The Chase’s Anne Hegerty has admitted that she chose her foreboding alias The Governess because it sounded “more kinky” than The Headmistress.
The intimidating quiz show regular became attached to the nickname after the ITV programme’s host Bradley Walsh suggested it.
But while her look may remind some viewers of the nightmarish Roald Dahl school principal Miss Trunchbull, she said it’s the governors who really hold the power.
Speaking to ITV’s Loose Women following a makeover on Thursday, she said: “Originally I was going to be called The Headmistress, and then during rehearsals Brad started occasionally referring to me as The Governess.
“I said to producers ‘could I be that instead?’ and I think what I said to them was ‘it’s more kinky’.
“What I meant was that the headmistress has always got a board of governors and Ofsted and she can’t do everything she wants; a governess is a free agent.”
The fiercely intelligent TV star, 59, attributed her ability to concentrate on texts and remember vast amounts of facts to her autism, but admitted that it had caused her to be a “nuisance” to people she has worked with in the past.
After being finally diagnosed less that 10 years ago, she said: “I started out as a journalist and around about 1990 I realised I was sick and tired of being edited and wanted to do the editing, so I moved into publishing.
“I gradually realised that I had trouble multi-tasking… a lot of people didn’t get that, which is fair enough.
“Then I happened to see a TV programme about little autistic boys and something about it kind of clicked, and I thought ‘there is something about the way those boys were behaving that reminds me of me now and of me when I was a child’.
“It took about two years to find someone who was qualified to diagnose and eventually I went to a doctor who specialised in people with special needs.”
Hegerty also credited her role on the popular daytime quiz show to a “terribly helpful” social worker who helped her fill out applications after her difficulties at work reached the point where two bailiffs appeared on her doorstep because she was failing to pay bills.
“I love doing The Chase,” she told the panel. “It’s been fantastic and I hope it goes on being fantastic… but that is not what I would have chosen to wear.”