Early in 2003, while head of the Good Housekeeping Institute (the consumer and cookery departments of the magazine), I was invited to take a screen test alongside housekeeper Kim Woodburn. Just a few months later Channel 4’s How Clean is your House? became an instant hit with over four million viewers. The show ran for six series, plus two produced in the US. The How Clean? format was sold to numerous countries around the world and the UK version currently airs in 16 of them – from Norway to Namibia!
I was born in Rothiemurchus, Aviemore in 1955 and left in 1973 for Aberdeen to study to be a bilingual secretary, after which I went to work for the Foreign Office in London. On my first day I was told I was actually at MI6 and did I want to stay with them or go and work for the real Foreign Office? Always one to favour a challenge, I agreed to stay and take on a Miss Moneypenny role. After two years I was offered an overseas posting but felt I was not cut out for embassy life so I left to spread my wings and pursue a career in women’s magazines, which eventually led me to Good Housekeeping.
As the Dirt Detective who swabs surfaces then delivers the grim results, Kim and I have produced three books: How Clean is your House?, Too Posh to Wash and The Cleaning Bible. My long-running weekly domestic column in the Saturday Times is now published as a book, Ask Aggie (Penguin, £7.99). I also write a monthly food page in Good Housekeeping.