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Clara Amfo on why Christmas is key to her career and shows big love for Wham!

Radio royalty: Clara Amfo will present Top Of The Pops on Christmas Day

You’re presenting the Top Of The Pops Christmas show? Are you looking forward to it?

Always — there are shows you watch as a kid that you hope you’ll get a chance to present. I’m very excited. Everyone loves Top Of The Pops — it’s in the fabric of British pop culture. I remember watching it when I was growing up. It’s such a well-known brand, so to be in the background when people are opening their presents or getting ready for Christmas dinner is very special.

Is it true you got your lucky break at Christmas time?

I was an intern at Kiss FM and I was so happy to be there. I had an opinion about everything as I was passionate about radio and the music. It was around Christmas time — people were going away on holiday and my boss let me go on air. He let me pre-record a Christmas Day show and do some links. It went from there and I ended up getting a show.

Poignant: Wham!’s Last Christmas

What are your favourite Christmas songs?

Last Christmas by Wham! You can’t not think of George Michael at this time of year as it’s when we lost him and people remember where they were when they found out. He could have released it at any time of the year with a couple of lyric changes as it speaks to raw heartbreak everyone’s been through. I also love Little Drummer Boy by David Bowie and Bing Crosby, This Christmas by Donny Hathaway, 8 Days Of Christmas by Destiny’s Child and All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah.

Festive duo: Bowie and Bing’s Little Drummer Boy
Classic: Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You

Is New Year’s Eve always an anti-climax?

No, because I plan it carefully and try to be out of the country. I’ve celebrated it in Brazil, Ghana and Sweden. I’m intrigued to see how people party in other parts of the world. New Year’s Eve in Brazil was incredible — I’ve never seen fireworks like it.

You’ve just finished Live Lounge month on Radio 1 — who impressed you?

Christine And The Queens, The 1975 — it was nice to have them back — and Halsey was really impressive. She did a stripped-back vocal of Lucid Dreams and her latest single, Without Me. She sounded amazing.

Impressive: Halsey sang on Radio 1’s Live Lounge

You’re doing a radio documentary about voguing — is it difficult that you can’t show the dancing?

That’s the fun part. I like words, I use them daily and it’s my duty as the presenter on a quest for knowledge about voguing to describe it and we encourage people to look things up later. It’s also about more than the dancing — people have found friends, community and confidence in the voguing community. And there are all the stories to tell about how great house music that people listen to in commercial clubs comes from the gay scene — and you don’t need visuals for that as the stories tell themselves.

How’s your own voguing?

I’ve been working with Jay Jay Revlon who organises vogue balls. He’s taught me a few steps but I am by no means a professional. It makes you feel great.

Were you disappointed to leave MasterChef in the first week?

I was a bit. If I’d got my rice right I would have got through. I think me and John Torode would have got on.

And finally, why have you taken up boxing?

It’s a good way to keep fit and de-stress. My friend Georgie re-trained as a fitness instructor and now she trains me — we go sparring twice a week. I’ve got a really good right hook.

Amfo co-presents Top Of The Pops on Christmas Day at 12.30pm and on December 29 at 5.10pm, both on BBC1