The story of Joan Bakewell's life and times spans the Blitz in Manchester, Cambridge during the glittering era of Michael Frayn, Peter Hall, Jonathan Miller et al, London at its most exciting in the swinging sixties and the world of the media and the arts from the 60s to the present. As she reflects on the choices she has made and the influences that shaped her, she confronts painful childhood memories of her mother's behaviour and describes both her affair with Harold Pinter and her two marriages with remarkable honesty. Throughout she uses her own experience to explore the extraordinary change in women's roles during her lifetime. This is no ordinary celebrity autobiography but a memoir that is beautifully written, frank and absorbing, which draws a thought-provoking portrait of Britain in the last 70 years.
Joan Bakewell was born in Stockport in 1933, the daughter of an engineer, granddaughter of working-class artisans. She was the first in her family to go to university and only the second woman from her grammar school to attend Cambridge, where her circle included Frederick Raphael, Peter Hall, Michael Frayn, Mark Boxer and Jonathan Miller. Her long and illustrious career in broadcasting has included being the only woman presenter on BBC TV's Late Night Line Up, being Arts Correspondent for Newsnight, Chair of the BFI, and presenting series such as Heart of the Matter and My Generation.