Mother, presenter and proud northerner Sara Cox has been a voice in our ears since the glory days of ‘Ladette’ television when she hosted Channel Four’s The Girlie Show.
Nowadays she’s a mother-of-three, is a regular on both BBC Radio 1 and 2 and keeps us all entertained with her fantastically overactive imagination.
Speaking as she promotes Heinz’s new campaign to send personalised soup to those feel under the weather, she had me howling when we talked One Direction, Grimmy and why she’s coming around to the idea of getting married again.
Hello Sara, how you doing?
Hiya love, I’m OK. I’ve got a twitchy eye thing today and went to get checked to make sure it’s not connected to my brain. It’s connected to being tired or stress. It goes like the clappers when I’m all stressed out.
Tell me about this Heinz campaign to begin with…
It’s the Heinz Gate world food campaign and you go on and if you know someone who’s a bit under the weather you can send them a personalised can of soup. And it says get well soon on the soup tin too. They opened it up as they are covered in their own snot and tissues. It’s the third time they’ve done it but it’s done this time with the Starlight Foundation. They donate money to Starlight to entertain children and people in children’s wards.
Do you cook at home then?
Yes of course. Don’t even get me started. I’ve got a slow cooker these days and I’m addicted to it. I do like making a soup actually. From scratch. I knock up a mean broth. I make ham shank broth in a massive pan big enough to bath a three-year-old child in – it’s huge. Then nobody else eats it so I freeze it all and a few months later chuck it away. I think it’s therapeutic to make. Soup’s the most comforting food out there.
Are you on the baking bandwagon too?
Nope. I’ve not got a sweet tooth really. I’d much prefer to get some soup over a muffin when I’m ill.
Your eldest daughter Lola is eight now – it seems like only yesterday you were pregnant with her – do you feel mature enough to have an eight-year-old?
It’s madness. I still have that thing of dealing with school stuff or ‘grown up stuff’ and sometimes I feel way to young and you sometimes worry you’re not grown up enough to act like a mum. But I obviously am. Lola’s wicked. She’s got a really fruitful imagination and very dramatic. She’s funny.
As fruitful as yours?
All three of my children are very different and ace in their own way. Lola’s especially like me. On Halloween we went to a neighbour’s house party and she had this amazing outfit where she was a billionaire’s widow where the man of the house had died under suspicious circumstances. We came up with the idea together but then she took it a step further. She’s got this amazing imagination.
How do you reflect on The Girlie Show days – are you proud of it?
The Girlie Show days are amazing. I can’t bear it when people try to distance themselves from where they started. I’m proud of it. I look back on modelling and The Girlie Show and I can’t be snobby. It was post pub rock TV. I made it because of that. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now without having started at The Girlie Show.
You seem to be coming to the end of your run with Radio One naturally – are you hoping Radio Two will be your new home at some point?
I keep doing more and more flirting with R2. Whenever I’m on R2 I keep sneaking in and it’s like flashing your leg…and I’m loving it. I’m covering for Fearne Cotton on her maternity leave and I was really chuffed to be asked. It’s great for me because I need a new roof on me house. Ha.
I’ll probably end my time at R1 soon. I don’t want to talk myself out of a job here, but it’ll be in a natural end at some point. If I go out on the high of doing Fearne’s show for a big chunk of time I’d be happy. I’m pleased to be asked and she’s not got some young upstart going after her job. She’s got one of her mates doing it. It’s a brilliant show, loads of live music and lots of Live Lounges and that’s exciting.
Will you have to rein in the crazy imagination for Radio Two?
No. I don’t change the way I am for R2. I love it because you’re still yourself but maybe it’s just a bit like you’ve got your in-laws at the table. That’s what I’m like. It’s like you’ve been joined by your dad-in-law. I’m still 100 per cent me. I love the music on R1 and on R2. There’s a good crossover with the music policy. I love them both but they’re very different – like my children. R2′s the place where I think I’ll settle, hopefully.
How do you think Nick Grimshaw is settling into his role hosting the breakfast show?
Grimmy’s doing really well. It’s a different show, it really is, but I think it needed to be. Chris is a really good friend and he did a great job. When he took over from me I was like, ‘time for him to put his money where his big mouth is’ and he proved himself and did it for eight years, brilliantly. We ended up becoming really good friends.
With Grimmy he’s got a gorgeous turn of phrase and he’s a lovely storyteller. People tweet me saying he’s like the male version of me and I believe them. I think I taught Grimmy everything he knows. Not really. I just think he’s a very honest broadcaster and what you’re hearing is just how he is. He’s different from Chris but all breakfast presenters have to be able to tell a tale and he does that well.
It’s a very new sounding show…
It’s great having amazing music on – new music. And now I think it sounds really fresh, young and relevant.
What’s your take on R1 not playlisting Robbie Williams new track Candy?
I don’t know about this Robbie stance and all this beef. I did play this on my Sunday show because it was in the chart. It’s always a balancing act – Radio One ask their listeners what they want to hear and they get feedback. They wouldn’t have just done it for no reason. There’s no musical God sitting there making decisions. I like Robbie, bless him. That song is annoyingly catchy so good luck to him.
Are you still in touch with your old mucker Zoe Ball?
With Zoe we text but we are both useless at it. I saw her dad Johnny at a premiere the other night and he sneaked into a VVIP section and that was hilarious. I last saw her when I was on R2 and handing over to her. I don’t see her often but if ever I was washed up in a little dinghy on Brighton beach then I know she’d be there for me.
Moving on to home life – are you and your boyfriend Ben Cyzer going to have anymore children?
No I think we’re done. But if ever I ovulate and have another then so be it. Jo Whiley’s a miracle woman when it comes to being a mother. She’s got proper Jennifer Aniston arms too. She just pops babies out willy nilly and then gets on with it. The reason I actually think we’re done is because we need a new roof more than we need a new baby.
You’re not married yet – despite being together for years – will you ever marry?
Marriage is one of those things I used to say was like pot holing. You know, I tried it once but I wasn’t very good at it. But Ben is so keen and very lovely. I like having a boyfriend. It would be nice for the kids. And you know me I love a bit of a buffet and a disco. Obviously he’s desperate to do it and a diamond would be nice but I’m pretty chilled about it. Ben’s absolutely the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m not saying never.
Moving on – how do you stay in shape these days?
I’m still doing body combat and a bit of pilates from time to time. I’ve worked out with Ben a couple of times with a personal trainer and that’s hilarious – it reminds me of a montage in a romantic comedy where I’m Jennifer Aniston and he’s Ben Stiller. My working out is not for skinniness at all. I’m a farmer’s daughter and I’ve still got to be able to wrestle a bull to the floor at a moment’s notice. And it gets me away from the kids for an hour too.
Quick fire round. Are we bored of Rihanna?
No – we’re not bored of Rihanna but I’m bored of her twitter pics. Alright love, you look great stop shouting about it.
Should Madonna start covering up?
Oh no, she can get whatever bits out she wants. She’s Madonna for God’s sake. I like her.
Are One Direction overrated?
Erm, no. I personally love them. Harry pointed at me at his gig recently and I had my kids with me and and I screamed so much my contact lenses nearly popped out.
Sara’s supporting the Heinz ‘Get Well’ Soup campaign, in association with Starlight. Find out how you can help to provide entertainment to children’s hospital wards across the UK by visiting the Heinz Soup UK Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HeinzSoupUK