TV presenter, comedian and writer Mel Giedroyc has managed to overcome many difficult moments with laughter, she says.
With her comedy partner Sue Perkins, whom she met at Cambridge University, the 52-year-old comedian has presented hit shows including Light Lunch and, most famously, The Great British Bake Off.
She lives in west London with her husband, TV director Ben Morris and their two teenage daughters, Vita and Florence and just a 15-minute drive from her best pal Perkins, with whom she is currently filming the second series of the Sky comedy drama Hitmen. She has also just written her debut novel, The Best Things.
While she always seems bright and cheery on our screens, now she shares some of her bleaker moments.
Are you always cheerful?
“I do have a dark side. Only my husband, children, close friends and family ever get to see it. I wouldn’t say I go into deep dark black dog depression – I’m lucky in that way, but everyone has their ups and downs and I always try to look on the bright side.”
What brings you down?
“Tiredness. I’m somebody who needs to sleep. If I’m short of kip things tend to spiral quite badly.”
You’re in your 50s – has the menopause kicked in?
“I’ve noticed of late, the old hormonal journey is quite interesting. The old peri-menopausal express has come to town! I’m not in the full hot flush yet, but I very much feel it’s coming. I’ve noticed mood-wise, it gets quite interesting.
“I’ve been feeling, shall I go to the doctor? No! I don’t want to be disturbing the doctor when there’s a global pandemic on the go. But I do feel I’m embarking on a roller coaster into the land of menopause. Hoorah!
“My husband is very good about it, God bless him. Blokes probably find it a bit embarrassing to bring it up.”
Are you displaying any menopausal symptoms?
“I looked up online the symptoms, causes and effects of the menopause and I’ve absolutely convinced myself that I’ve got a fully receding hairline. What does one do? Do you go and have the old Wayne Rooney plugs put in?”
What makes you happy?
“Comedy. Laughter is a very good therapeutic remedy for lots of things. Not that one just wants to laugh everything off, but I think that when you really don’t know what else to do, laugh.”
How did turning 50 affect you?
“I’ve had enough of putting up a veneer of ‘This is all quite lovely and Bake Off land, let’s just have a bit of a dig and let it all hang for a bit…’”
The Best Things by Mel Giedroyc is published by Headline Review, priced £12.99.