My kind of day - Michael Aspel
Radio Times
2 March 1991
Radio Times: Michael Aspel article Radio Times: Michael Aspel article
Music, maestro: 'After dinner, Elizabeth will sometimes play the piano, with me making strange singing sounds'
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My kind of day - Michael Aspel

I live in a typical bit of stockbroker's Tudor down the A3 in Surrey with my wife Elizabeth (actress Lizzie Power) and our two sons, Patrick and Daniel, who are 10 and 6, and a dog called Cressie, who is also 10. Every day starts exactly the same, with Daniel coming in increasingly early – often around 6am – flinging an arm around my neck and discussing his latest video game. And that is followed by Patrick, who has cerebral palsy so doesn't walk but comes in cheerfully and, one way or another, we have a pretty full bed for about half an hour or so.

Elizabeth gets up and prepares Patrick for school and I help get breakfast ready, make sure that Daniel is separated from his game for long enough to get dressed, and then do the washing-up. I am the great clearer-up, deriving great satisfaction from seeing things come back to normal. My wife and I are complete opposites. She is untidy and I am obsessively, neurotically and irritatingly tidy. She had a letter next to her bed and I tidied around it for 18 months, determined not to crack, before I finally demanded to know whether she was ever going to open it!

For breakfast the boys line up those miniature boxes of cereals and argue about who is going to have which one but for myself it is just a plum or pear or whatever fruit is available. Whenever I'm not required to be in London for broadcasting, I do my work in the dining room at home and that's where I go as soon as Daniel has gone to school. There's always a large amount of mail to get through and the wife of a neighbour comes in from time to time to give me a hand.

On other days, if the weather is good, I will go and meet a friend for an hour's golf. There's an astonishing little estate of houses nearby which has its own nine-hole golf course, and it's a very good place to learn because there's no one there to watch.

Whatever work I've got on I try to finish before lunch, when I will walk down the road to the pub for a pint or two of beer. If my parents-in-law are staying with us, which they often are, then all four of us will go down there and have something to eat. Because I'm always guilty about not taking enough exercise, I will usually take the dog for a walk over the local fields in the afternoon. She is very reluctant about this and tries to turn back at every stride. Or Elizabeth will send me to the local parade to do some shopping.

Daniel usually demands a 'romp' which is a very vigorous affair, and only stops when we're both sneezing with all the fluff and feathers that are floating about. Somewhere in the middle of all this Patrick is sitting over his homework and when all that's over I'll read them both a story before they go to sleep.

After dinner, Elizabeth will sometimes play the piano, with me making strange singing sounds beside her, or else we will settle down in front of the TV. We all watched one of my programmes the other night and the opening credits hadn't finished rolling when I looked around to discover that everyone was fast asleep – including the dog!