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Helen Lederer chats to us ahead of appearing at the Bath Festival to discuss her memoir 'Not That I'm Bitter'. Expect a riotously frank and funny evening as she reveals just how tough it was to break through - and why she is now devoted to creating opportunities for other witty women.

We are all looking forward to seeing you at this year's The Bath Festival to talk about your new book ’Not That I’m Bitter’. It is such an honest and frank memoir. Were you ever worried about being too open and honest about your life?

Well, I am now that the genie is out of the bottle! As I wrote the book my main aim was to make the narrative funny so the reader would connect with me as if we were in a pub sharing rude and serious stories in turn -I can’t  be funny and leave the less pretty bits out though. It has to be trueful 


What emotions did writing the book provoke for you?

Some cringe triggers regarding the gigs that may not have gone brilliantly, 

sadness at some aspects and hysteria as the things that are outrageous


You were a major part of the 80’s comedy boom and appeared in many of the biggest shows on TV, which paved the way for a lot of new artists. Was there ever an opportunity for you to have your own show?

Well that’s a bit of a golden ticket -I always wanted my own sitcom but I never quite got it and since I’ve never got it -I’ve got over myself   and focus on not having one  -not that I’m bitter …. 

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"People love Ab Fab and they like the character I played who was benign but useless!"

Are things different today, and are there more opportunities available to female comedians?

Yes society behaves differently now in the work place which is a major influencer of styles of acceptable behaviour - women are more used to asking and suggesting work. There are more women driving their own material and shows…but still not as many as the chaps! 


When and how did you get your big break?

I kind of kept going I think after five years of stand up I got asked to be ‘the girl’ in BBC Radio 4 ‘In One Ea’r and we had five comedy series …people take you more seriously if you mention the words BBC Radio 4.


Was performing and being a comedian always the plan?

I always wanted to write and perform…there just wasn’t title or label for it when I began


Do you have any favourite characters you’ve played, or are there any that people talk about when they meet you?

People love Ab Fab and they like the character I played who was benign but useless! Catriona used to say ‘lovely chairs' vague sort of way  


You’ve been to Bath many times, what is it you love about the city?

I love the stone and the little bars and the cobbled streets and the shops and the nice air and the view you get form the train coming into Bath. I LOVE Bath

a copy of Helen Lederer's memoir 'Not That I'm Bitter'. For a chance to win, simply click on the link and follow the steps. Good luck!

Book tickets to see Helen at this year's Bath Festival as she chats about her new book. To book tickets, simply click on the link below...

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