Then, when I recorded Move It, he asked me: “Do you really want this?

I told my cameraman to focus on the old man, and not on me, in case Mr Mahoney was watching. Lisa Armstrong, Telegraph fashion editor My mother taught me how to remain sane when faced with the implacable logic of small children: always give them choice, but controlled choice with inbuilt distraction. ” but “would you like to eat your vegetables from a green or a yellow plate? Tim Rice, lyricist and author My mum, circa 1955, told me: “Make new friends but stick to old, one is silver, the other gold”. Julian Fellowes, actor and writer The best piece of advice I ever received was from my mother: “If you want to be happily married, marry a happy person.” I am glad to say I took her at her word. Jack Straw, former Home and Foreign Secretary When Barbara Castle was appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Security, after Labour unexpectedly won the 1974 General Election, she asked me, then a barrister who knew nothing about health or social security, to be her special adviser.

My head of chambers at the time, Sir Edward Gardner MP, asked me: “In 20 years’ time, would you rather be in the British Cabinet or a High Court judge?

Richard Madeley, TV presenter Passed on to me by the playwright John Mortimer, who received it in turn from his father: “All advice is useless.” 32.

Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen, campaigner and writer The best advice I have been given, especially since January when my son’s killers were sentenced, is: “Your strength and courage is admired by many. Xanthe Clay, Telegraph food columnist I once put out a request for dinner party tips in Weekend.

If you have the leisure to think about it, you have time to do it. Esther Rantzen, journalist and founder of Child Line I like this 2,000 year old advice by Rabbi Hillel: “If I am not for me, who will be? However, selfishness is empty, so ensure that you make a positive difference to others, and do it now.” 4.

Cliff Richard, singer When I was getting serious about singing, my father told me that if I didn’t make it there was still a life to be lived.

We can all recognise the wisdom in really good advice but when we are hunched, sobbing on the bed, very little really helps.

Of course, I know what the Persian Sufi poets said: “This, too, will pass,” but in reality, until it does, I’m going to feel like moving to Minsk to start a new life.

We still fall over, lose our way and get grit in our shoes. Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur My mother, Eve, always taught me never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing.

But somehow being sure of a truth, no matter what it may be, gives us hope. A setback is never a bad experience, just another one of life’s lessons. Lionel Shriver, author Sage advice from my old friend Ruth Dudley Edwards is “Get on with it”, a sound approach to everything. ” I think it means: “Sort yourself out, protect yourself and ensure your own survival – if you don’t, you can achieve nothing.

Sir Roy Strong, art historian Never be seduced by any position you hold and always be first and foremost yourself. My then flatmate, Michael Borrie, told me that when I was appointed director of the National Portrait Gallery, at the tender age of 31, in 1967. Victoria Moore, Telegraph wine writer You always have more options than you think you have.