Nina Sosanya: ‘My greatest regret is not having a dog’

My childhood was idyllic. It was full of animals. We rescued goats and chickens and geese. I grew up in north London, but the rest of my family was in Lincolnshire, so we were always shuttling back and forth. My childhood was a cross between the Famous Five and Hundred Acre Wood. I was sporty and a bookworm, a city girl and a farm girl.

I don’t throw anything away. It’s not that I’m a hoarder, I just always think I’m going to find a use for something and I can’t bear to let something go off into the great unknown. I live for that moment when you finally find a use for something you’ve kept for five years and has been ruining your house.

My nan’s brother would collect and fix clockwork and mechanical things. I do the same. It can stray into collecting junk, but ultimately it’s a way of life – seeing the inherent use in things.

My dream role used to be Henry V, but it all seems a bit aggressive and violent. So now I want to play a flawed, reluctantly heroic adventurer, preferably one who’s trying to save an endangered species. A naturalist Indiana Jones type. Or an astronaut.

My partner and I were once invited to a screening of Blue Planet. We sat down in front of a reserved seat that said: “For David Attenborough.” We tried not to earwig, but everything he said we repeated back to each other, which must have completely freaked him out. I never really met him, so he remains a demigod to me.

There’s nothing wrong with fame. It’s nice to be recognised for the work you do. Some people are so good at fame, but I’ve also seen people have their liberties taken away. I don’t have any desire to be more famous. I reserve the right to make mistakes and change my mind about things – and to go out the door looking weird.

I recently read poems my nan had written. She died a few years ago and I hadn’t wanted to read them at the time. There’s a poem in there called Treasures, about the family and her love for us. She was constantly telling us how brilliant and amazing we all were. She was a very positive lady.

My greatest regret is not having a dog. When we lived on a sheep farm, we weren’t allowed one, so I’ve always yearned for one. I’ll get a rescue one day. I’m not into that whole pedigree thing.

I’m scared of spiders, so I’m trying to understand them. There’s a white crab spider that lives in our roses. White crab spiders are small – I’m going from small to big. That’s the way to beat it.

I’m interested in everything. I like going to places on my own. I like watching and observing people and birds. I’m a bird watcher, but I don’t tick off species. I just watch them and stalk.

Little Birds airs on 4 August on Sky Atlantic and Now TV


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