Still, the one thing that she does seem uncomfortable speaking about is why, when most older women’s careers in TV stall (a report two years ago found just 5 per cent of TV presenters were women over 50), does hers seem to be going from strength to strength?
“I’m very fortunate in the things I’ve done and I’ve worked really hard at them.
Given her roles on Antiques Roadshow as well as these two current shows, does Bruce now see herself as a light-entertainment presenter, rather than a journalist, these days?
“I don’t remember one where the BBC has talked specifically about cutting management before and I think anything that creates a more direct line a clearer chain of command has to be a good thing.” What about the feeling among BBC insiders that the very idea of the corporation is under threat?
We’re meeting outside New Broadcasting House to talk about two of Bruce’s current ventures – the return of the art sleuthing show Fake or Fortune?
, which has been given a new primetime 8pm slot, plus a fiendish new quiz show for BBC Four called Hive Minds.
While she was parodied on Dead Ringers as male erotic fantasy (“Hello, I’m Fiona Bruce,” Jan Ravens would purr, “sitting on the luckiest chair in Britain”), in real life her conversation is littered with jolly hockey sticks phrases such as “being quite a swot”, she leaps up to get her own iced coffee, and talks most passionately about her close schoolfriends from more than 40 years ago, whom she sees as a vital support system.
There’s a lot of smooth, self-deprecating humour – and the practised presenter is always there: her sentences never trail off, and she’s clever at giving a neutral answer (when I ask her about Jeremy Clarkson’s departure from the Beeb, she says it’s a “huge shame”, but “we were never going to keep everyone happy, whatever happened”).