This Morning’s Dr Ranj opens doors of stunning London home as he reveals he has a fear of ageing and the dark

The name Ranj Singh might ring fewer bells than a derelict church, but Dr Ranj instantly conjures up an image of the smiley doctor who solves our medical queries on TV.

When the 40-year-old isn’t appearing on This Morning or filming his new ITV show Dr Ranj: On Call, he’s working for the NHS, specialising in paediatric emergency medicine.

As OK! arrive at his south London flat, we’re hit with a lovely fresh scent – one that could only be achieved by dropping a sizeable chunk of your pay cheque on candles and diffusers. Even Mrs Hinch would be impressed with the cleanliness!

“It’s so strange watching people take photos of my home. It feels like a crime scene,” he laughs as OK!’s photographer gets to work. An infectious smile lights up his face as it does at the end of every one of his sentences.

Perching carefully on the edge of his sofa so he doesn’t mess up his cushions, Dr Ranj chats to us about his This Morning family, coronavirus and accepting himself after splitting with his wife in 2008…

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How does it feel to have your own TV show?

I’m very proud! It’s a bit of a dream come true. It’s been over a year in the planning, so I was nervous for people to see it, but the response has been good.

Did you always want to work in TV?

I didn’t leave university in 2003 thinking, “I want to go on telly.” I just wanted to be a doctor, but, about five years later, an opportunity came up to work with the BBC. Working in the NHS is full-on and I needed a bit of an outlet so I agreed to do some TV as a hobby. One thing led to another, and it’s become a second career.

Is it important for you to keep your job as a doctor?

It’s too important to me to ever stop. Why would I give up the best job in the world? I love working with children and love what the NHS represents, and that is what drives everything else. I work more hours than I ever have done but I find it so enjoyable. I hope I can do both jobs for a long time.

Are your family proud of you?

Yeah, and we’ve got so much closer as I’ve got older. I went through a period where there was always a little bit of angst between me and my family. We didn’t always see eye to eye on things. But from my thirties onwards, we all got on really well. I think being able to be open, happy and comfortable with myself means I’ve been much more open and comfortable with everybody else. They’ve been fantastically supportive.

Do you get recognised at the hospital?

Yes. The most common question I get asked is, “Are you a real doctor?” My acting skills are really not that good. The parents can sometimes get a bit excited so I have to remind them that we’re in a hospital. I do have a no selfie policy at work, just because it’s not appropriate. Outside work, the more the merrier!

How was your Strictly Come Dancing experience [in 2018]?

Simply amazing. Without it I might not have my own show as it gave me a bigger platform. However, during Strictly I began to suffer quite badly with anxiety and it really came to a head. But I learned how to deal with it and now I can manage it so much better.

Are you still dancing?

Yes, all the time and I recommend it to patients as it’s a fun way to exercise. I’m even thinking of becoming a Zumba instructor. I did a cheeky performance with Janette [Manrara] on my 40th birthday in one of the outfits from Strictly. I may have fallen over, but I’m blaming the floor and my shoes!

You’re also in a choir…

I’m in a show choir, and we’ve performed at the Royal Albert Hall twice for charity. I got everyone to turn their phone camera lights on and hold them up like Adele does. I’d love to do something like a Christmas album where all the profits go to the NHS. I could get my celebrity friends involved. Music has always been a passion of mine and I’d like to focus on it more this year. I like to push myself out
of my comfort zone.

Do people ask you medical questions when you’re out and about?

Yes, often in the supermarket, or at family functions. I don’t really want to know about their history, or the ins and outs of their personal life. That’s when I use the excuse, “I’m a paediatrician so I’m not the best person.”

Are people asking you about coronavirus?

There are a lot of questions about it at the moment. People are panicking about what they see on the news but it’s not always as bad as it seems. We need to remind people that it’s the simple stuff like washing our hands regularly. And now, more than ever, we need to use our NHS responsibly while it’s under extra pressure. The vast majority of people with coronavirus will be able to look after themselves at home.

Are you dating at the moment?

I’m single and I’m actually quite happy unless someone comes along and swipes me off my feet. I just said swipe, but I meant sweep – that’s how instilled in us dating apps are! A few weeks ago, somebody asked me, “Why are you single?” and it almost felt like they were saying, “What’s wrong with you? Is it six toes? An extra nipple?” Being single can also be a choice. There is so much pressure to be with someone, and then there’s apps and TV shows about coupling up. It’s all fabulous, but sometimes it’s good to be single. You can’t be happy with someone else until you’re happy with yourself.

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Are you on exclusive dating app Raya?

I was, but I didn’t like it. It’s not very personal and everybody lives in America. You do see some amazing people and you’re like, “Wow, you’re on here!” I never got a response from any of them [laughs]. I’m on Hinge at the moment out of solidarity with a friend, which is actually a lot more fun. She’s had more success than me. I’ve not actually met anyone yet.

How did you feel about turning 40?

One of my biggest fears is growing old so turning 40 was a big deal. In your thirties you can kind of still get away with stuff, but now I’m a grown up. I did have a big party to celebrate, though. My thirties were the making of me. I came into my own in that decade.

What would you tell your younger self?

It’s about to get so much better. You’re going to do things that you never would have imagined in your wildest dreams. You’re going to love life so don’t worry. You can’t appreciate the good stuff until you’ve been through the hard times.

What has been your biggest lesson so far?

Take every opportunity you can, but don’t forget to look after yourself. Not that long ago I was burning out, and it took a lot of courage for me to realise and act on it. As somebody whose job it is to look after others it’s easy to forget to look after myself. We may think doctors are invincible, but we’re human too.

You still look very young…

People ask for my skincare regime, but all I do is moisturise! Also I’m not somebody who denies myself anything – I like to have a drink and eat junk food. Just don’t do anything to excess. I had chocolate eggs for breakfast today, but it’s not something I do every day.

Being on TV, do you feel pressure to look a certain way?

I definitely feel pressure and I’m my biggest critic. I’m like, “Oh no, not the best choice of outfit” or “sort your hair out” when I watch myself back. I do try to look my best but I remind myself I’m doing it because it makes me feel good, not for anybody else. I get support and advice from the whole This Morning family including Holly [Willoughby] and Phil [Schofield]. We’re like a family, and they’ve been in the business a lot longer so it’s really nice to be able to rely on that. We’re all there for each other. For example Holly asks me for medical advice for her children and then I’ll text Gok Wan if I want some fashion guidance. There’s a lot of coronavirus chat from everyone at the moment!

How has Phil been?

He’s always been fantastic and supportive of me, so when everything was going on with him I messaged him and said, “Just want to make sure you’re okay and I’m here if you ever need to chat. I’ve been through a similar situation where I split from my wife in 2008 and came out as gay, so I’m always here.” He was really appreciative.

How long have you lived in this flat?

Nearly three years. This is the first time I’ve lived by myself and I love it to the point that I’m worried I won’t want to live with anyone ever again. It’s my own little sanctuary. I don’t have any curtains because they make me feel claustrophobic, but I’m on the fourth floor so I can walk around naked. I sleep with the hallway light on and the door open too. I’m a 40-year-old man who’s scared of the dark [laughs]! I dated someone who wanted pitch black, which was a struggle.

What made you want to live here?

I’ve always wanted to live here because it’s an amazing location. I can go for walks along the river and we have our own little community. We’ve got a supermarket, a gym, a cake shop and a concierge office. I’m on the property ladder by myself, which isn’t easy – especially in London. The dream is to also buy somewhere out of London as a little getaway.

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