Steph McGovern: ‘My most embarrassing moment? Pulling up my tights in front of 1,000 people’ | Television

Born in Middlesbrough, Steph McGovern, 38, won an engineering scholarship at school and gained a degree in science communication and policy at University College London. After eight years as the main business reporter on BBC Breakfast, she moved to Channel 4, where she presents Steph’s Packed Lunch. She lives in Harrogate with her partner and daughter.

When were you happiest?
At the beginning of lockdown; it was just me and my new baby and my partner in the house. It was lovely.

What is your earliest memory?
At nursery, when I pooed myself in a soft play box. I was devastated.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
I was on stage, hosting a conference in London. I’d just bought some new posh tights and the lady had convinced me to buy medium, and I am clearly a large. They rolled to my knees and I had to pull them up in front of 1,000 people.

Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A poster for The Godfather, my favourite film, signed by Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and everyone. I got drunk at a children’s charity auction and started buying everything!

What is your most treasured possession?
My phone.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My pot belly.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Victoria Wood.

Is it better to give or to receive?
To give. I hate opening presents in front of people, it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Jennifer Saunders.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Scratching my ears.

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What is your favourite smell?
My daughter.

What do you owe your parents?
The deposit for my first house.

What does love feel like?
Scary, because when you really love, it means that you are really scared of losing it as well.

What is the worst job you’ve done?
I used to be an ear-piercing specialist when I was 16, and had to pierce babies’ ears. It was horrendous. I had to practise on my friends – several have misplaced piercings.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Some famous people. I am not giving you names.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
On BBC Breakfast, I accidentally said “fuck” on air. My microphone had been turned on when I wasn’t in the room. It went out across the telly and they had to apologise.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Falling off what we in Middlesbrough call a “tarzy”, a bungee rope. I was swinging on it, fell and broke my arm.

What keeps you awake at night?
My baby.

How would you like to be remembered?
As a good friend.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Authenticity is key to doing well in life.


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