intimacy. So why not give it to listen and subscribe to Yielder on BBC sounds?