7th MAY 2020 - Page 26

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
From classical
music to keeping
up her Strictly
fitness, BBC
Proms presenter
Katie Derham
talks to Gabrielle
Fagan about
her approach to
keeping well
Caption style to go ini n this space Caption style to go ini n this space Caption style to go ini n this space
Conducting life…
HE found fame as one of
the UK’s youngest ever
newsreaders - being
signed up to front the
ITV news at the tender
age of 27 - but music
broadcasting is how Katie Derham
has really made her mark.
Now, Derham - a cornerstone of
classical music radio and TV, as the
face of the BBC Proms series (she
also presents Radio 3’s Afternoon
On 3 programme and has a string
of arts documentaries under her
belt) - has written the foreword to
the newly-published The Classical
Music Book.
“[It] reveals the fascinating
background and stories about
pieces and composers,” explains
Derham, who has two daughters Natasha, 18, and Eleanor, 14 - with
husband John Vincent, co-founder
of Leon, the healthy fast-food
restaurant chain.
“I hope a book like that helps
break down the barrier to classical
music. People don’t realise it’s all
around us. It’s often the basis for
pop songs, film scores, and sound
tracks for computer games,” adds
the presenter, who reached the final
of Strictly Come Dancing with dance
partner Anton du Beke in 2015.
Here, Derham, 48, tells us more
about her passion for music,
keeping fit post-Strictly, and coping
with the shadow of dementia...
What does music mean to you?
“Music has a certain magic. It can
transport us to a different world,
drive us to dance, or remind us of
lost loved ones. A single chord can
make you cry - I weep over some
pieces - and get rid of all those
emotions that might have been
building up.
“I use music to wake me up and
get me going in the morning, to help
me switch off, relax, and definitely
to take me to other places. I play
violin and piano and perform with
my local orchestra, and accompany
my daughters on the piano as
they’re studying singing. One of
the best ways of getting rid of the
rubbish of the day is to open your
mouth and sing a song. I think
music’s all powerful, really.”
What’s it like presenting the BBC
Proms series?
“It’s a dream job. I love talking
about music and, as it’s live, it
keeps me on my toes and the
adrenaline pumping. That sort of
broadcasting is a combination of
being spontaneous, busking it on
occasions, and having loads of
research and background material
in your head to draw on.”
You’ve got an image of being
rather prim, proper and
controlled. Is that accurate?
“No, not at all! Sometimes I
don’t recognise myself from those
descriptions. I was a newsreader
for a long time, so I’m not exactly
surprised people may have the
view, ‘she’s very serious’, because
it wouldn’t have been appropriate
to crack gags or be too perky and
“In truth, I dislike talking about
myself, and I can’t tell people what
to write about me. I’d describe
myself as laid-back and positive
and, I confess, with a competitive
streak, as anyone who’s played
Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit with me
will know!”
How important is your husband,
John to your happiness?
“We’ve been married 24 years. It’s
crucial to us that we keep a balance
in our lives and make time for each
other. We both support each other
hugely. I’ve just come back from
America, where he’s opened his first
Leon restaurant in Washington DC,
and he’s my biggest supporter in the
work I do.
“For sentimental reasons, I kept
the dress I wore when I first met him
while he was at university. It was
a tunic dress from Topshop, like a
glorified flower print sack. Natasha
discovered it the other day and wore
it all summer. I must confess, it was
a bit weird for John and I to see her
in it.”
How do you look after your health?
“Taking part in Strictly Come
Dancing was like going on an
enforced fitness regime, and I’ve
tried to keep that level of fitness
going. It was amazing to win last
year’s Strictly Come Dancing
Taking part in Strictly Come Dancing was
like going on an enforced fitness regime,
and I’ve tried to keep that level of fitness
going. I run a couple of times a week, and
have phases of doing yoga
Christmas Special. John’s keen for us
to find the time for dancing lessons,
so we can enjoy it together.
“I run a couple of times a week,
and have phases of doing yoga. Over
the last couple of years, a gluten-free
diet has helped my skin.
“I’m very much of the view that, as
women, we ought to chill our boots
and not worry so much about the
pressure we’re put under to look
a certain way. I believe it’s about
moderation in all things - eating
healthily, getting enough sleep,
avoiding smoking and not drinking
too much. Being happy with yourself
and enjoying life is the best way of
looking well.
“Of course, there are some days
when I look in the mirror and wish
things were different, but I feel no
different from when I was 26. I’m
pretty much the same person as I
was before I had children, but better
off for having them. My daughters
are a constant source of hilarity
and a delight, even though they
constantly borrow my clothes and
How do you look after your
“Massage is something that
ought to be available on the NHS
for everyone, because it’s so good
at relieving stress and sorting out
aches and pains.
“We live in Haywards Heath and
just being surrounded by green
fields and trees and gardening makes
you forget about an awful lot of
the nonsense in daily life. Simple
pleasures make me happy: Time with
the family, seeing friends, a glass of
wine, a good box-set or an absorbing
What was the worst time of your
“When my mother, Margaret died
of early-onset dementia (she was
diagnosed aged 56 and died aged
61). Do I wake up in the middle of the
night worrying about (developing)
it? No, that’s not the way to live your
life. After all, I could get knocked
down by a bus tomorrow. Who
knows what’s around the corner?
But it’s not an end that anybody
would choose.
“I do as much as I can to support
charities researching Alzheimer’s
and dementia, keep myself fit,
and do cognitive things to keep
my brain working, as well as
taking supplements. It’s all good,
sensible, lifestyle stuff which seems
appropriate to help stave off the
chances of developing it.”
Would you ever take part in
another reality show?
“I learnt to conduct in BBC’s
Maestro competition in 2008, relearned the violin in 2010 for First
Love for Sky Arts, and of course
Strictly, but I think that’s my limit.
I’m not a very good cook and you
wouldn’t catch me going anywhere
near the jungle for I’m A Celebrity...
Kangaroo testicles don’t massively
appeal to me as a dish!”
n The
Music Book
with foreword
by Katie
Derham, is
published by
DK, priced
Available now.
THESE are made by rolling buttery
mash in egg and breadcrumbs
and shallow-frying. Some
croquettes are as high in fat as
chips — and mashed potato has
a high GI, meaning it can cause
unhealthy spikes in blood sugar.
A serving of three Aunt Bessie’s
croquettes has 242 calories and
contains 20 per cent of your daily
salt limit.
THANKS to the dressing, this
isn’t always waistlinefriendly — but eating
potatoes cold
is good, as
the starch
harder to
digest. This
fibre, which
feeds good
and slows
the release
of sugar. For a
healthier dressing, mix
equal amounts of lower-fat mayo
with natural yoghurt, plus spring
onions and dill.
NEW potatoes, especially
the waxy sort, have a low GI
compared with other types, so
they release sugar more slowly,
helping to curb hunger and
stabilise energy levels. A 160g
serving (about four potatoes) has
just 102 calories and a tenth of
your daily fibre, plus a sixth of
your folic acid, which helps fight
fatigue. Steam or boil.
WE REVEAL the ingredients in
everyday products. This week:
Dioralyte Blackcurrant
Sodium Chloride: The chemical
name for salt, this is used to
replace the salt lost as a result of
fluid loss through diarrhoea. Salt
is an electrolyte, which conducts
electrical impulses in the body,
and is essential for vital functions
including muscle contraction.
Potassium Chloride: Another salt,
this replenishes the electrolyte
potassium, which the body
needs for nutrient flow and blood
Glucose: The body uses glucose
for energy. In rehydration sachets
it aids the absorption of water and
electrolytes through the intestines.
Disodium Hydrogen Citrate:
A salt that makes urine more
alkaline; if your urine is too acidic,
as can happen after a bout of
diarrhoea, it can encourage
bacterial growth, which may lead
to urinary tract infections.
Silicon Dioxide: An anti-caking
agent to stop the powder sticking
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