Call The Midwife actor Stephen McGann talks knees, sex in your 50s and cabbage
Actor, author and science communicator Stephen McGann (56) answers some probing health questions...
:: Can you run up the stairs?
Yes. I don't work out as I live in the countryside and the gym is quite far away, but I'm always on the go.
:: Get your five-a-day?
I get more like 10 at the moment because we have started ordering seasonal vegetable boxes. Whoever thought a cabbage could be so nice?
:: Ever dieted?
There is nothing like seeing your mug on TV to make you aware if you need to lose weight. When I think that, I cut back. I'm 5ft 11in and weigh 12st 3lb.
:: Any vices?
Coffee – I drink it like a fish. I haven't had alcohol for 25 years because it makes me depressed, and I gave up cigarettes in my early 20s.
:: Any family ailments?
As a child I had asthma, which I inherited from Mum. My son had it, too. He's 22 and, as with me, it went when he was a teenager. My brothers and I all also have dodgy knees.
:: Worst illness?
The flu in 1992. I was driving to see my mother-in-law and left home feeling a bit weird. By the time I arrived, four hours later, I was shaking. The fever hit and my heart was racing. I was scared and couldn't leave my bed for 36 hours.
:: Pop any pills?
I take vitamin D for the famous knees, on the advice of my physiotherapist.
:: Would you have plastic surgery?
Probably not, but never say never.
:: Has any health book changed your life?
Clearing The Air by Tim Smedley. It's about air pollution and reading it made me change my car.
:: Do you cope well with pain?
I'm not a superhero, but I'm no softy, either. I've whinged with a cold, but I've also acted in a play with a fever.
:: Is sex important?
Yes. At my age, sex is about love and companionship, as well as comfort and kindness. It's fantastic.
:: Tried alternative remedies?
No. Medicine is flawed but it has saved me and my loved ones countless times.
:: Ever been depressed?
I had a bad bout as a teenager and was put on medication. We can be snobbish about antidepressants, but I never saw anything solved by having a stiff upper lip.
:: What keeps you awake at night?
Not much, but I sometimes lie awake over a loose slate on the roof.
:: Any phobias?
I had agoraphobia at 17 and would feel terrified about going outside. It lasted for four months. Understanding its causes helped me to overcome it.
:: Like to live for ever?
With my boring internal monologue droning on? No, I'd drive myself nuts.
:: Stephen McGann is supporting Public Health England's flu vaccination campaign, nhs.uk/fluvaccine
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