Arts Q&A: Q Radio and television presenter Ryan Hand on The Beatles, marathon running and becoming an author

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, television and Q Radio presenter Ryan Hand

Jenny Lee


1. When did you think about a career in showbiz (comedy, DJing, presenting) and what were your first steps into it?

In Home Economics in second year of high school. Mrs O'Hanlon wrote in my school report: "If Ryan's dreams of becoming a rock star fail to materialise he could always become a TV chef." I was always the class clown and loved entertaining.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

Glastonbury - nothing comes close to it. I went in 2019 during the heatwave, they had to turn off the showers after the second day because of a drought warning. I saw everyone from Kylie Minogue, Sean Paul and Billie Eilish to George Ezra and Janet Jackson, and I even watched David Attenborough give a speech. One of the highlights was watching Toy Story 3 in a big tent when really hungover on the Saturday morning.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

The Beatles. I'm a big fan of the Fab Four. Last year my dad gave me his original Beatles vinyls, Please Please Me and Revolver. I've always wanted to meet Paul McCartney. If I was being really greedy I'd form a supergroup and have The Beatles, Queen and Elvis.

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

I'd probably take Please Please Me. The moment I slipped it onto my record player and heard it crackle I thought of what it must've sounded like back in 1963. I could rightly sit back in the sand and drink from a coconut listening to that.

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

I've actually just released my debut novel which is a rock n' roll adventure story for kids and young adults. They say strike while the iron is hot so I currently find myself at the halfway point of my next writing project, a book for adults. I need to write another 50,000 words so I'd probably bring that just to get it finished.

6. Top three films?

My all-time top three films are Anchorman, Notting Hill and Forrest Gump. The soundtrack in Forrest Gump is amazing, Hugh Grant in Notting Hill is brilliant and I know every single word to Anchorman.

7. Worst film you've seen?

The 2021 remake of Candyman. I'll never get those 91 minutes back, ever. The most recent Halloween movie is equally just as shocking. For some reason horror movies of today turn out to be comedies, they're so bad.

8. Favourite authors?

I'm actually not a big reader, I've only read two books in the last five years, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and Sarah Knight's Get Your S**t Together (you can tell I love a self-help book).

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I'm a football fanatic and a massive Liverpool fan. I was at the Champions League final in Madrid when they beat Tottenham. I play five-a-side on a Monday with a group of local lads who work in the media industry. I'm also big into the gym and I'll be running the London marathon in April, the Belfast marathon the following week and the Dublin marathon in October. All money raised will be split between Action Cancer, Marie Curie and The Institute for Cancer Research.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Anywhere with a beach. I love lying on the sand all day and swimming in the sea. Coming from Newcastle, Co Down, I love nothing more than getting into the water. I've been lucky enough to go all round the world, but somewhere like Sorrento would be just perfect. Or Barbados, I'm not picky.

11. Pet hates?

I hate when people walk slowly in front of you, especially if you're in a hurry and they have no awareness they're holding you up.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Steak sandwich with fried onions, pepper sauce and chips.

Dessert? A crepe smothered in chocolate and cream.

Drink? Prior to 2023 I'd have said a bottle of champagne, but I've done dry January and plan on keeping it alcohol free so maybe some alcohol-free Prosecco.

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

My longest and oldest best friend is Sean Kelly who now lives in Boston. I recently married Sean and his wife Steph when they came back for a home wedding in December 2022. We have the same silly humour and it always clicks back into place as soon as we meet.

14. Is there a God?

I'd like to think so, otherwise I've been wasting my time saying all these prayers.

Ryan Hand co-presents Food Fest Northern Ireland on BBC NI on Monday evenings and also on BBC iPlayer. The quirky show lifts the lid on some fascinating food stories, samples culinary delights and meets local food suppliers. Ryan's children's book, Stardust: Amazing Archie The Singing Sensation, is out now.