June Sarpong: 'Working on TV with Vernon Kaye was fun'
The Loose Women presenter and campaigner on conspiracy theories, LDNY and David Icke.
Q: This is a funny role reversal of my entire childhood, spent watching T4. So, what's the trick to a good interview?
A: I think it's to be genuinely interested in the person. Not just a series of questions, but to actually have a conversation. This slot is called The Conversation, isn't it?
Q: Yes, that's what we're going for. A sort of organic, erm, dialogue. So tell me about your UN fashion initiative?
A: It's called LDNY. The first phase, which we're working on at the moment, is a collaboration with design students from Parsons School of Design in New York and the London College of Fashion, through the UN's Women and Trade initiative, with artisans from India, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and - I always forget the last one - Peru. Peru! How could I forget Peru?
Q: You've always been into your campaigns. Where did that come from? Were your parents political?
A: My parents were very politically engaged. They were immigrants. We left Ghana during a coup. Ghana in African terms is a very safe country and has good governance. There's never been a civil war, but there were two coups in the early 1980s. So my whole family has always been aware of the role social justice and good governance plays in civil society.
Q: You're involved in the EU 'In' campaign with Tony Blair, John Major and Gordon Brown. What prompted that?
A: I know the team very well. Jack Straw I've known for a while. I've lived in America for eight-and-a-half years, which has made me see things differently. They've got a population of 320 million and even they're having trouble competing with China, India, the emerging economies. If we want to be able to compete, I don't know if we can on our own.
Q: You were filming Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura in the States. Which of the conspiracy theories that you covered did you have the most time for?
A: See, as the Brit, I was the resident sceptic on the show. To be honest with you, I didn't believe any of them. But there was one. This place we filmed in was particularly odd. It's called Mountain View, just outside of Arkansas. It has some of the best fresh water in America and all of a sudden, all these very wealthy people have started buying up land there, in the middle of nowhere. That one, I just thought, this is weird. If you're a multi-billionaire famous person, why would you want to buy here?
Q: I read somewhere that you believed the US government controls the weather.
A: Oh, goodness gracious me. Ha ha ha! That's HAARP (the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) and, no, I did not say I believed the US government controls the weather. I said that we interviewed one of the HAARP team, and he sort of mysteriously died after our interview. I don't know if it was us or if it was natural causes. But he did die and that was odd. I'm still alive though!
Q: And what was David Icke like?
A: Oh my word, he's bonkers. He ended up having a big argument with Jesse. They had this nutty war of words and David Icke was calling him Jesse Ventura Pet Detective. It was very funny.
Q: Of all the TV shows you worked on, which do you miss the most?
A: The T4 days were awesome. Vernon (Kaye) and I had such fun and it never felt like work. Being paid to hang out with your mate was cool. And I did it for a long time - all of my twenties. I miss that. But we all have to grow up - I'm getting grey hair now.
Q: Lastly, Wikipedia says that your favourite food is jellied lamprey. Is it?
A: That's hilarious - not sure where they got that from. I don't even know what lamprey is. My favourite food is jollof rice, Ghana's national dish.
June Sarpong (38) is a television presenter and campaigner. Born in London, she first worked at Kiss FM and then as a presenter on T4. In 2008 she hosted Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in Hyde Park. She now appears on programmes such as Celebrity Juice and Loose Women