10 minutes in heaven with Diane from The Traitors

Claudia’s fringe, fizzy rosé and the secret song they play before each roundtable: Queen Di reveals all.

Since its first episode aired at the beginning of the month, little has gripped the nation quite like the second season of The Traitors. We’ve had panto villain Paul, egregious name misspellings at the roundtable (“Charlot”, anyone?) and camp one-liners aplenty.

But amongst all the chaos, a firm fan-favourite emerged: retired teacher Diane Carson, or ar Di, whose ascent into the canon of reality TV legend couldn’t be scripted. Last week, she unceremoniously drank from a poisoned chalice of fizzy rosé, killing her off the show. Diane was given a proper cinematic send off, at least, as her body was put to rest” in a coffin in the Scottish Highlands. How’s that for a hangover?

Zooming in from her home in Lancashire, sat on a velour green sofa that matched her shirt, she told us all about it…

Hi, Diane! How was your weekend?

I’m still recovering, obviously. It’s not every day you get carried around in a coffin.

How does it feel to be the nation’s newly-crowned sweetheart?

It’s all a bit beyond me. My kids filter through my social media and tell me what’s going on. I had two posts on Instagram before all this, with about 10 followers – and I only knew about four of them! Why would anyone be interested in that? My kids post all the good bits on our family group and take the piss, basically.

What’s been your favourite meme so far?

That drawing of me with the smallest waist in the world, walking along with Paddington and the queen’s corgi. I like that! That’s very flattering.

You should get it printed and framed.

Yes, I might do, actually.

Who has a better fringe, you or Claudia?

Claudia, without a shadow of a doubt. Hers is perfectly straight. I can never get mine to go like that.

What was it like experiencing your own funeral?

We’re a family of actors, so we’re used to props and everything else. I loved all the drama, the mist and everything else. I was happy Ross was saved. To be honest, I was delighted that I was in for much longer than I’d expected. Receiving a letter on a chair is a bit harsh, isn’t it? [And] going out in a coffin, but it was much more fun. I managed to say goodbye to Ross from the grave.

What was going through your mind during the procession?

Zack was quite anxious beside me – he suffers from anxiety so I was concerned about calming him down. Then once I knew Ross was OK, my fate was sealed. Paul was yapping away at me, asking me the same questions over and over again, which was quite annoying. But it was me and that’s fine.

What’s it been like going back to normal life?

My friends are still in a state of shock, actually. One of them texted me yesterday saying, God, can I not get away from you?” And somebody said to me today, You’re just everywhere!” My daughter looks after my Instagram and last night she did a live. I was like, really? I’m sitting here chilling and you want to do this? And, of course, I have the biggest spot on my nose, like, ever. But we’re having a bit of fun with it.

Have you had any funny fan interactions?

I got back to Preston the other day and a man ran down the platform to ask for a photograph, an older man. I’d had the train journey from hell. Someone was trying to get into my seat for starters, telling me I had the wrong ticket. So when that guy asked for a photograph, I was like, Er, not really…” Then he was so nice and apologetic, I thought it was probably me being snarky, so I said OK. I just find it odd. I did the breakfast channel last week and there was an office full of people who got up and clapped. It’s just mad, absolutely mad. I’m bemused by it all.

“[Ross] should have been a traitor from the beginning! He would have been an amazing traitor. He didn’t want to wear the cloak – he didn’t think it’d do his image any good”

What encouraged you and Ross to apply together?

I got about three quarters of the way through [the application process] and they said, Would a member of your family like to take part?” Two of them have got children. Ross has a business, but I thought he could give his business partner some of the work to do. At first he was like, You’re going to tell me what to do on national TV and I’m not having that.” I told him, Well, I’ll be telling everyone what to do so there’s no difference.”

How seriously did you take the game?

Well, it’s a game, you know. Some other [contestants] had strategies, [were working on] spreadsheets in their beds at night, going through all the different strategies. I’m not up for that. I was concentrating on staying alive until the next day. I would have loved to have stayed in longer, but I got to the seventh episode and that’s alright. I’m quite opinionated, so…

How do you feel about Ross being a traitor?

He should have been a traitor from the beginning! He would have been an amazing traitor. He didn’t want to wear the cloak – he didn’t think it’d do his image any good. He wasn’t having it! But I know that if I’d said something that annoyed him he probably would’ve murdered me.

You always said you could never be a traitor. Did the cloak put you off, too?

I just have to be me. But I made the mistake of telling Miles that I could never be a traitor. And actually, halfway through, as more and more of us were being killed, I thought, I could definitely do this. After surviving that three-way banishment, I didn’t think I was ever going to be banished again. I thought I’d absolutely established I was a faithful. Even the reveal about Ross being my son – it was a bit of fun. It didn’t do us any good because we didn’t agree on anything. It was lovely having him there, even though he did insult my roast dinners.

What’s something us viewers would be surprised to learn about the show?

The roundtable was like no experience I’ve ever had in my life. They don’t show viewers this, and I don’t know if it’s a copyright thing, but they play that Hanging Tree song for five to ten minutes before we actually start talking. So you’re sitting there with all that going on, cameras whizzing up and down. We all know it’s a game but it really plays with your head. But I tell you what, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Are you put off fizzy rosé for life?

Sadly not. The hangovers continue!

Who deserves to win this season of The Traitors?

I am very fond of Mollie and Evie. I think they’re gorgeous girls. Mollie doesn’t let anyone define her. Mollie, Evie and I got on like a house on fire. But blood is thicker than water. So Ross, there you go.

If Ross wins, will he have to split the money with you?

Oh, absolutely.

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