Talking Point: Ben Fogle

Round & About

Liz Nicholls asks Ben Fogle about life, love and adventure ahead of his new children’s book – Mr Dog and the Rabbit Habit – hitting bookshop shelves.

Q. Which of your many adventures rank as your most thrilling..? And scariest? “Climbing Everest was the most exciting. There’s nothing as thrilling as being in the mountains; it’s humbling and terrifying in equal measure. The scariest moment was scuba diving with crocodiles – I went diving with wild Nile crocodiles in Botswana.”

Q. What was your favourite book as a child? “I loved books as a child. Dr Seuss was a favourite; he had such an irreverent, eccentric style and I love his lyricism. The Cat In The Hat is still a firm favourite. I don’t even need my children around as an excuse to read them again.
It’s like escaping back to my childhood.”

Q. You met your wife while walking your dog which is lovely! You love dogs don’t you? “I’ve always loved dogs. I grew up with two golden retrievers and a couple of parrots. We lived above my father’s veterinary clinic and our house was always filled with dogs. If any animals needed to stay overnight, they’d often come up to our house. Dogs are loyal, kind and forgiving. They love us unconditionally.”

Q. Would you say you’re romantic? “I’m romantic-ish. Marina and I like to have date nights.”

Q. How do you relax? Do you watch television? “I love walking with the dogs – it doesn’t matter where: London, Cornwall, Scotland. I like to listen to the sounds of nature, the bird life. I watch television during long journeys around the world – a lot of box sets. You name it and I’ve probably watched it. I loved Peaky Blinders and Vietnam.”

Q. You seem healthy and full of beans – what do you eat..? And do you have any bad habits that might make us all feel better? “I eat whatever I want. I try not to abstain nor diet but stick to meal times and not snack. Lots of fruit. Salt and vinegar crisps and dry white wine are my two vices.”

Q. Where are your favourite places in the UK for a staycation? “Too many. We spend lots of time in Cornwall and Devon. St Mawes is a perfect family place. We recently went to Heckfield House which was amazing, in Holkham, north Norfolk.”

Q. Is there anywhere in the world you’d still love to go? “Of course, so many places! I’ve never been to Madagascar. I’d also like to visit Jamaica.”

Q. Which four people (living or dead) would you invite to a dinner party? “Captain Scott, Che Guevara, Attenborough and Michael Palin.”

Q. What wish would you make to change the world in one way? “Evidence to impeach Trump.”

Mr Dog and the Rabbit Habit is out now – there’s also an audio version