Arts Q&A: Broadcaster Anne-Marie Wallace on Tom Grennan, The Coronas and Adam Kay

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, broadcaster and Alright, Pet? host Anne-Marie Wallace

Anne-Marie Wallace’s podcast Alright, Pet? with co-presenter vet Rob Adams is available now on BBC Sounds

1. When did you think about a career in broadcasting and what were your first steps into it?

When I was about 15 I started to think seriously about becoming a journalist. I was very lucky to get to work for the Mourne Observer under the guidance of Terence Bowman.

I joined the BBC on my 25th birthday and remember practically skipping through the revolving doors with excitement. David Dunseith used to talk to me about broadcasting, how important it is to be yourself and be sure to take an interest in the person sitting across the desk from you. We bonded over our shared love of animals and it makes me feel so proud that I'm now making an animal podcast for BBC Sounds and BBC Radio Ulster with my co-presenter, specialist vet Rob Adams.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

The first gig I ever went to was a-ha at the King's Hall. I was in primary school at the time and seeing Morten Harket up close is something I'll never forget. You could see his cheekbones from the back of the hall.

I'm obsessed with singer Tom Grennan, I've been to see him three times in Belfast, and every time I see him his voice just blows my mind. He really loves the Belfast audience and always gets such a warm welcome from us.

The Belsonic gig with Lewis Capaldi and Kings of Leon was something special. The sun was shining, Ormeau Park looked beautiful, everyone was in great spirits.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

I'd go for warm up from The Coronas as I know all their songs off by heart and slightly love Danny O'Reilly and his beautiful blue eyes, followed by Muse, so that everyone could go wild.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

It has to be Tom Grennan's Evering Road – every song is an absolute belter. This is the Place and Little Bit of Love are on repeat when I go out walking the dogs.

5. And the book you would take to a desert island?

My favourite book is This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. It is laugh out loud funny and heart-breaking but impossible to put down. It has some really disgusting stories too which really appeal to me.

6. Top three films?

Up by Disney Pixar is absolutely my favourite film. I remember the first time I saw it I was in floods of tears within the first five minutes of it starting. I got to meet Ed Asner in work once (he played Carl Fredricksen in the film).

Braveheart also gets me every time – I think it's because my dad was called William Wallace too. Pretty Woman is another classic, I still wish I looked like Julia Roberts.

7. Worst film you've seen?

Lord of the Rings – any of them. I don't like fantasy films, they're too long and I always end up falling asleep.

8. Favourite authors?

Roald Dahl, especially The Witches and George's Marvellous Medicine, transports me back to my childhood and gave me my love of reading. Marian Keyes is always guaranteed to make me laugh.

9. Sport you most enjoy?

I'm not much of a sports fan, although I do always try and go to a football match when I go on holiday. I love watching a match in the sunshine with a cold beer and cheesy puff crisps.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

South Africa, particularly Cape Town. The scenery is stunning and the people are so kind and welcoming.

11. Pet hates?

People who are cruel to or mistreat animals and children make me so angry. The inequality in the world is sickening and selfish and rude drivers make my blood boil.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Fish and chips, not too greasy, with plenty of salt and vinegar.

Dessert? Some sort of warm chocolate ganache type cake.

Drink? Whiskey, ginger and lime with plenty of ice.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

Apart from my dogs Tilly and Snowy? My best friends Michelle and Janine have known me since we were three and I still look forward to our nights together.

14. Is there a God?

I've no idea, I find it hard to believe but I'm no theologist. When I'm on a plane I definitely say a little prayer that we land safely.

Anne-Marie Wallace's podcast Alright, Pet? with co-presenter vet Rob Adams is available now on BBC Sounds. She will be interviewing sports broadcaster Andrew Cotter and his dogs Olive and Mabel in his show at Belfast's Ulster Hall on April 25.

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