FHM – Air Time


FHM Magazine
Issue No. 125, June 2000

The jewel in Tyneside's crown is never off our screens at the moment. Not that we're complaining when she looks as fine as this...

Considering that, armed with only a small family saloon, you can traverse the entire length of Great Britain in less than 10 hours, there's a phenomenal amount of regional colloquialism. Inhabitants of Manchester scoff at the Yorkshire accent, cockneys have invented a turn of phrase that is frankly laughable, and you can tell a Somerset dairy farmer purely by his snore.

Fully tweaked with Geordie, the delectable Donna Air's accent may have proved invaluable in her early years on Byker Grove, but when it came to playing a Dutch backpacker in the 1998 rocker's road movie Still Crazy, only the extraordinary powers of a dialect coach were trusted to prevent her character sounding as if she had spent a month on a West London kebab house tour with Paul Gascoigne. Not surprisingly, it was an unmitigated disaster. "The thing was, I had this idea of what a Dutch accent should sound like," she laughs, "and then the coach completely threw me, and to top it all off, the scene was with Jimmy Nail!"

Language barriers aside, it's worth remembering the curvy Tynesider started out in Nissan adverts at the age of two, and can boast chart success with girl pop duo Crush. Today she presents MTV Select - "Sometimes you're not sure what the blokes are doing on the other end of the line, but the guys upstairs make a few suggestions down my earpiece," - and she has gently muscled out Gail Porter for the celebrity interviewer spot on The Big Breakfast. Not bad for a lass still a tender 20 years of age...

The joy of youth generally manifests itself in the ludicrous world of fashion. Have you ever turned up for work and been told to go home and get changed?

Oh yes. I had this really long, floaty dress which made me look like a hippy, and I thought I looked fab. The guys at MTV took one look at it and said, "No." But I change my style all the time and I have worn some hideous stuff. I'll look at something that I wore two weeks ago and think, "Oh my God! Why?" I've even thought about getting a tattoo, but it's always the same old excuse: a big picture on my arm won't look very good when I do a period drama...

Perhaps a pierced otter's nose then?

There is no chance of me getting a nipple done. I'm a real scaredy cat when it comes to piercing. I had one ear done when I was about three, and then ran around the shop refusing to let them do the other one.

You've got All Saints' feisty Natalie Appleton as your neighbour. Do you ever have to take a broom to the walls in order to get her to keep the noise down?

Ha, no. We don't live that close to each other, but she is my best friend. We're thinking of getting a little pad in the city, very handy for a late night drink, cup of sugar, pint of milk...

Christ, you'll start to see the paparazzi camping out in the hedge.

Well, I've found them outside the house on many occasions already. They ring the doorbell and ask for an interview. What do they think I'm going to say? "Oh yeah, come up and have a glass of wine, I'll tell you all about it."

Probably. So who's the rudest celebrity you've met?

Pras from the Fugees, he was very rude. The only thing he said to me was, "What's your name again?" But I won't have anyone talking to me as if I'm rubbish, I just put them in their place. We all get tired, we all get pissed off, but at the end of the day we all have a job to do, so tough luck. But they're not all bad. I've had a few tequilas with Kylie, and she was better than I thought, mainly because she can really take her drink. I don't know if I could out-drink her, but people really underestimate us little people, we can't half keep the drink down.

Our sex survey last year said that most women felt that four days was the minimum time period to wait before having sex with a man. Surely that's rubbish...

That's acceptable. You want different things from different people. It could be four days, it could be four minutes, it just depends on how you click.

Have you ever helped that "click" along by stepping out "commando"?

Not in a skirt. Actually, you know what? Men never buy me underwear. I'd like that, and it can be anything he likes, so long as it's nice and expensive. I like a pair of knickers rather than a G-string, and before you ask, I don't have a pair of lucky pants.

Right, on an ingenious twist of "Who D'ya Do?" you can either have Brad Pitt with a gangrenous member, or Eddie Irvine with no eyes?

Oh that's nice, that's really lovely to hear. Erm, Irvine? He's the racing driver isn't he? It's going to be Brad Pitt, and you'll just have to use your imagination because I'm not going anywhere near his dick.

Finally, drummers are notorious for playing inane beats on anything that comes to hand. Could your ex-drummer boyfriend knock out a decent tune on your butt-cheeks?

Erm, he was very good on a ketchup bottle.