Tag Archives: Acting

This Much is True – Miriam Margoyles

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Hachette

September 2021

ISBN: 9781529379884

RRP: $49.99

Well, what a rambunctious and joyous ride this memoir has been for my holiday read of the past few days! Miriam did not really cross my radar until I saw her as the Spanish Infanta in Blackadder but that’s really as much as I for one needed – thereafter, I was always keen to see her (or indeed, hear her).

Much of Miriam’s work did not reach us (or certainly not me) being often UK or US theatre-based, or her many voice-over parts but when she did come to my attention it was always noteworthy – whether as the voice of Fly, in Babe, or as Professor Pomona Sprout, Head of Hufflepuff.

🦡

(the best house don’t you know!).

Now at 80, Miriam has taken time to share with us all anecdotes, memories, significant incidents and her dearest people in a memoir that is both profound and hilarious, reflective and insightful, fascinating and vulgar – in fact, everything you would expect from this much-loved and well-respected veteran of radio, stage, TV and film.

In more recent years I have relished her documentaries which have been both well-conceived and brilliantly executed with integrity and empathy as well as her interviews – many of which have left me gasping for breath after all the laughter.

Miriam takes us on a journey from her middle-class upbringing as the only child of a respected Jewish couple, to her schooldays as the naughtiest girl at Oxford High School, onto Cambridge where she took her degree in English and then her first steps in acting, behind a radio mike with many of the greats of the day. She began making an impressive living with her many voice-over roles whether as one of the female roles in Monkey (stuff of legends that!), PG Tips or the Cadbury Caramel rabbit. Later, her career diverted to many varied roles in all kinds of genres, many to critical acclaim including her BAFTA award for Supporting Actor in The Age of Innocence. Her recognition has not been confined to her industry. In 2002 she received the OBE for Services to Drama, an award she was chuffed to receive despite some contrary political views.

Her gossipy insights into her encounters with the famous and great – as well as the famous and less-than-great – are screamingly funny and clearly her skill as a raconteur translates as easily in the written word as in her spoken interviews.

This is an absolute pearler of a read but, fair warning, if you are squeamish about ‘language’ or straightforward commentaries of the sexual kind, this is likely not a read for you. Fortunately, I don’t know anyone like that, and my friends and family are all clamouring to read this and will love it as much as I have.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in memoirs or admirers of this icon of British acting.

PS: Great interview

The Curse of the School Rabbit – Judith Kerr

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Harper Collins

July 2019

ISBN: 9780008352608

ISBN 10: 0008352607

Imprint: HarperCollins Children’sBooks

 

The late Judith Kerr’s final book, like all her glorious work, is quintessentially English, gently humorous and full of everyday adventure and family life.

When Snowball the school rabbit needs to be rabbit-sat for a time, Tommy’s little sister, Angie, is ecstatic. Tommy is less so having never forgiven Snowball for peeing on him. Nevertheless, Snowball settles in reasonably well and Tommy is mollified by his rabbit-keeping fee – particularly as he’s really been wanting a new bike but knows with his actor father out of work that’s not likely to happen for Christmas.

It’s even more unlikely when Snowball pees on the leg of a famous (though incredibly old) actor with whom Tommy’s father might get some work. Then Angie gets really sick and things are quite serious in the household. Tommy’s story for the school writing competition becomes one about a cursed rabbit as it seems to him that everything has taken a downward turn since Snowball came to stay.

But fortunately events turn around not only with a Shakespearean role for Dad and Angie’s recovery but a whole new exciting movie venture featuring a boy and a rabbit! Who knew?

This is a joy to read and children from around six years upwards will greatly enjoy its humour, emotions and descriptions. For me it’s a keeper – a beautiful reminder of the immense joy and richness which Judith Kerr brought into the lives of so many of us.