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Mark Watson's Guilty Pleasures


Mark Watson is a lovely man, that much is obvious on TV. But perhaps more important than his friendly on-screen demeanor is the fact he sponsors a child in Senegal with ActionAid.

So, how do we thank him? By insisting he tells us about all the things he likes, but really doesn't want to admit on a website that registers almost a million visitors per month. It's Mark Watson's Guilty Pleasures, and it includes America's Next Top Model.


"Muppet Christmas Carol. Some people object to the idea of reworking Dickens' classic with a frog singing mawkish songs about how there's 'no such thing as strangers, where a stranger says hello''. They're wrong, though. If you don't feel a certain festive fuzziness when this comes on the TV at Christmas, you need to have a long think about your attitude to the season and to life in general. I hesitate to claim that it's better than the source material, but I think I can say with confidence that Dickens would have been delighted with it. Although, mostly, he'd have been extremely baffled."

TV Show

"America's Next Top Model. Virtually everything about this is ghastly, starting from the entire rotten industry of modelling itself and working down to the style-addled skeletal contestants, the vacuous judges, the tragic parody of feminism, and the ad breaks every four minutes. The trouble is, I love shows where people compete for professional advancement. The host has only got to say 'one of you is going home today', the camera's only got to rove over a bunch of big-eyed hopefuls about to burst into tears, and I'm hooked. I suppose the problem is that I'm a huge sports fan, so the more singing/modelling/apprenticeship/Great British Baking is presented like sport, the more I'm into it."


"Now That's What I Call The 80s and similar compilations. It goes against my grain to listen to compilations in general - I'd rather seek out individual records - and I spend such a lot of my time keeping abreast of current music that I'm often taken for a music snob, especially because I tend to listen to music motionless, with headphones on, never dancing or singing along (this isn't really snobbery, incidentally - I just can't dance or sing). And yet I've got a huge soft spot for tinny retro electronic pop. I'd happily go to watch Madonna live, if she could guarantee the gig would take place in about 1989. But not even Madge can do that. I like ABBA, too. But not the 'Mamma Mia' film. That was a real setback for the human race."


"Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. I should say here that I'm not actually guilty about this at all, but certain people do regard it as a cheesy overblown 'dad rock' anthem, full of melodramatic American-dream-type lyrics. Anyway, to cut a long story short, they're wrong because it's one of the world's greatest ever songs, and they're just idiots who also don't like the Muppets and probably dodge tax and kick kittens. If you want a REALLY guilty pleasure, I rather liked the 2010 Eurovision winner 'Satellite' by Lena and I've got it on my iPhone."


"Asking someone for their 'guilty pleasure' online feels like a potential can of worms. Mine's pretty boring: Twitter. I've been doing it for three years or so, and according to my phone app, I tweet an average of nine times a day. Most of these are replies rather than remarks about my unsensational life, but even so, it's an incredible amount of interaction with a single site. It's just so very addictive. It's the perfect miniature of the internet, basically - an infinite conversation between everyone in the world. Apart from people who aren't on Twitter. But is there anyone like that left? It would be like meeting someone without a toaster."


"Is wine a food? If not, I suppose curry. I often finish shows at half past ten at night - having started at a time which means it'd be slightly uncomfortable to eat dinner beforehand - so I end up at an awful lot of Indian restaurants. But that's a pretty flimsy excuse because even when not gigging, I'll happily eat an average of two Indian meals a day if given the choice. Luckily, as there are people who love me, I'm usually not given the choice."


''My 'guilty pleasure' here is that I tend to read a large number of music magazines - Q, Mojo, NME, Uncut - in WH Smith while waiting for trains and so forth. This is because I'm keen to read their reviews of new music, but don't want to trudge through interminable articles about the hilarious-yet-dark touring exploits of the Killers, or the 'untold story' of The Jam, or basically anything EXCEPT reviews. I just want to know what albums are good. I apologise to music magazine editors for this, but with the Internet to compete with, they've got bigger problems than me."

Mark Watson sponsors a child in Senegal with ActionAid. Find out more about how you could transform a child’s life here.

Images: Rex


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