Originally she had been a straight actor, working at the Royal Shakespeare Company alongside Juliet Stevenson.
Her popularity in terms of comedy came from her interviewing skills in which she was always forthright, brash and loud, conforming to the British stereotype of an American. Her physical appearance conformed to this image, with large hair and blood-red lipstick.
Many of her early television shows involved her being put into a situation where she simply met and interviewed people, mostly extraordinary members of the public (including a memorable visit to pre-breakup Soviet Russia in which she first hated and then touchingly made friends with her female translator, explaining in ways that words can't the grim situation in the country at the time).
More recently she's made a career from interviewing celebrities such as Imelda Marcos and Pamela Anderson, where she again applies her abrasive and cheeky interviewing style, often to jaw-dropping effect. She also makes many guest appearances in Absolutely Fabulous and other similar sitcoms.
She is married to television producer and director Ed Bye.