“When I was 75 last year, I employed a personal trainer”: Under the microscope with Sir Roy Strong
The broadcaster and historian, 76, on why he wants to keep fit, his waistline, missing his wife and his biggest vice
“I don”t have children or anyone to fall back on and I”ve realised I must keep myself as fit as I can,” said Sir Roy Strong
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET FOR STAYING TRIM
When I was 75 last year, I employed a personal trainer, Doug. I don’t have children or anyone to fall back on and I’ve realised I must keep myself as fit as I can. That way, when I finally need some help, people will say: ‘Roy was still trotting around at 86, so we don’t mind propping him up a bit now!’
HAD ANY HEALTH SCARES
I had a serious bout of pneumonia two years ago. After injecting me with a big syringe, the nurse said: ‘You didn’t bat an eyelid.’ It’s a generational thing. I was always brought up to be stoic.
POP ANY PILLS
I take warfarin every day to thin my blood. I have to take it for ever ‘to avoid a massive stroke’ said the doctor. Much as I dislike taking medicine, I agreed the alternative was worse.
Breakfast is muesli, fruit compote from my garden, natural yoghurt and a cup of green tea and I allow myself one slice of bread a week on Sundays with marmalade or jam. I snack on dried fruit and I’m trying to eliminate lunch. I cook my evening meal — mainly fish or chicken with plenty of vegetables, followed by raspberries or strawberries with a dollop of creme fraiche.
My Achilles heel is drink. In the evening Doug’s mandate of one glass of wine a day goes out the window. I have at least two and, if fed up, a gin and tonic, too.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
Julia, my wife, who died of pancreatic cancer eight years ago, was the love of my life. I miss her every day, but I am thankful for 32 years of happiness. And although people have circled me thinking they might become the second Lady Strong, that will never happen.
After his evening meal, Sir Roy likes “raspberries or strawberries with a dollop of creme fraiche (left)”. The radio (right) on all night helps him “sleep even better”
I was a podgy child and I gained too much weight in the Seventies when I was Director of the V & A. In my mid-40s, I started jogging and changed to a healthy diet and literally reformed everything. I now weigh around 12 st 6lb (I’m 5ft 10in). I do worry about my waistline because I am frightfully vain.
At 14 I had Hodgkin’s disease — a form of lymphatic cancer — but I was never told until I was in my 60s, when my brother said: ‘We thought you were a goner!’
You could put me down on a railway track and I’d go to sleep. Nowadays I like to keep the radio on all night. It helps me sleep even better.
EVER BEEN DEPRESSED
No, although like everyone, I’ve been down in the dumps occasionally.
LIKE TO LIVE FOR EVER
No — I’d be past my sell-by date.
Sir Roy’s latest book, Visions Of England, is published by Bodley Head at 17.99.