More than 35 years after bursting onto our screens as a Countdown brainbox, Carol Vorderman shows no signs of slowing down as she prepares to host The Pride of Britain Awards for the 19th year running.
In fact when we sit down with Carol, 57, she admits to being in a constant “pursuit of knowledge.”
But that’s not to say she doesn’t know how to have fun: Carol – twice named Rear of the Year – insists she’s happier than ever, something she attrributes to hanging out with her daughter (who’s studying at Cambridge) and putting her life before work.
“I reached 50, had taken up flying and realised it changed my life, and made me realise I have so much I need to do in my next 50 years. I’m not dead yet! So if I’m going to do that, I want to be as healthy and fit as I can. Obviously I can’t be as fit as I was in my 20s, 30s, or even my 40s, but I can be the best version of me at my age.”
“I appreciate things more now than I ever have. I just enjoy it now. I like living at the age I am now. When I was really, really busy – like Holly Willoughby is now – like off-the-scale busy, on every programme I could be on, working six or seven long days a week, I was obviously earning a lot of money – and that’s great. But it was almost like I was just ticking off a list.”
“I have a fellow’s flat at Trinity College in Cambridge now, and that’s kind of where I live. It’s a pied-à-terre. Cambridge is perfect, and I do get to see my daughter Katie – who’s doing a PhD in nanotechnology at Cambridge – lots now, it’s fantastic. On Friday night, I was out with my daughter and three Cambridge scientists in a bar, and they were teaching me how to do the floss dance!”
“I do a lot of selfies for fans. I’m sure by Christmas that I’ll be fed up of it. I don’t know what’s happened, but all sorts of different people ask me for a selfie!”
“The Pride of Britain Awards are very special in my heart. Last year’s was the most heart-breaking and raw. We’d had so many terrible things happen – London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Manchester bombings, Grenfell, and they were all recognised. That that was just heart-rending, because it was so fresh, and significant showing how people come together and bring out the best – if there is a best – in a tragedy of that scale, and recognise those who suffered and those who tried to help.”
“I’m fine with how I look, nobody’s perfect. There are people who are supermodels who are very insecure and there are people who aren’t supermodels who are also very insecure. It’s about what goes on in your head really and it’s not the most important thing for me. My health is more important because I want to learn more, fly more, meet more amazing people who can educate me further, I want to fly into space.”
“I think it’s such a pity that so much emphasis is placed on looks, because surely there’s more to someone than how they look. If it’s only about how we look then most of us are on our way to hell. And the things that please me more than anything are the pursuit of knowledge, volunteering I do – about 40 days a year now – appreciating every day, I wake up every day with a big smile on my face, looking forward to what’s ahead because it’s exciting. It might be hard work and I might be shattered but I just enjoy things more now than I ever have, so I love that.”
“Top of my bucket list? Going into space. I’m trying to persuade my friends who are building the first commercial space station to go up in 2022. I keep saying: ‘I’ll buy you dinner if I can go into space.’ I’ll get there one day!”
“I couldn’t be happier than I am right now. I don’t know if you’ve ever been so happy you think, ’Just take me now, stop it all now because I couldn’t be happier.’ Obviously I wouldn’t actually want to die, but if I could choose a moment, I’m that happy.”
The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, will be broadcast on ITV on 6 November at 8pm