Spotlight on TV’s Dick Strawbridge

The presenter, who claims to have the best moustache in showbusiness, is digging into the past in Beat The Ancestors (Channel 5).

An ex-army colonel and engineer, he’s hosted eco-friendly lifestyle show It’s Not Easy Being Green plus a revamped Scrapheap Challenge – and here reveals his softer side…

What era of history would you have liked to live in?

The Victorian period – it was an era when engineers were truly respected. There wasn’t really much in the way of technology, but they believed everything was possible.

Who inspires you?

Apart from historical figures that affect you as you grow up, I’d find it hard to name a modern individual. I’m lucky enough to meet new people every day, and so many of them are passionate and enthuse about what they do I can’t help but be inspired – from people as diverse as primary school teachers, engineering apprentices, policemen, people running small businesses, young chefs, non-preaching environmentalists – but funnily enough, not many politicians…

What would surprise people about you?

I’m a big roughy-toughy army man who enjoys writing poetry.

What super power would you like?

The ‘motivating doing ray’ so that anyone I meet who needs a kick up the butt could be zapped and suddenly become a doer not a whinger.

Who would be your ideal party guests?

Angel Adoree and Dolly Parton (gorgeous business women), James Dyson and Tim Berners-Lee (British inventors/entrepreneurs), Eddie Izzard and Jo Brand (to keep it light).

What’s your most treasured possession?

It’s hard to choose as I have a collection of little things I would miss dreadfully. However, like a true Boy Scout, I always carry a little penknife in my pocket and I’d be lost without it

What would you like to be better at?

Watercolours. I enjoy heading off on my motorbike, finding somewhere nice to chill and trying to capture something on my pad. I’m definitely more enthusiastic than accomplished.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do when I grow up! As a child I really fancied joining the army, hence my 20-year career. But life is for living, so I know there is lots more I still have to do.

What would be your perfect day?

A Sunday with no shops open, no ‘work’ to do (including all the jobs that aren’t work but I know I need to sort), glorious warm sunshine for a leisurely al fresco brunch and then deep snow for a walk in the country. All followed by a quiet meal (obviously with good wine) then feet up in front of the log burner, flicking through books.

What are you currently reading, watching and listening to?

I’m on the go a lot at the moment, so sadly have had little chance to sit in front of the telly, other than for rugby and the news. I’m reading Charles Elme Francatelli’s Modern Cook, dated 1876 – he was Queen Victoria’s chief cook and his recipes are probably more adventurous than most of us would try nearly 150 years later! And I’m listening to BBC Radio 4’s This Sceptred Isle for the hundredth time – who says men can’t multitask?

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