Dial M for…Brian Dowling
SM:TV presenter Brian Dowling charmed his way into the spotlight and the nation’s hearts when he won Big Brother in 2001. Now he’s got his own 13-week series on ITV1 – Brian’s Boyfriends, a makeover show which kicked off last Tuesday. We gave him a bell.
Us: What time did you get up?
Brian: I had my alarm set for 11, because I had the gym at noon but woke up at quarter to 9. I’ve been working so hard; I went for a nap in the afternoon on the sofa, watching TV. I slept for 14 hours yesterday! How boring is that?
Us: Who was the first person you talked to?
Brian: My friend Chris, whose been staying for the weekend. I don’t have a partner right now, unfortunately. The last time I was in a relationship was two years ago. We were on and off through the whole Big Brother thing but he left the country a year ago. I do enjoy being single, but I still get lonely on Sundays.
Us: Where are you right now?
Brian: In the living room in my flat in Clapham in London. I’m actually pacing up and down as we speak. I’ve got three bay windows, pine floors and a Victorian fireplace with a big square mirror above. It’s my relaxing room. I can always go round here looking like shit and no one knows.
Us: What are you wearing?
Brian: I’m just back from the gym, so a white Gap T-shirt and a pair of French Connection shorts, blue with red and white stripes. The feet are bare and very clean. Of course! I have a manicure and a pedicure every three weeks. I hate nails! If I’m looking at men, I always check for clean fingernails. There’s just no excuse for dirty fingernails.
Us: When were you last drunk?
Brian: Saturday. I was in Soho with some friends. I was drinking Black Smirnoff Ice for the whole night. I think I had about eight. I was anybody’s at that stage. They’re like alcopops, but stronger because it’s Smirnoff Black. They have a kind of fruity feel, and go down like lemonade. But they don’t come up like lemonade. Let’s put it that way.
Us: When did you last have a good snog?
Brian: Ages ago, we’re talking last November. It was with my ex in Sydney – could he move further away! I’ve had one or two dates since, but nothing major. Of course I’d like to be with somebody but I’m pathetically fussy. I’m not really into good looks, I go for personality, someone you can trust.
Us: When did you last cry?
Brian: I’m very emotional. I cry at movies. My favourites are The Bodyguard and Titanic, a bit sad really. So it was watching Sex And The City. I’ve got the boxed set. And when Miranda’s mother died, Samantha couldn’t cry. Then when Samantha cried, I cried.
Us: What are you going to do when you hang up?
Brian: Grab a crisp sandwich – salt ‘n’ vinegar on brown bread with butter – then have a shower. To be honest I couldn’t be any luckier in what I’m doing. I have to pinch myself sometimes. Big Brother gave me the opportunity, but now I can do the job. I think, ‘Ooh goodness, will it last?’ I’m just going to go with the flow and see.
Us: Describe yourself in no more than five words.
Brian: Loud, fun, spoiled, hard-working, honest.
Us: Which part of your body does you most like/dislike?
Brian: I like my teeth – I don’t smoke, or drink coffee. But damn my stomach! I go to the gym and it’s the only bit not changing.
Us: Are you a dog or cat person?
Brian: Dog, I absolutely hate cats! They’re horrible, the way they go, ‘Wasssor!’ And they always challenge me somehow.
Us: What would your specialist subject on Mastermind be?
Brian: Celebrity Gossip.
Us: How do you like your potatoes done?
Brian: Mashed with butter and salt, ready-made from Marks & Spencer. We’re loving them.
Us: Graham Norton or Julian Clary?
Brian: Graham, he’s fantastic. He’s much funnier and he’s worked so hard. And there’s the Irish connection.
Us: What keeps you awake?
Brian: Friday nights before doing SM:TV live the next day – my script is going round and round in my head. And I couldn’t sleep at all the night before I interviewed Jennifer Lopez. But she was amazing.