I know blokes are famed for overdramatising minor ailments — as in this hilarious sketch — but honestly, this one does NOT feel minor. It knocked out my voice for three days and caused me to cough in a production of the Mousetrap just as the murderer was being revealed. Symptoms are streaming cold, sore throat, chest-racking spluttering cough, barking at night, etc etc. On the balcony for the final of Strictly, I kept having to peel away to sneeze and blow my nose, by now a livid red.
Now okay, if I had smoked thirty woodbines a day for the last twenty years you might say I had it coming. But I have done four years’ cycling and three months’ dancing and I feel this virus is more than I deserve. I want to know if you have suffered the same bronchial carnage and if so I want us to get together, bond, and beg the medical authorities to start giving these seasonal bugs a name, in the same way that the Met Office has started giving storms names like Desmond and Miranda. Watch my video to find out why and see me suffer.
WARNING: GRAPHIC SPLUTTERING
A few days earlier I videoed myself with no voice. I wish I knew a way of restoring a lost voice immediately (please don’t say honey). It only happens to me once every three years or so, and then only for a couple of days. But sometimes you really need to be able to speak. A doctor told me opera singers on an opening night will take steroids — used on car crash victims to rapidly reduce swelling, especially on the brain — and that will get the vocal chords moving again. But of course they swell for a reason, to resist infection, and working against the body’s natural defences may be a bad idea.
Oh dear. When I told the Radio 2 doctor Sarah Jarvis that “blokes tend to be over-dramatic” about their ailments, and described mine as “man flu,” the BBC received an official complaint under its Equality and Diversity Code that my comments had discriminated against men.
But luckily …