This Byker Grove star passed up interviewing James Brown in favour of partying with The Prodigy

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Donna Air attends The Elephant Family Dinner at Gymkhana London on February 11, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Back in 1997 when MTV launched in the UK it became a veritable breeding ground of TV talent – with the likes of Sara Cox, Kate Thornton, Richard Blackwood, Davina McCall, Edith Bowman and Cat Deeley appearing as presenters – or VJs – on the music channel.

Donna Air says it was a job that she and her contemporaries never really appreciated at the time.

Speaking on White Wine Question Time she said: “Every day there would be some sort of incredible iconic legend next door and we all – obviously being the ignorant youth that we were – just used to take it all for granted.”

READ MORE: Donna Air reveals why she put parenting first as she returns to acting

So much so in fact that the former Byker Grove star once passed up an interview with soul icon James Brown – because she was too busy partying with All Saints mate Natalie Appleton!

The pair, who were reminiscing about their wild days on the podcast, regaled friend and host Kate Thornton with tales of their party days.

Donna Air and Natalie Appleton backstage at V2000

“I remember being in V98,” recalled Donna. “We’d all been out on the night before and they [MTV] were like, ‘Where's Donna Air? We need her to interview James Brown’ and I was out obviously with Natalie.

“We were partying with The Prodigy and having quite a lot of fun. I was like, ‘Oh, can you go find Edith, the news bunny? She'll do it.’ I mean how terrible and unprofessional!”

The one person who was glad she didn’t interview James Brown was Natalie, as this was the festival where she met husband, Liam Howlett from The Prodigy. 

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“It was because of Donna,” said Natalie about meeting her hubby. “She said ‘I'm going to stay’ and all the girls from my band went home.

“We stayed and I think there was some dancing on stage with The Bloodhound Gang. I remember clearly the lead singer had a massive crush on you. That was the night I met Liam.”

Donna Air and Natalie Appleton appear on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time, hosted by Kate Thornton

“Thank goodness she didn’t interview James Brown, otherwise I wouldn’t have met Liam!”

Donna made the move to MTV after she failed to set the charts alive with pop band Crush. It was not only a place where she made her name as a presenter, but somewhere she also made life-long friends, including pal Natalie.

READ MORE: 'I wasted my 20-year-old body!' says Nicole Appleton

“We met when Donna interviewed us from when she used to host MTV,” Natalie told podcast host and pal Kate Thornton. “It was love at first sight. I just fell in love with here and that was it. And the rest is history!”

Podcast host, Kate, said that the late ‘90s were times to be remembered.

“I look back on those times and they were just euphoric,” she told Donna and Natalie. “We were living our best lives!”

Hear Natalie Appleton and Donna Air talk more about their friendship, favourite memories and how getting older gives you more confidence on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.


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