My Book Does Contain Some 'Surprises'

Rula Lenska to discuss her autobiography at Chiswick Book Festival

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She describes it as “a ramble through my life” as if it were a few casual memories thrown together, but Rula Lenska has had anything but an ordinary life.

In the past few years the press has focused on her turbulent marriage to actor Dennis Waterman and her time spent in the Big Brother house with George Galloway, both of which have been “done to death”, she says.

But the Chiswick-based actress, who is passionate about wildlife and conservation issues, would prefer to be remembered for other things.

In conversation tomorrow (Saturday) at St. Michael And All Angels church with Chiswick Book Festival director Torin Douglas, Rula will discuss the highs and lows of her extraordinary life, from her childhood growing up in England as the daughter of Count Ludwik Maria Lubienski and Countess Elizabeth, who fled Poland for England in 1945, to her acting career in films including Alfie Darling (1976) to Coronation Street and Calendar Girls.

Writing the book took her about six months but she has been putting down “odds and sods for the past couple of years. She also uses her mother’s memoirs which give a vivid picture of what it was life to arrive in the UK as a refugee in 1946.

Her turbulent relationship with New Tricks actor Dennis Waterman resulted in a marriage that lasted from 1987 to 1998. The pair fell in love when they met on the set of Minder in 1982.

When the controversy over Dennis Waterman’s admission of domestic violence broke last year during a Piers Morgan television interview, Rula was quoted as saying she was ‘ 'glad’ he had finally admitted to it. Dennis Waterman was criticised by domestic violence charities following his remarks, admitting that he had left Rula with a black eye on one occasion and commenting that the actress “ wasn’t a beaten wife. She was hit, and that’s different.”

Rula is anxious to draw a line in the sand over the matter.

“I’ve been very careful to be balanced about it. Out of the sixteen years we had together ten were magical, the rest were not so magical,” she tells

During the media frenzy over the story the support of friends and neighbours in Chiswick helped sustain her. “I love living in Chiswick, it’s just one of the most perfect places. I love the parks, the river, the High Road and the shops, it’s got the perfect village atmosphere”

And she’s delighted to be taking part in this year’s Chiswick Book Festival; “I went to Michael Palin’s talk last time and it was wonderful”.

At the moment she is doing interviews to publicise the book, with festival and television appearances including BBC Breakfast and the Alan Titchmarsh show in the offing.

Nowadays Rula is is a devoted grandmother to her daughter Lara's young son.

“It’s the most magical experience, it’s like reliving your child’s childhood. And it’s brought me closer to my daughter in a completely different way”.

At the moment she is recovering from a shoulder operation following an injury sustained when she fell backstage while appearing in Calendar Girls.

“It’s a slow recovery but I am planning a one-woman cabaret show and I need to start writing that up with my friend Ty Jefferies- perhaps a evening of music and poetry”.

And the ‘surprises’?

“There will be some surprises in the book, including behind-the-scenes information on the Big Brother time, things that the public don’t know about what went on during what I can only describe as sixteen days of madness”.

Rula will be speaking to Festival Director Torin Douglas tomorrow (Sept 15) at St Michael and All Angels from 5.15- 6.15 pm.

She will also be signing copies of her book (published by Robson Press) at the event.

September 13, 2013