'I'm not a pushover': Despite his twinkly reputation, Gareth Malone insists he is tough when it matters

Cole Moreton finds out!

Is Gareth Malone really as nice as people think? He’ll happily coax a weeping military wife or a distressed shop keeper into singing through the tears, but when was the last time he put himself on the line and sang in public?

“I had to choose the music for the funeral of my grandmother. I said I would like to sing. I found it almost impossible,” admits the nation’s choirmaster. Her name was Patricia and they were very close. She died in 2009, while he was filming the second series of The Choir, the television show that made his name. The hymn he tried to sing was The Lord’s my Shepherd.

“I got halfway through the first verse and I broke down,” he says, shaking his head at the memory. “That is why I had such respect for the Military Wives, and why I prepared them so rigorously beforehand in what it means to sing when you are feeling emotional, and how to get your head around that. Singing for my grandmother, I struggled.”

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