So when we organize a Zoom discussion with Dr Ranj Singh from the TV, we don’t know in what state we will find it.
Her smiling face appears frequently this morning, awarded her a BAFTA for her show CBeebies Get Well Soon, and proved popular in Strictly Come Dancing in 2018
But as the coronavirus tightened its deadly grip across Britain, Dr. Ranj decided to step back from his media work and focus on supporting the NHS.
Breastfeeding coffee in his South West London kitchen – think of shiny gray surfaces and clean white lines (“I hate clutter, I’m very tidy”) – pediatric consultant A&E looks surprisingly fresh.
The megawatt smile is frequently displayed, and its branded quiff remains immaculate.
“It’s something I do every day,” he admits. “When all the other routines are out the window, I always wake up, make my bed, take a shower and do my hair. I can do it in 10 minutes now – brushing, hair spray – done. ”
In addition to working at Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital – which saved the Prime Minister’s life last month – Dr. Ranj sang on the charity cover of Bill Withers’ Lean On Me, with Beverley Knight, Joss Stone and d others to raise money for the NHS.
Here, Ranj – who is currently single – talks about life on the front line, his missed social life and how the lockdown made him drink …
How did it go on the front line?
My work at the NHS is always a priority. It’s my passion, my driving force, my bread and my butter. In other periods, I did more media work, but as the crisis erupted, I knew that my work at the NHS would become more important.
I’m lucky to have a goal and I’m so glad I played a small part in helping. When I first heard Thursday’s applause, I became very moved.
We don’t always get that kind of feedback or gratitude, it’s so nice to have that “thank you”. I am extremely proud to be part of the NHS.
How scared were you of the epidemic?
There was never any hesitation in going to the front line, but there was certainly apprehension – we didn’t know how this virus would affect our patients. Or U.S.
But I am single, I have no dependents, I do not put anyone in danger by working in hospitals. I work silly hours on call, but at least I don’t bother anyone coming and going.
And if there was a silver lining in all of this, it was that the coronavirus spared young people and children, to a large extent. But the sad reality is that there will always be a tragedy, no matter how difficult we work with it.
You must have witnessed horrible things?
We have had children in intensive care, some because of the coronavirus, and some have unfortunately died. Losing a child is never easy, you can never prepare for it, and the impact on families is devastating.
People fail to realize that doctors and nurses are still human and very affected by the loss of a child. I take it with me and wonder if there was anything else I could have done.
I cried with the parents. One of the most powerful things we can do as doctors is to show our humanity, we are in the same boat. Last week, I hit a wall, I felt sad, my legs were like lead, and I desperately failed to connect with people.
I thought, you have the right to smell the pants, and I had a little cry. These difficult, difficult and difficult days are coming to all of us and it is good to admit it.
Did the atmosphere in the hospital change when Boris Johnson was admitted?
Normally, you don’t camp vans for the media outside!
We were all on our best behavior, but everyone was a fact about it, when dealing with sick people, that’s how it is. It has shown that coronavirus can affect anyone.
One thing he did was wake up the nation and realize that it was very real, people suddenly took social distance much more seriously.
How do you relax after a hard day at work?
After a long day, I go into my bodysuit, make a nice Disney movie or a few episodes of Friends, and I go out. I have a tiny balcony overlooking a roundabout, but I like the hustle and bustle, it keeps me from feeling lonely.
Normally, I never drink alcohol at home, but locked out, I broke this rule and I drink with friends on Houseparty and Zoom.
Have you always liked a bit of a song, but have you ever imagined that you would be playing with Joss Stone and co?
Singing is something I love since I was a kid, it makes me feel good. I’m in a Glee choir and someone in the group called to say that he was doing a charitable single.
Before finishing the sentence, I said “YES”. It’s for a great cause and a tribute to the late Bill Withers. What a dream come true.
Making a single in isolation must have been difficult?
We were sent backing tracks, then we had to film ourselves at home singing them. I set up a mini desk in my kitchen, with a computer and a microphone, so I was ready to go.
This is where I spend my time at home, in the tracksuit bottoms because it might encourage me to exercise. And a gray T-shirt so I can quickly hit a jacket on top if I have to be smart for a Skype call. From day to evening – boom!
You spoke with emotion about the difficulty with which you found your way out 10 years ago. Is society more tolerant now?
It was a very difficult time in my life, there was a lot of sadness. But after talking about it, the response was incredible. So many people came forward and said they were in a similar situation and it helped them. It was a painful thing to experience, for everyone involved.
Some people know who they are early on, others take longer. I feel extremely proud and somewhat jealous of today’s young people, they live in a much more tolerant society. I would like to grow up now!
You’re great with kids, do you want yours?
I hope it’s on the cards for me, but being a parent is a huge undertaking. My life should change dramatically and I should make sacrifices.
I would also potentially be with the right person, even if I would not be opposed to having children by myself if I could provide a loving, caring and safe environment.
After experiencing marriage, would you marry again?
Given that I’m older, more experienced, and hopefully wiser now, I don’t think marriage is necessary to show that you are committed. It is more important that you are in a romantic relationship where you respect each other, have fun together and enrich each other’s lives.
I would not exclude it, but I would not actively strive to do it again. I do not think I will meet anyone during the coronavirus, it is difficult so far at the moment. Not in the traditional sense at least.
Let’s be a little light…
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I recently organized a live ballet performance. I was very nervous, completely honest and decent in my suit. I was thrilled to reach the end – only to realize that my flies had been wide open all the time.
Where is the strangest place you were asked for a selfie?
I work with very poor children, and moms and dads asked me for photos at the bedside when I had to explain that in fact their child is quite sick and that it is inappropriate.
My rule is that at the time of the NHS, I will not take selfies, but if I’m at the supermarket or elsewhere, I’m fine.
What are your best attributes?
When I do something, I do it right. I give everything. I threw myself into Strictly and I was not afraid to try it. You have to make the most of every opportunity you threw at yourself, you only have one life.
… And worse?
I can’t say no, I can sometimes run out.
What is the first thing you will do when normality returns?
Meet friends, go to a bar, watch a drag show and have a great dance to pop music. It’s my favorite thing to do and I can’t wait.
Have you learned new locking skills?
I now make an average Cosmopolitan, Espresso Martini and Frosé, which is a frozen rosé with strawberries. I discovered this in LA last year when I met my friend David Ames [Holby City’s Dominic].
We did not know that Frosés existed such a large and contained vodka. After two, we were both very happy.
A cold and refreshing wine slip? Mmm, yes please!
In a blender, combine half a bottle of rosé, a cup of strawberries, a generous ball of vodka and lemon juice. Add a little ice and mix until the snow melts. Garnish with fresh strawberries.
– The single LHS On Me from NHS Relief is now available. To donate to NHS Charities Together CLICK HERE