I grew up at a strange time. As much as the charts were filled with Wham, Madonna and Yazoo, I grew up in a household that listened, entranced, to everything from the fifties to the seventies.

I knew every word of Old Fashioned Millionaire by Eartha Kitt, even as all my friends were learning the lyrics to When Will I Be Famous by Bros.

I bang on about the eighties but, in truth, I am not from my time. Because, like everyone else, I am shaped by the experiences of the people around me, as well as my own stuff – of which, there is plenty.

But there could not be a list of positives without a big old nod to Joyce Grenfell.


Wonderful, hilarious, brilliant brain, great voice, and there’s such complete joy in her face. It’s palpable, even from the photos.

When I was a kid, Genevieve came on the telly one wet Sunday afternoon, and my heart rose as Joyce Grenfell appeared as the proprietress of the hotel. She could never see it, but people used to tell my mother that she looked like Joyce Grenfell. She did.

If nothing else, you must listen to this one, the Lady In Church:

Just wonderful. There are always tears of laughter. Always.