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Friends talking about food: Samantha Mann & Charles Adrian Gillott




Samantha Mann is a minutely observed comic creation for those who love cringe humour.

— Roger Cox, The Scotsman

What does food mean to you?

Oh, goodness! I don’t really know what to say. I think food is terribly important and I know that there are a lot of people in the world who don’t have enough food but I can’t pretend that I spend an awful lot of time thinking about it. I’m not a terribly good cook so I suppose that’s worth saying. When I’m cooking for myself, I have to admit that I’m very happy just eating something out of a tin. Or baking a potato or something. My mother would be horrified. Not that she was a gourmet chef herself – I mean, whenever she was entertaining, which was quite a lot of time, she would organise for someone to do all that sort of thing for her. My brother and I more or less lived off the reheated leftovers. But she did think that it was important to do things right. Even if nobody was watching. I don’t remember her ever baking a potato – I suspect she would have thought it rather infra dig. Sorry, I’m not sure if that has answered your question.

When you think of home, what do you think of?

Tennison, just at the moment. My friend Angela’s rabbit, I mean. I’m looking after him for her and I’m always worried that he might have done something disgusting while I was out.

CHARLES ADRIAN GILLOT - actor, writer, podcaster

Having developed the character of Samantha at the École Philippe Gaulier, Charles Adrian has been performing as her on the comedy circuit in London for the last few years. She has appeared as far afield as Paris, Vienna and Tokyo and was for a long time the compère of her own sell-out Sunday Night Supper Clubs at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club and regular host of Tom Webb's Party Piece. Her show Stories About Love, Death & A Rabbit won a Mervyn Stutter's Spirit Of The Fringe Award at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

What does food mean to you?

Food is always a treat. Or, at least, I always want it to be a treat. For me, mealtimes are moments of self-indulgence. Even at school, where the catering was pretty poor, I looked forward to mealtimes in case there was something nice to eat. I’m not a particularly fussy eater – and I’m well brought up so I’ll eat whatever is put in front of me – but I find it difficult to resign myself to eating something I don’t like just because I need the fuel.

That said, I’m rather like Charles Arrowby from Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea: a poached egg on an oatcake with some spinach on the side (which is more or less what I had for lunch today) seems to me to be a meal fit for a king.

When you think of home, what do you think of?

At about the age of 19 or 20, or maybe a little earlier, I remember telling myself that I couldn’t think of my parents’ house as home any more. At that point, I was at university, and spent as much time as I could in my student accommodation. Immediately after university, I moved to Paris. And told myself off every time I found myself thinking of a trip back to the house where I grew up as ‘going home’. When I moved back to the UK after four or five years in France, I suddenly felt very strongly that I was coming home, and I still describe London as being ‘home’ for me. I have a flat here, which I am very happy with, and where I spend as much time as I can, and it is almost home.

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