Fenella Fielding Tells of Her 35 Years in Chiswick

Marks her 90th birthday recalling days of glamour in the film world

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Actress Fenella Fielding has had a "divine" 90th birthday party. More than eighty people came and comedy writer Barry Cryer read out a specially-written poem in her honour. The long-time Chiswick resident was delighted with all the attention, as friends from her days in film and theatre turned up to reminisce.

The party took place the day after she published her memoir 'Do You Mind If I Smoke?'- the title is taken from one of her lines in Carry On Screaming in which she played vamp Valeria. The book is not a chronological tale of her life, but is divided into chapters with different themes.

fenella and simon

Fenella co-wrote the book with writer/broadcaster Simon McKay, who spent six years taking notes of her theatrical memories. The book also includes a copy of her appointments diary during her heyday. A typical week might involve several visits to get her hair done at Vidal Sassoon, dinners out with luminaries such as David Frost or Ned Sherrin, parties in Soho and the West End. After the success, there were difficult years, which she has chronicled in her book, but she is really enjoying her senior years.

She attends yoga and pilates classes regularly and in fact first met Simon at the gym in Shepherd's Bush where he started chatting to her and found out that she had such an interesting life.

"I knew Fenella had a great story to tell and I was keen to hear about her memories, so we used to go to Cafe Rouge in Chiswick and I recorded it once a week ."

Fenella told Chiswickw4.com that she came to Chiswick about thirty-five years ago because she had friends who lived there. "I thought it was a beautiful place and I've been very happy here."

She particularly likes to have coffee in Chief cafe off Turnham Green Terrace, and eat ice cream from Fouberts.

Known for her husky voice, she is in demand for audio books and for readings.

"People do say they like my voice and I do find it pleasant to hear that", she said, adding that she loves to read Greek poetry in translation aloud.

fenellas books

Fenella and Simon have also done several internet radio show, on topics as diverse as Gospel music, and jazz. They have also performed at over 30 shows based on Fenella's memoir and can be seen at The Crazy Coqs near Piccadilly, later this month.

There will be a signing at the Bookcase in Chiswick at 1pm on Saturday 9 December.

November 17, 2017


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