Adam Robertson spoke with comedian and star of Two Doors Down Kieran Hodgson about the 10 things that changed his life.

1 – Cassette tapes read by Kerry Shale

KERRY Shale is a voice actor and when I was a kid I had little stories on cassette tape on a little tape player I’d have on my bed. Whenever I went to sleep, I would listen to these and for some reason Kerry Shale did loads of Roald Dahl and Betsy Byars.

He just had the most amazing range of voices and he did funny accents – and his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he found a different funny voice for every character. His Willy Wonka was German. In my head, Willy Wonka is German and it’s weird to see Gene Wilder (below) playing him with an American accent.

Kerry Shale made me want to do silly voices of my own and copy them and try them out. It was just something about knowing it was the same person doing them all sparked something so early in my life. I was maybe five or six but I’ve turned that into my job.
The National:

I still find it just as enjoyable, changing my voice and trying to do new things with my voice.

2 – West Yorkshire Scouts County Gang Show 1999

I WAS a scout for 13 years – Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. Every three years in West Yorkshire, scouts of all ages came together to put on this show. It was at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax which is bigger than I’ve ever played in since.

It was six months of rehearsals at weekends and you did singing and dancing and comedy sketches. These were scripts that had been around 50 years. We were given this as kids, I was 10 or 11 and was Julius Caesar in the Ancient Rome sketch.

I absolutely loved it. I had the full costume, put on this big booming voice and enjoyed playing to this massive theatre. We were plastered in white make-up and big rosy cheeks so we could be seen under the lights.

It filled me with the excitement of performing and looking back I’ve still got the DVDs of them and heaven knows how anyone sat through them. They were lengthy and terrible.

Because it was 1999, it was just one camera zooming in and out all the time with terrible sound quality. They still do gang shows but I don’t know who goes to see them other than parents.

3 – The Planets suite by Gustav Holst

I REMEMBER one morning before school Dad just got it into his head to put this CD on very loud in the living room of The Planets suite. Instantly, I knew this was my kind of music and it filled me with an excitement and urge to tell people about it and sing it at them.

I sang Jupiter to my friend in the playground and he said: “That’s just the rugby music, what are you doing that for?"

Classical music and playing music in general has been a huge part of my life.

Playing the violin, playing the piano, composing music and then writing a comedy show about classical music. It remains my kind of music. I enjoy many other varieties but I don’t feel that sense of ownership and it was a great gift my parents gave that the house was filled with whatever music you might like.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford on the 10 things that changed his life

My sister was very cool, she went into R&B and I was always asking for Tchaikovsky.

4 – Coming last in the head boy election

I WAS repeatedly described as a “pleasure to teach”. I was pals with the teachers and I assumed it was just my destiny to be head boy of my secondary school, it was inevitable. And then there was the vote that went out to everyone in our year group and they brought us into the headmaster’s office and I had come last.

I could not believe it. I wasn’t even a deputy, I was just out, gone. It was an important lesson in humility and important to learn that there is no such thing as destiny.

I think when you’re a kid, you’re filled with stories about people’s lives and you imagine your life as a story. Those stories show people who are destined to do x, y, z. That’s not true at all and things go in unpredictable, chaotic directions and maybe you shouldn’t waltz through life thinking everything will open up easy-breezy.

My wounded pride on that day has stayed with me and reminds me to this day not to get ahead of myself – and Daniel Kelly was a great head boy.

5 – Kieran and the Joes

THIS was the sketch group I formed when I finished university with my friends Joe and Joe and Tom. There were four of us but only three appeared on stage. I was quite chaotic as a writer and those three had such talent and such clever, strategic brains about how to approach comedy.

I learned so much from them and I think about what they used to tell me all the time in my writing and also it was thanks to them I got a start in comedy. We came out of university with no job. I was too scared to do anything on my own and we grouped together and made four shows over four years.

READ MORE: Eilish McColgan on the 10 things that changed her life

Thanks to them, I got an agent. Thanks to them, I got a kickstart in doing stuff in Edinburgh. And then when we fell apart, I also got something to rebel against. I was like, “all that stuff we did, I’m not going to do it again” but without having those three people at that crucial moment to make everything seem possible, I don’t think it would have happened.

I would have worked as a train driver, that was my second option.

6 – Meeting my husband

I'D never had a proper relationship before with anyone and I always hoped that I’d be good at it but I had no evidence to support this. He took a chance on me and we’ve been together for 14 years.

He is obviously my soulmate and all that but in terms of career, he’s my fiercest and most honest critic, he’s my biggest and proudest cheerleader. He hears the first and worst drafts of everything I do so he has to put up with that and his advice is invaluable because he knows my material better than anyone else and to say if something isn’t worthy.

He’s so invested in what I’m doing that he feels like a partner in crime, a co-producer and a co-writer. I think I would have crumbled doing solo stuff at a far earlier stage without someone I can trust completely, who won’t varnish things and always has my interests completely at heart.

Sometimes I have to say not to be quite so abrupt with criticism. When you come off stage after a preview, all you want to hear is how great it was and then get notes a couple of days later. With all advice, you have to know when to ignore it but it’s invaluable to know it’s agenda-less.

The flip-side is when you create something you love, they can’t get enough of it and that is utterly joyful.

7 – Lance Armstrong

FIRST of all, when I was a teenager and living in Yorkshire and into cycling, he was a great idol and source of excitement – but far more importantly, the story of his decline and my feelings about it made up the show that I did in 2015 called Lance.

The National: Cycling – Tour de France 2009 – Stage Five

That show completely changed my career. It was the first time I had done a solo show that really hit the heights and got lots of great reviews and a tour and an award nomination. Before then, I was tutoring and desperately doing comedy in my spare time.

From that point, comedy just became the sole thing I was doing. I don’t think that it would have been quite as punch-through as a moment if I hadn’t been able to piggyback on the notoriety of Lance Armstrong.

People knew that story and were interested to see a take on it, I wasn’t starting from something obscure. I owe him a debt for providing such a rich and fertile territory for me to make a show out of. Maybe I’ve done better or worse things but that turned my career around.

8 – Becoming vegetarian

THIS seemed like a big change before I did it and when I did do it, it turned out to be incredibly easy and minor. I’d always imagined I’d be crying myself to sleep at night, desperate for a steak or a burger. And then that just didn’t occur.

It was something I had always wanted to do ever since watching the film Babe as a kid but I guess the pressure of habit got in the way. That idea of, “oh, I ought to but I couldn’t possibly” and also living in the cynical world of comedians where often you just think what good will me doing that really do?

I had a conversation with someone who was very sincere – which doesn’t often happen in my world – and they just went on very sincerely for about half an hour about it. All of my internal cynicism just melted and I thought, fair enough, I’ll give it a go. That was 10 years ago.

It’s probably saved me a fair bit of money and made a minor contribution to not wrecking the climate quite so speedily.

9 – Two Doors Down

I MEAN here I am in Glasgow. My specific job title of comedian/actor/writer is very come and go with a lot of unemployment and anxiety about where you’re at. For many years, the safe harbour I was aiming for was a regular role in a sitcom. That’s where you want to be.

That’s the goal and I found myself in this sitcom that I must confess I hadn’t heard of and thought, why not go up to Glasgow for a couple of months? It’s grown and grown and become this thing that millions of people adore and I’m now filming my sixth series in the programme and it was very much the start of my journey to living in Glasgow.

I have met these amazing people involved – the cast, the writers and all of that and it’s now just become a feature of my life. Every year I make this programme.

The National: Everything we know so far as series 7 of BBC comedy Two Doors Down begins

After all the agony you go through in Edinburgh as a solo person trying to scrape up a few dozen people to see your show, I’m now lucky enough to be in something that millions of peoples see and that’s something I’m never not grateful for because it’s so hard to get to.

10 – My new cat

HIS name is Callaghan. He’s a delightful rag-doll kitten and it’s the first time in my life that I’ve had a dependent. It’s changed my life in that I now start every day shovelling cat excrement into a bag which is life goals being met.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Fringe: Colin Cloud on the 10 things that changed his life

I’ve dreamed of having a cat for about 20 years and he’s turned out to be just as wonderful as I suspected. He’s a great aid for working because he just sits on my knee when I’ve got the laptop on there.

I can’t move and have to concentrate on writing. He’s a great aid for that, he’s an emotional support and gives me something to send my friends on WhatsApp in order to keep in touch with them and lure them to Glasgow because it’s a long way away from a number of my friends.