ITV presenter Nina Hossain reveals how she was mugged at knifepoint

Head shot of Nina Hossain

Nina Hossain reveals her bravest moment (Image: Clive Shalice)

Not a lot of people know this but I’m very good at… cake decorating. Well, not very good but good enough to create trains, pirates, the Star Wars Millennium Falcon and lots and lots of fondants. The children put a lot of planning into what they’d like on their birthday cake, normally putting their order in about eight monthsin advance. 

My best friend is… my husband. He’s my go-to person; the one I share the many highs, the travails, the parenting and the problems of life with. 

My nickname is… At school I used to be called Fatima Whitbread because of my curly perm, plus she very much had the muscles and I had the lardy bits. I didn’t do any discus throwing. I was pretty useless at sport but I think our frames and hairstyles were similar. 

The bravest thing I’ve ever done is… making a split decision to be silent, calm and not panic when a masked mugger robbed me at knifepoint. It was 15 years ago on the South Bank, about 6.30am, summer and light. I was running to the gym before going to work. He had the knife at my throat and as he cut the rucksack off my back, going through my mind was: “Gosh, is this it? Is this the end for me?” He walked away and then, possibly even more chilling, stopped and called out to see if I had anything else on me. It was horrific. He was never caught but the police were brilliant. For a good six months after I was very wary. Even now, I would never run at night and I’m really cautious. 

My favourite TV show is… This is a tough one. The West Wing, Chernobyl, Game Of Thrones, Six Feet Under, Succession with the peerless Brian Cox – absolute perfection in terms of television drama. And Better Call Saul, a quiet contender for most amazing drama because it didn’t get the attention Breaking Bad had. The story arcs are incredible. 

My perfect evening is… with my family, sitting outside in glorious weather, having a long dinner at a favourite restaurant with an incredible view of the port in Puerto Soller, Majorca, and then back to the hotel where we drink into the wee hours with friends that we meet there. 

I’d like to say sorry to… any colleague or friend at work I’ve annoyed due to my pedantry, which I can imagine is quite intolerable at times. 

My first kiss was… I remember it fondly. With a boy called Robert Pickering. We were both 11 and it was classic back-of-the-youth-club one Friday night and wasjust brilliant. 

My biggest regret is… I have absolutely no regrets. It’s a waste of brain space. 

Head shot of Nina Hossain

Nina admits she can be quite pedantic with her colleagues (Image: Clive Shalice)

The one thing I’d change about myself is… I’ve been crippled by shyness for much of my life. Especially doing the job that I do people don’t expect it and, in certain circumstances, it can be misinterpreted as being aloof or rude. When I got to 40, I thought, I’m over with this, it’s exhausting and was able to overcome it by simply deciding to work around it. I just wish I could have made that change earlier. 

The best thing my parents taught me was… My mum, through her actions, that the most important thing is kindness and my dad, who came over from Bangladesh on his own, finished his medical training here and became a doctor here, that you have a short time on this planet so do what you want to do as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. 

The last time I cried was… the other Thursday when Snow Patrol sang Ran on Instagram two minutes after Clap for our Carers. It was a big song in my life when it came out 15 years ago when my mum was very ill. The fact we were watching them live, performing that song in my living room, just broke me. I think it’s the times we’re living through. 

The first record I ever bought was…  I Don’t Like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats. I was very young – about five – and badgered mum and dad to buy it for me. It was the first time a song had really got into my head and this piece of vinyl felt like such a precious item. 

Head shot of Nina Hossain

Nina admits she can’t wait to pay her hairdresser a visit (Image: Clive Shalice)

It’s not good for my image but I like… board games. I’m an obsessive and lockdown has given me permission to play a lot of them with the children. 

My greatest weakness is… crisps. All flavours. I’m strict about not buying them or having them in the house – until the weekend. 

If I could pass any law I would… ban overtaking on most roads in most circumstances. 

I drive… a very old Polo. I was hoping to swap it for an electric car earlier this year and then the pandemic happened. 

The shop I can’t walk past is… Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street, London. 

The most expensive thing I’ve ever splashed out on is… a Dyson Airwrap styling wand two years ago, which I never used because I have a lovely hairdresser near to work and I was too lazy. It was an extortionate amount of money to spend on a hair product but now that I’ve been forced to use it, it’s been invaluable. Still, I’ll be going back to my hairdresser as soon as it’s possible. 

The worst job I’ve ever had… I’ve been vegetarian since I was 11 and from the age of 16 to 22, during school and uni holidays, I worked in hospital kitchens, which was great. The worst part was having to clean the remains of chicken carcasses from industrial-sized pans, which would take a good 30 minutes. I could never get that sight or smell out of my brain. 

My perfect Sunday is… a lie-in, a big brunch, board games and a very long walk. 

My favourite place in Britain is… Loch Awe on Scotland’s west coast. The clue’s in the name. 

My last holiday was… skiing with the family in St Anton, Austria, in February. We came back and the world had changed. 

I’m currently reading… Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. Great escapism during these complex times. 

The best day of my life was… the birth of my first child, because you kind of know what to expect the second and third times whereas the first was overwhelming, in a very positive way. 

If I had an hour left on Earth I’d… scoop up the children, cook some onion bhajis, get the best bottle of champagne I can lay my hands on and down that with Stuart. 

Nina is presenter of ITV’s 1.30pm Lunchtime Weekday News and host of the network’s live Coronavirus: Q & A programme on Mondays at 8pm.