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Ruth Madeley is here to make the entertainment industry more inclusive for people with disabilities

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Five Minute Philosopher is a weekly series in which Stylist gets profound with people we love. What will the Years and Years actor make of our existential questions?

What is the meaning of life?

I once read the quote, ‘Why are we here, if not to live with unreasonable passion for things?’ and it’s something I live my life by now.

What is the difference between right and wrong?

It’s a gut feeling. But, at the same time, it can be about perspective. It can depend which side of the table you’re sitting on.

Where is your happy place?

At home in Bolton. I stay in a lot of hotels when I’m working, so I dream of my own bed and being surrounded by my own things.

Nature or nurture?

Both are really important, but as a person I’m definitely more of a nurturer – not always to my benefit.

Is it more important to be liked or respected?

Liked. I think people are more likely to respect you if they like you.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

For helping to make the entertainment industry more inclusive for people with disabilities (I have spina bifida). I hope I’ve made the journey for people coming after me a little bit less rocky.

Who or what is your greatest love?

My other half, Joe. We have known each other since we were kids – I can’t seem to get rid of him and vice versa.

When did you last lie?

This morning, when I told Joe I’d be ready in five minutes. I tell that lie pretty much every day. 

Does the supernatural exist?

Probably. I think it’s a bit naive to think that it doesn’t.

Are you fatalistic?

Yeah. I believe that everything happens for a reason, but that we also have a responsibility to make the best out of every situation we’re in.

What is your greatest fear?

Being the same as everybody else. Growing up, I was never like anyone else, so it has been instilled in me that being different is something to keep pushing for.

Animals or babies?

Animals! I’m obsessed. If I could, I’d have alpaca in the back garden.

What talent do you yearn for?

To be able to sing. When I’m singing in the car I feel like Beyoncé, but people tell me differently.

Do you like to be complimented?

I think everybody does, but I don’t always know how to take it. Most of the time I tell the person to stop being silly.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

Yes. That’s not always a good thing.

What book do you recommend most to others?

Anything written by Erin Kelly. She followed me on Twitter a few years ago and you would genuinely think that the Queen had started following me by my reaction. I was so excited.

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

Knowing when to rest and when to stop. I’m still learning that.

What food sums up happiness?

Any sort of Italian food. I’m a proper pasta fiend.

What have you never understood?

Animal cruelty. I’ve never understood why someone would want to get an animal just to abuse it.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

I am a naturally nosy person, so there’s loads: what the cure for cancer is, how to make the perfect lasagne. From the serious to the trivial. But I don’t think it’s our place to know everything, and that’s fine too.

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

No, not at all really. Where there’s life, there’s death, and I’m perfectly happy with that.

Quinoa or Quavers?

Quavers, all day every day! I want to be the person who chooses quinoa, but I’m not – crisps are my downfall.

Years And Years starts on Tuesday 14 May at 9pm on BBC One

Images: Supplied

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