Mummy calls me sausage! So Anne Robinson DOES have a softer side



23:36 GMT, 8 March 2012

Anne Robinson and with daughter daughter Emma Wilson at the David Frost Summer Party in 2009

Anne Robinson and with daughter daughter Emma Wilson at the David Frost Summer Party in 2009

This has been a difficult week if you want to avoid opinionated redheads on TV.

Whether they’ve been touting the merits of particular books or trumpeting the delights of certain holiday destinations, you couldn’t miss Anne Robinson in the first category and Emma Wilson in the second.

And, if you detected a certain similarity, that’s not surprising given that Emma is Anne’s daughter, from her first marriage to former Times Editor Charlie Wilson.

So, is Emma a chip off the old block Well, the short answer is yes — and no. To the viewing public, Anne will be forever known as the Queen of Mean.

But to her only child, she’s plain Mummy. ‘And although I’m 41 and the mother of two sons,’ says Emma, ‘she still calls me Sausage.’

Emma lived in New York for 20 years, working in film and TV. ‘I was asked to be a judge for an early round of American Idol.

Mummy was well known in the U.S. by then, courtesy of The Weakest Link, so I was encouraged to come up with put-downs like hers. I asked one man: “Why are you wearing that shirt Did you lose a bet”

‘/03/08/article-2112355-0F88518700000578-97_468x306.jpg” width=”468″ height=”306″ alt=”Emma is the face of Channel 5's new travel show 'Heaven on Earth'” class=”blkBorder” />

Emma is the face of Channel 5's new travel show 'Heaven on Earth'

‘Liam’s very good with Annie,’ says Emma. ‘Well, would you want Anne Robinson as your mother-in-law Let’s just say it could be a little tricky.

Which is why he plays her very gently. She doesn’t suffer fools. Just as well, because he isn’t one.’

Anne obviously rates Liam’s opinions. ‘She’s always ringing up asking to borrow my husband because she’s off to a car showroom or wherever and needs some male advice.’

Emma is currently on Channel 5’s Holiday Heaven On Earth. And her mother was happy to give the benefit of her wisdom on dressing for the small screen. ‘I’d tell her where I was going and whether I’d be hiking or drinking cocktails.

Emma calls her mother Anne Robinson either mummy or Annie

Emma calls her mother Anne Robinson either mummy or Annie

She’d then lend me a Prada cable-stitch sweater in green. “Good with the hair,” she’d say.’ And Emma points to her red curls.

‘She’s scandalised I don’t get a wardrobe budget.’

But while Anne’s thrilled Emma’s getting work, she behaves, according to her daughter, rather like a Jewish mother.

‘The other day, she said: “You’re not on telly enough.” Then we watched the Lake Tahoe episode of the series together.

‘At the end, she turned to me. “Darling, I think you need to take a thesaurus with you next time,” she said. “You said spectacular and magnificent twice.”’

Anne recently described her daughter in the Mail’s Weekend magazine as ‘parsimonious’, an unpleasant adjective to use about anyone, let alone your daughter.

But Emma is having none of it. ‘I know exactly why she said that, and from her it’s a compliment. I dissuaded her recently from buying two Hermes watches.

‘Well, I thought two was rather excessive.’

Of course, there are occasional downsides to having so famous a mother. ‘I once met the head of development at a production company to see whether I might be suitable for any of her projects. At the end, she said, without a hint of irony: “You’re much nicer than I thought you would be.”

‘What did she mean Because I was Annie’s daughter Ridiculous! I lived in New York for two decades. I established my own identity there because my mother casts quite a long shadow. So don’t judge me in advance based on who she is.’

When we meet, Emma has been trying to persuade Anne to go with her to film a travel segment on Madeira. ‘Then I’ll get pure Mummy-time. She’ll come into my room in the morning with her jar of Blend 37 — she only drinks instant coffee — then ladle four heaped spoons into a cup before drinking it under the duvet with me.

‘I always remonstrate with her over her coffee consumption, but she’s having none of it. “Look,” she says, “if you don’t drink booze, if you’re not doing drugs, if you’re not having any sex, then please don’t take away the caffeine.”’