INTERVIEW BY CARRIE COSGROVE
PICTURES BY DOUG MOODY
After finding fame as Jet on TV’s Gladiators, hosting the mid-morning show on BBC Tees and becoming a qualified psychotherapist, Diane Youdale has come a long way from gymnastics classes at the Billingham Forum.
Her latest project, Jet Loves, brings together her passions for fitness, nutrition and mental wellbeing. She offers a range of services to help clients live happier, healthier lives.
Born in Middlesbrough, raised in Billingham and now based in Manchester, Diane returns to Teesside regularly to see friends and family. Her father, the late Jack Youdale, played a key role in opening the Wynyard Planetarium and Observatory. We caught up with her at nearby Wynyard Hall…
The restaurants I love to eat in are… Café Sapore in Hartburn, and you’ll often find me hanging out at the Dun Cow in Sedgefield.
The meal I order most of all is… sushi when it’s available. I love anything light and fresh, especially green soups. They’re so detoxifying.
My favourite tipple is… sauvignon or prosecco – ice cold and dry.
The thing I spend too much money on is… petrol! I have friends, family and work commitments all over the country, although I’m doing a lot more work online now.
For a day out, I… visit the Gables at Escomb. I’m about to start lecturing there and it’s beautiful – it feels like a real retreat, but it’s much closer for people on Teesside than somewhere like the Lake District.
One place on Teesside I’d like to visit is… I would love to walk all the way up the Tees, right through Yarm and beyond. I’m fascinated by the history of the river and there are some beautiful views, so it would be amazing to take it all in on one long walk.
In my downtime, I like nothing better than… walking – it’s one of my biggest pleasures, and I love to surf too.
My perfect night out involves… a great restaurant with my favourite friends or family.
My perfect night in involves… reading or good documentaries. I’m fascinated by ancient cultures and the history of the North-East.
People in life
The biggest influence on my career was… my dad, who passed away last year. As an astronomer, he contributed to the BBC for over 40 years. He’s very much missed.
The people who make me laugh are… my walking partner – who will have to remain nameless – and my friend Ian Rae. They don’t try to be funny, but there’s just something about their observations and the way they talk!
The person who inspires me is… actress Liz Carling, who most people will know from Boon, Casualty and Goodnight Sweetheart. I met her at the National Youth Theatre in 1986 and we’ve been good friends ever since. She’s so committed to her acting and she’s a Teessider through and through!
The people who make me angry are… illmannered people.
A book I love is… The Running Hare: The Secret Life of Farmland by John Lewis-Stempel. It’s a beautifully written insight into the importance of stripping our environment back to basics.
A film I love is… Into the West.
A TV programme I love is… Coast. Actually, anything by Alice Roberts!
A song I love is… Bring Down the Rain by Glacier, my brother’s prog rock band. John is such an inspiration – he’s written eight beautiful albums, as well as working for 40 years with children who have special needs.
A holiday destination I love is… the Scottish Highlands. It’s got everything I want.
My greatest achievement was… helping some very poorly people, as part of my psychotherapy work.
My biggest disappointment was… I’ve been very blessed not to have many, although as a therapist I find it disappointing when I meet people who aren’t taking responsibility for their own health and happiness.
My business mantra is… value and believe in what you do, because you’ll soon get found out if you don’t!
The alternative career I might have had was… journalism. After injuring my back while working on Gladiators, I chose to pursue psychotherapy over a career in journalism. The two fields are actually very similar – I was doing a lot of TV presenting at the time and I loved doing interviews, but I wanted to do something a bit deeper and more personal.
My favourite place on Teesside is… a section of the Cleveland Way, along the cliff edge near Saltburn beach. You get the most incredible view of the iron sculptures and right up the coast towards Hartlepool and beyond. For me, the whole history of Teesside is right there in one view.
Find out more about Diane’s coaching services at patreon.com/jetloves.