Wednesday, 6 January 2010

A woman that throughout my life has always brought a smile to my face ,hope you take a wee minute to visit her

In 2010 PAM AYRES will celebrate 35 years as a professional entertainer. It was November 1975 when Pam made the first of her appearances on the ITV talent show, Opportunity Knocks, the “Britain’s Got Talent” TV show of its day, and this proved to be the start of an incredible career for a unique entertainer.   There is no other contemporary entertainer whose career was established by writing and performing comic verse.

PAM AYRES always wanted to be a writer.   At school she shone brilliantly at English and Art, but was pretty useless at everything else.   The youngest of a family of six children, Pam was born in Stanford-in-the-Vale, Berkshire, during the long cold winter of 1947.   After leaving school Pam joined the civil service as a clerical assistant, a job in which she soon lost interest, and which prompted her to join the Women’s Royal Air Force.   It was while Pam was in the WRAF that she developed her love of singing and acting, and slowly the wild idea emerged that she would like to be an “entertainer”.

On leaving the WRAF Pam set out to achieve her ambition.   By this time her poems and verses had become a hobby, written and performed for the local folk club in Oxfordshire, to where she had returned to live and work as a secretary.   In 1974, a friend arranged for her to go to the local radio station, BBC Radio Oxford, to read one of her poems.   Pam’s first broadcast for Radio Oxford, in 1974, was selected for BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Week, and subsequently repeated on the 1974 Pick of the Year programme, by which time Radio Oxford had asked Pam to return and recite some more of her poems.

In 1975, after much prodding from friends, Pam decided to audition for television’s Opportunity Knocks.   Since then Pam has appeared on many major TV shows in the UK, has had her own TV series, and filmed Christmas TV Specials in Hong Kong and Canada. Other highlights include the BBC televising one of Pam’s solo stage shows, and her appearance on the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in 1977, to celebrate HM The Queen’s Silver Jubilee.   In October 1996, Pam performed part of her stage show at a Royal Gala Charity Reception at St. James’ Palace, attended by HM The Queen, and she entertained HM The Queen again, in the somewhat less august premises of the Sandringham WI in January 2004.   Pam was thrilled to be awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2004.

Pam Ayres’ book sales to date are over three million worldwide.   September 2006 saw the publication of her latest book, PAM AYRES – SURGICALLY ENHANCED, which by Christmas had become one of the UK’s Top 40 Best Selling Hardback books of the year.  The paperback version, with some additional new poems, was published in September 2007, and totals sales now of this book are in excess of ¼ million.    February 2008 saw see the re-publication of Pam’s book, WITH THESE HANDS, by Orion Books, who first published the book in 1997.   Also last year saw the re-publication of a new hardback edition of another book, THE WORKS, which was first published by BBC Books in paperback in 1992, and which has been in print ever since.   This book will see a new paperback edition published in Spring 2010.

Pam’s record, CD, and DVD sales are in excess of three million units.   November 2007 saw the release of Pam’s latest live DVD recording, Pam Ayres – Unsupported.   October 2008 saw Pam’s latest audio CD recording released by Hodder Audiobooks, a studio recording of 50 poems, many never before recorded, and titled PAM AYRES – THE BROKEN WOMAN.

For the past fifteen years Pam has been a regular on BBC Radio.  From 1996 until 1999 Pam presented a two-hour music and chat show every Sunday afternoon for Radio 2, followed by two series of Pam Ayres’ Open Road   More recently Pam has become a regular contributor to Radio 4, on such programmes as Just A Minute, Quote Unquote, Loose Ends, and three series of her own Ayres On The Air.  February 2008 saw the broadcast of a new radio sitcom for BBC Radio 4, Potting On, in which Pam starred with actor Geoffrey Whitehead.
On TV Pam has recently been seen on Paul O'Grady, Countdown, The One Show, and QI.

Pam Ayres performs her solo show in theatres throughout the UK, performing in excess of 60 concerts a year.     She has taken her one-woman show to Ireland, the Middle East, Hong Kong, France, Kenya, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.  Pam most recently toured Australia in Autumn 2006, including a packed show at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, and in 2007 she re-visited New Zealand for some sell-out concerts.

Recently Pam was featured in a list of Britain’s 20 Funniest Women, and one of her poems, “I Wish I’d Looked After me Teeth”, was also voted into the Top Ten of a BBC poll to find the UK’s 100 Favourite Comic Poems, in which Pam was one of the few writers in the Top Ten who is still alive!  

PAM AYRES is married to concert agent & theatre producer Dudley Russell, and they have two sons, William and James, aged 27 and 25.  The family lives in the Cotswolds, where they keep rare breeds of cattle, together with some sheep, pigs, chickens, and guinea fowl, and where Pam is a keen (and knowledgeable) gardener and beekeeper.

December 2009

“One of the fastest selling tickets at the Fringe, Pam Ayres’ appeal seems undiminished. Since her breakthrough appearance on TV’s Opportunity Knocks, the poet and broadcaster has been in showbusiness for more than 30 years. A bestseller and MBE, she continues to write and record, with a second series of Ayres On The Air broadcast on Radio 4 this year, and a third scheduled for 2007. These Fringe dates will be her debut appearance. “
Edinburgh Herald
“Pam Ayres has a quality of fun which glows ever more brightly as newer, lesser entertainers make their bid for stardom.”
The Scotsman

“Radio 4’s Just A Minute is, with the exception of Desert Island Discs, the most perfect programme for radio yet devised. Listen to PAM AYRES talking for a whole minute at midday today about her five-toed hen, without repetition, deviation or hesitation, and you will see that there is no reason it should not go on for another 38 years.”
Sunday Times

“Her humour, which verges on the black at times, is contagious and so original.”
The Telegraph

“Pam Ayres is a poet for the people. Her verse portrays a wicked sense of humour, and deals with subjects not normally thought to be worthy of poetry.”
Melbourne Herald Sun

“Pam Ayres, the bestselling poet, writes as rhapsodically about the Wonderbra as Wordsworth did about daffodils.”
The Guardian

“Forget the corny comedian: Pam Ayres is a proper poet, whose wistful, funny, and perceptive verse captures both the joy and unfairness of life.”
Sunday Times


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Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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