When the bosses of ITV’s Loose Women decided against renewing Jenny Eclair’s 12-month contract last year, many complained they were letting the wrong panelist go.
But amongst those happy with the decision were June and Derek Hargreaves from Lytham St Anne’s, near Blackpool – Jenny’s mum and dad!
"Neither of them could bear Loose Women, they just thought it was stupid," reveals Jenny, who lives in south London with her partner Geoff Powell and their daughter Phoebe.
"My parents are vaguely interested in what I do. My mum really liked my last novel, and if they happen to walk past the television and I was on it, they’d probably watch…unless it was Loose Women. So it’s a good job I don’t do it any more!"
Jenny’s old dears may have had plenty of reason to cringe at times over the past 30 years, but they’ve always kept their opinions to themselves. When 53-year-old Jenny began her stand-up comedy career in the 1980s, she relished making audiences squirm by talking about subjects normally considered off-limits.
"My parents are very quick on the draw and would know when their friends didn’t approve of some of the things I did. But they couldn’t care less about that either."
Age may have mellowed her slightly, but in BBC2’s Grumpy Old Women, which Jenny co-writes with series producer Judith Holder, she’s still fond of tackling the taboo.
The pair have just written a new stage version of Grumpy Old Women called Fifty Shades of Beige (opens in new tab), which Jenny, along with actresses Susie Blake and Kate Robbins will be performing live for two weeks from 30 October.
"We’re just dipping a toe in the water this time, to see how the new material goes down," says Jenny. "If it goes well we plan to do a much bigger tour next spring.
"The title’s a bit misleading because the show isn’t only about Fifty Shades Of Grey, which has already become dated. It’s also about relationships and children and domestic stuff. The books will be dealt with, though….severely!’
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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