Tag Archives: Jewish family life

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

52 Mondays – Anna Ciddor

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Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 978176052348052mondays

Imprint: A & U Children

Pub Date: March 2019

RRP $14.99

 

It would appear that Anna Ciddor and I must be of the same vintage as this fictionalised account of a year of her childhood and the many references to commonplace 60s objects and events resonate so readily. While my own experience was growing up in suburban Sydney it would seem that suburban Melbourne was not so far removed after all.

Young Anna describes a year in her everyday life as the oldest of three girls in a Jewish family, all of whom relocated following the war. After reading a particular book Anna becomes infatuated with the idea of owning her own antique doll and her loving parents go above and beyond to make that dream come true. As the year passes with almost weekly visits to the local antiques auction house, Anna relates the family celebrations, the playtimes, school and the house which clearly is bursting with love.

It is a delightful story which I consumed in one sitting and as well as allowing readers a glimpse into a childhood spent in a family of a different culture, also invites a closer knowledge of daily life in a long ago decade when owning a TV was still fairly uncommon, children were not just satisfied but excited by far less in the way of outings and material possessions and family life was valued.

Highly recommended to readers from around eight years upwards.