Jenny Agutter Under The Microscope

Written the the Daily Mail

Sleep Well?

I don’t go to sleep easily. I do meditative things to help, like create abstract pictures in my mind. It takes a lot of concentration, and ends up clearing my head.

Pop any pills?

Living in America aged 19 to 37, I took loads of vitamins, until I realised that unless you absolutely knew your stuff, you might as well not use them, because certain things counteract other things. Now I reckon you get a good variety of vitamins if you eat lots of different coloured foods. And no, Smarties don’t count.jenny

Ever dieted?

I fluctuate between nine and ten stone. Nine and a half is where I should be. When I get towards ten, I can feel it in my clothes, in the way I look.. it isn’t comfortable. Then I simply cut out the things that are obviously not good like chocolate and butter.

Any family ailments?

Yes. Cystic Fibrosis is very much in my family. My parents didn’t know, but they now think they were carriers, because they lost two children and never understood why. My brother and I are both carriers, and my niece Rachel has CF. It’s frightening because it is a disease that kills.

Hangover cure?

A large amount of water before going to bed, and perhaps a fizzy vitamin C to wash the body out. The following day, do some exercise to get oxygen into the body.

Any vices?

I have a collecting vice. I’ve kept all my son’s artwork, for example. Some of it is fantastic, some of it is just lavatory rolls with ears stuck on.

Is there a male menopause?

Yes. It’s fast cars and younger women and a sudden change of clothes.

If you were a Doctor what would you specialise in?

I’d be a neurologist. I’m fascinated by how the mind works chemically. If we understood more about the brain, we might be able to change ourselves. For example, people assimilate knowledge in different ways. If we knew how we could educate them more effectively.

Last check up?

I have to get a check up before all acting jobs – it’s an insurance thing.

Can’t live without?

Chocolate. Real real chocolate, like Carribean cocoa balls made of pure cocoa butter with spices. It smells amazing – you realise why people are addicted.

Ever been depressed?

The nearest thing to being depressed was getting married, having my son and coming home from America all in one go. Motherhood and marriage, at 37 and 38 respectively, were a big jolt to my independent life, and after nearly 20 years in the States, Britain was a culture shock. The way people express themselves – the humour – is all very different. It’s much more formal here.

Jenny Agutter is a Patron of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust