Close-Up: The Hot Seat - Ben Fennell, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Name: Ben Fennell

Job: Chief executive, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

- You've got five hours left before the world explodes. What do you do?

Slowly roasted lamb: pesto, honey, olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Family all together around one table. No need to wash up.

- What's your best joke?

Am more of a story kind of guy, very happy to exaggerate and embellish in order to increase comic effect.

- What's your biggest fear?

Snakes. I caught three in our house in Singapore, two of them cobras. Killed the one that wasn't with a badly sliced three-iron.

- When did you last cry and why?

Grandparents' funeral. Lorna and Dennis Fennell were married for 69 years and died two months apart. I did the eulogy and blubbed the whole way through.

- Who is your hero?

My mother. Paid all our school fees by doing commercials and TV dramas. I caused chaos at my school by telling staff that she was a lady of the night. She had just played the president of the Guild of Prostitutes in I, Claudius.

- Name one thing about yourself that few people know.

I was bandaged and blind for 48 hours while at university after burning my eyes very badly. I got very sympathetic and supportive treatment from my housemates on day one, then they turned on me. I was pointed the wrong way in public toilets, stranded in the middle of the road and left hanging on to lamp-posts in Oxford city centre.

- What's the worst thing about your job?

My commute. At 6.51 on a platform in Buckinghamshire, the world feels very cold and dark.

- What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Spent my time in Asia trying to look and sound older than I was. Now I see a bloke who is two stone over his fighting weight, increasingly grey and looking plenty old enough.

- Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?

Winston Churchill. Ran large chunks of the war from his bedroom wearing a romper suit. Kippers and the papers for breakfast, Champagne and cigar at lunch, proper afternoon siesta. Led the free world during its darkest hour with a sense of perspective and good humour that we could all learn from.

- If your office was burning down, what object would you save and why?

Nigel Maile's filing cabinet. You could find out who really killed Kennedy in there.


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