This week, we interviewed the dashing Journalist and TV presenter Matt Allwright. Matt has a wife and two kids, and a black miniature schnauzer called Ozzy. He loves playing music but no-one in the family will join in with him. He has no interest in cars, but loves motorcycles. His garage is a mess. He loves playing tennis, but his knees are also a mess, so these days he’s reduced to ping pong. Running is a distant memory.
Being such a high profile presenter, your working life must be hectic. How to you strike a balance in juggling your work and home life?
It is hectic. But there have been times when it hasn’t been, so I never take it for granted. I’m lucky to have a wife who is brilliant at organising both my life and home life which means that when I’m at home, I can concentrate on everyone who’s there. Everyone should have a wife, even wives.
What is the most shocking thing you have come across working in consumer affairs?
I think whenever we find a sales company that concentrates their efforts on targeting the elderly and vulnerable, it’s difficult to imagine how they are able to justify that to their families, and ultimately themselves. How would that conversation go? A bit like this?
“What did you do today Daddy?”
“I scared an old lady into parting with most of the savings she’s relying on to keep her through old age. It’s OK though, son, because even though I told a pack of lies, she has dementia, and won’t make a reliable witness.”
“Good night Daddy.”
What’s on top of your to-do list this week?
Getting through a week of work, making sure the dog’s paw is healing ok, getting everyone’s heads round going back to school, and making sure a tenth birthday party goes well, and watching a lot of Breaking Bad.
What’s the one top tip you’d pass onto our readers with young families?
I’ve always found that when they’re old enough to ask, they’re old enough to know. Also, that vegetable double bluff thing where you say “Whatever you do, don’t eat those carrots!” stops working after the age of 6.
When out with your family do restaurant owners and shopkeepers look nervous when they see you, and where is your favourite family friendly restaurant in London?
Yes, I do often get a strange reaction when I walk in to anywhere, particularly since Rogue Restaurants and Food Inspectors have aired. It quickly passes when they realise that I use ketchup like everyone else and am really not all that interesting. There is also an assumption that wherever I go, I am always investigating everything, all the time. I do nothing to persuade people this is not the case, often asking restaurant managers to speak clearly into one of my shirt buttons.
You launched BBC1’s Fat Nation in 2004, to fight for healthier living. Share with us one of your healthy family friendly recipes.
Like most men I know, I need a full day to prepare any meal, using every item of kitchenware in the process, and even then this only gives a 40% chance of anything edible emerging at the end. If I was doing something it would be a broccoli and chilli spaghetti. It’s got anchovies in it, but you’d never know, so at the end you can say to the kids “Ha! You just ate an anchovy! And chilli! So don’t tell me you don’t like eating anything ever again!”
What’s the one children’s product you couldn’t have lived with out?
Calpol. Sue me.
Where’s your favourite family holiday destination, and do you have any tips you’d like to pass on to our readers considering last minute holiday bookings?
There’s a bit of the Algarve near Tavira where no-one really goes that much. That’s perfect when they’re tiny. Amazing beaches and lovely people, although don’t rely on sourcing baby milk powder locally. When they’re 6+ Scandinavia is amazing, and can be cheaper than conventional wisdom says. It will also prepare them for cold water shock later in life.
What’s in the pipeline for you?
My pipeline is full of goodies. Keeping Britain Safe is airing this autumn/winter, and it’s been amazing to make. There are so many people who work incredibly hard to keep the country running smoothly rather than blowing up or browning out, and I’ve now met half of them. Most have no idea how important what they do is, and they outnumber the Rogues hugely.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
I’m very lucky, except at Monopoly.