Ham&High Podcast: Gail Porter on mental health, pop music and hugs

Gail Porter is on the Ham&High Podcast

Gail Porter is on the Ham&High Podcast - Credit: Archant/Matt Crossick/PA

“I want a hug, to be honest with you. I desperately want a hug.” 

Broadcaster Gail Porter is feeling what many people have felt over the last year. 

She has been enjoying a stint with a show on Islington Radio, working on an autobiography and hoping to get projects off the ground, including a travel show back in Scotland. 

Gail, who is an ambassador for the Samaritans, has spoken extensively in recent years about her mental health and her hair loss from alopecia. 

She told the Ham&High Podcast about how it felt to be released in Hampstead after being detained under the Mental Health Act in 2011. 

Under the current lockdown, she said she has "bad days and good days”. 


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"Some days I lie in bed and think I don't want to get up, but then you know you have to get up," she said.

"And also I think the good thing about this lookdown and having Zooms and stuff is we can actually reach out to other people. I do Twitter and I just like to check that everyone's okay.

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"It's a good bonding time, so you've got to think of the positives out of the negatives. 

"So yeah, I'm okay. I want a hug, to be honest with you. I desperately want a hug.

"I think that's one thing that everyone is missing - it's physical contact . I live on my own with a cat, so I mean the cat is now just going: "Just back off. Just stop hugging me!"

Islington Radio is helping fill a musical hole for Gail, a former host of Top of the Pops, introducing acts including Prince, Madonna and her beloved Blur. 

"I was trying to think about that the other day because so many amazing people came in," she said.

"I used to get very excited when Texas came in because they were from Scotland.

"So it was just 'Texas are in!' so it felt like a wee Scottish mafia thing going on. It was just fun.

"Every single band, the Manics, everybody that came on I was excited...

"It didn't matter if it was a one hit wonder, you just think: 'You know what, you're on Top of the Pops so good for you, and I'm happy for you.'"

Gail Porter and Basil Brush at Stuart Semple's installation Artist Job Centre, in Neal Street, in October

Gail Porter and Basil Brush at Stuart Semple's installation Artist Job Centre, in Neal Street, in October - Credit: PA/David Parry

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