Did you know that Katy Brand grew up in Oxford and went to university here? Yet her impersonations of the Queen and Amy Winehouse are a long way from a theology degree. So where did it all go right?

“I grew up in Summertown, before moving to Amersham when I was about eight,” Katy says, surprisingly serious for once. “My dad and grand-dad were professional musicians, so there was always a strong performing background in my family.”

Home life aside, Katy says school was very ordinary, and she certainly had no aspirations for a life in comedy, except as the class fool. “I was a very silly school pupil with lots of silly friends – I was constantly being sent out of the class for laughing at the wrong times.

“And then when I was about 13 I took it upon myself to become a Christian – my Dad thought this was hilarious, as I preached fire and brimstone at home, but he was right – I did grow out of it.”

It wasn’t until Katy came to Oxford to study theology that she decided against religion. “It was initially about my faith, but as I learnt more and became more excited about university life, my beliefs took a back seat and then disappeared altogether,” she remembers. “I threw myself into drama, comedy, sport and full-on partying.”

And yet Katy wonders whether her love of celebrity stems from her student years. “Well in many ways, Jesus was one of the first celebrities, with a whole celeb biog dedicated to him in the form of the New Testament, so sometimes I wonder if my theology degree has given me a unique perspective on celeb culture. We love to put god-like people on a pedestal, and then tease them and tear them down. It’s part of the human psyche.”

So theology apart, what else did Katy get up to in the city of dreaming spires? “I had a fantastic time at Oxford – it opened my eyes to a new world where young people were constantly in motion, trying to achieve their full potential.

“Having come from a comprehensive, I wasn’t used to people being open about being academically able – at school I would put my arm across any exam results so others in the class couldn’t see, but at Oxford the atmosphere was competitive and exciting and unashamedly fast-paced.

“I hung out a lot in the King’s Arms, the Turf Tavern, the Lamb and Flag, Freud’s, and the various awful nightclubs – I see DTMs has bitten the dust.”

So not much work then? “I was not a particularly focussed student,” she says, “and I think I frustrated a lot of tutors with my somewhat slapdash attitude to my degree because although I found it very interesting, there was so much other stuff to do, and I was determined to squeeze every drop out of university life. I barely slept for three years. I did join the Oxford Revue, though, and was vice-president during my second year.”

So Oxford is where it all started? “TV certainly wasn’t always my goal,” Katy says, “and it still isn’t. It’s a fantastically democratic medium – everyone has one right in their living room – so the broadness of its reach can be a blessing and a curse, but it is fast moving and always stimulating.”

So what does Katy think of celebrity culture? “I always wear wigs and hats in the show, and that makes me less recognisable in the street, but I’m not especially famous at the moment. I think true fame must be a living nightmare because you have to take your face with you everywhere you go!”

As for the future, the 31-year-old is holding out for her own film. “I would love to do many things – write films, go to art college, travel more. I am enjoying being in front of the camera but I can see a time when that is less appealing – writing and directing a film would be a dream come true.”

In the meantime, there’s Katy’s live show coming to the New Theatre on Tuesday. “I always enjoy coming back to Oxford – it has such a magical atmosphere and such pulsing energy that it gives me a boost, plus the pubs are the best in Britain,” she says. “And then after the tour I will have a long lie-down.”