Fenella Fielding Renaissance 2011-2018

Fenella Fielding reading her memoirs at the Phoenix 28-01-2017 by John Gaffen
Fenella Fielding reading her memoirs - Phoenix 28-01-17 (John Gaffen)
Fenella Fielding reading Greek - Reform Club 22-05-12 (Simon McKay)
Fenella Fielding reading Greek - Reform Club 22-05-12 (Simon McKay)
Fenella with Paddy O' Connell.jpg

Fenella Fielding with Paddy O'Connell after recording 'Fifty Shades of Pink' for Broadcasting House 13-02-15 (Simon McKay)

Fenella at Cinema Musuem.jpg
Fenella Fielding & Stephen Greif - Home House 30-05-17 (Etienne Gilfillan)

Fenella Fielding & Stephen Greif - Home House 30-05-17 (Etienne Gilfillan)

Peter Wyngarde & Fenella Fielding - John Steed Ball 30-01-16 (Simon McKay)

Peter Wyngarde & Fenella Fielding - John Steed Ball 30-01-16 (Simon McKay)

2nd June Poster Zedel.png
Fenella at the Phoenix poster 2017.jpg
Simon McKay & Fenella Fielding Book Launch 16-11-17 (John McKay)

Simon McKay & Fenella Fielding Book Launch 16-11-17 (John McKay)

Fenella Fielding reads Memoirs - Phoenix 05-11-16 (John Gaffen)

Fenella Fielding reads Memoirs - Phoenix 05-11-16 (John Gaffen)

Fenella Fielding makes Tannoy Announcements at Portmeirion 29-09-17 (Simon McKay)

Fenella Fielding makes Tannoy Announcements - Portmeirion 29-09-17 (Simon McKay)

Audience members at the Century Club looking at Fenella Fielding's Memoirs

Audience members at the Century Club looking at Fenella Fielding's Memoirs 15-05-2018 (Etienne Gilfillan)

Eddie Mair & Fenella at LBC 2018 - her final job

Eddie Mair & Fenella Fielding shortly after she recorded idents for his new radio show (Fenella's last ever job) LBC 24-08-18 (Simon McKay)

Fenella Fielding Memoirs - the Zedel show that didn't happen 11-09-2018

One of the Memoir shows that didn't happen, poignantly 11-09-2018

Fenella Fielding first night flowers - backstage 1960s

Fenella Fielding first night flowers - backstage 1960s

I met Fenella in early 2011. (From then on, I recorded her career in some detail.) She was very keen to work, but at that time wasn't receiving many offers. A noteable and wonderful exception being Eddie Mair and Paddy O'Connell who regularly brought her in to read something amusing for their Radio 4 news programmes. It was always very exciting when their producers phoned asking her to come in, practically the next minute.

 

After a while, I suggested we stop waiting for the phone to ring and, instead, line up work ourselves. Fenella agreed and said she was very keen to do more of David Stuttard's translations of Greek classics. It took a while to get that going, but we kept at it and eventually matched her well with Stephen Greif for a two-hander called Just A Little Murder, a show they would perform a number of times. We consistently booked 'An Evening With Fenella Fielding'. They always began with her reading an extract from Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', to give the audience an experience of Fenella as a performer, before she did the chat

 

Fenella and I began work on her memoirs in July 2011. We recorded many hours of her telling me stories, but five years later she still wasn't convinced people would be interested in them and was always very underwhelmed when she saw chapters intended for a book. In 2016, determined, I presented some of the best stories in a script format so she could read them on-stage. That interested her! We booked our first show with Misty Moon at the Phoenix Artist Club. The audience loved it, and she loved the audience. She would eventually do 29 memoir performances. They dovetailed first with the release of the audio book we recorded and then an actual book, but more; they became a celebration and appreciation of Fenella. (Nice to know your life's work actually matters to people.)

 

In 2017, on the eve of Fenella's 90th birthday, the print version of her memoirs was published. It generated an enormous amount of press. The Guardian's Simon Hattenstone referred to Fenella's 'renaissance in recent years', which was certainly true. The book coupled with press and radio exposure led to even more shows. The Honours Committee seemed to take notice of her increased activity and, belatedly I feel, awarded Fenella an OBE for services to Drama and Charity. The announcement of the award delighted Fenella. She celebrated with friends in a local restaurant. Sadly, because of the terrible stroke she had in August 2018, she didn't live long enough to go to the Palace but the OBE seemed very real to her when a large certificate arrived in the post signed by The Queen and Prince Philip.

 

Fenella died 11th September 2018. She was due to perform her memoirs at Crazy Coqs that night and had five more bookings coming up at The Phoenix, culminating with a show on her 91st birthday. Sadly, these shows (and others yet to be finalised) were not to be. I find some comfort that when she died she knew there were bookings in the diary and that the world never did get enough of Fenella Fielding OBE.

 

In the time that I knew Fenella, it became very clear how true it was when she once told me there had always been a series of people in her life - writers, directors and producers - who liked her and what she did and that they kept her in-work. But, after a number of years, they would retire (or worse!) and then she'd have to find new people. In the time I knew Fenella, her supporters included her agent Barry Langford, Misty Moon, Phoenix Artist Club, Eddie Mair, Paddy O'Connell, James Albrecht (bookings for St James Theatre and Crazy Coqs), Gary Everett (bookings for Liverpool Homotopia), Break London Radio (delighted to broadcast any shows Fenella recorded) and Thomas Bowington (booked various film fairs, a wonderful 50 years of The Prisoner event at Portmeirion and arranged her book-launch at Covent Garden Waterstones). Also, very clear to me; ever-present in the background, was her older brother who helped her in many ways over the decades. And for seven years, I was there too, having the most wonderful time with the most wonderful woman.

SIMON McKAY

​​17 September 2011 - DEAREST NANCY, DARLING EVELYN at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon.

 

24 September 2011 - DEAREST NANCY, DARLING EVELYN at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage.
 

09 October 2011 - DEAREST NANCY, DARLING EVELYN at the Bewdley Festival, Worcs.
 

05 November 2011 - Fenella BOOK SIGNING for Andrew Ross' book Carry On Actors: The Complete Who's Who of the Carry On Film Series (Fenella wrote the foreword.) Book launch at Leeds Waterstones.
 

12 November 2011 - Fenella was the celebrity judge at the ALTERNATIVE MISS LIVERPOOL competition.
 

19 and 20 November 2011 - Fenella appeared at the BIRMINGHAM NEC MEMORABILIA FAIR.
 

25 December 2011 - FENELLA & SIMON'S GOSPEL CHRISTMAS radio show was broadcast on Break London.
 

27 December 2011 (and various repeats) - Fenella appeared in the Channel 5 Television Documentary THE GREATEST EVER CARRY ON FILMS.
 

1 January 2012 - FENELLA & SIMON'S SOULFUL NEW YEAR radio show was broadcast on Break London.
 

06 Feb 2012 - Fenella appeared a special guest in an episode of the E4 teen drama SKINS (Season 6, episode 3).
 

14 February 2012 - FENELLA & SIMON'S LOVE SONGS radio show was broadcast on Break London.
 

25 February 2012 - Fenella read an extract from Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN before a screening of 'Frankenstein Created Woman' at The Flicker Club's event in The Old Vic Tunnels, London.
 

14 April 2012 - Fenella was the guest on the JONNY TRUNK OST (Original Soundtrack) Show Listen Now
 

16 April - 16 September 2012 - Fenella photo at NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in an exhibition of Peter Rand's photos for VOGUE See Photo
 

7 May 2012 - FENELLA & SIMON'S MOTOWN MAY DAY! radio show was broadcast on Break London.
 

21 May 2012 - DEAREST NANCY, DARLING EVELYN at Home House, London.
 

22 May 2012 - Fenella appeared with Simon Russell Beale, Jane Asher and Tom Conti in an evening of GREEK DRAMA for AOD at the Reform Club.
 

21 June 2012 - Fenella was interviewed on the Radio 2 documentary BARBARA WINDSOR'S CLUBLAND.
 

14 July 2012 - Fenella appeared at the LONDON WESTMINSTER MEMORIBILIA FAIR.
 

1 September 2012 - Fenella attended a screening of CARRY ON SCREAMING and took part in a Q&A afterwards at the Misty Moon Gallery in Ladywell, London.

2 October 2012 Fenella performed John Lennon's poem Fat Budgie at VICTOR SPINETTI'S MEMORIAL at St Paul's Church

12 October 2012 - Fenella appeared onstage with Scott Capurro and David Mills in SCOTT CAPURRO'S POSITION (chat show) at the Soho Theatre, London.

17 October 2012 - Fenella appeared in APOCALYPSE CALYPSO as a fund raiser for the Brain Tumour Trust at Home House, London.
 

25 October 2012 - Fenella read the role of Hekabe in Euripides' lost play ALEXANDROS - PARIS for AOD, recreated from fragments by David Stuttard at Europe House, London.
 

28 October 2012 - Fenella was on the panel of judges at the MISTY MOON FILM FESTIVAL in Ladywell, London.
 

21 November to 19 December 2012 - Fenella appeared in the 5 part documentary on Gold BRING ME MORECAMBE AND WISE.
 

24 November 2012 - Fenella attended a screening of OLD DARK HOUSE and took part in a Q&A afterwards at the Misty Moon Gallery in Ladywell, London.
 

25 November 2012 - Fenella did the voice-overs on the Channel 4 pilot for KOOKYVILLE.
 

25 December 2012 - FENELLA & SIMON'S SOUL CHRISTMAS SONGS radio show was broadcast on Break London
 

1 January 2013 - FENELLA & SIMON'S CULT TV THEMES radio show broadcast on Break London Listen Now
 

14 February 2013 - Fenella did the voice over for a music video compilation of romantic songs called CARRY ON LOVING that was broadcast on Greatest Hits TV (Sky platform).
 

19 February 2013 - Fenella appeared in a theatrical production of SAVAGE BEAUTY with Nigel Anthony, Matthew Barber and Tamsin Shasha at St James Studio, London.
 

29 June 2013 - FENELLA & SIMON'S JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY radio show was broadcast on Break London Listen Now
 

21 September 2013 - Fenella appeared at the LONDON WESTMINSTER MEMORIBILIA FAIR.
 

12 October 2013 - Fenella read at the TUDELEY FESTIVAL in the All Saints Church, Tudeley in Kent.

17 November 2013 - Fenella appeared on Trevor Blackman's HOME TRUTHS (Break London) Listen Now
 

23 November 2013 - Fenella appeared at the BIRMINGHAM NEC MEMORIBILIA FAIR

25 December 2013 - FENELLA & SIMON'S GOSPEL CHRISTMAS radio show was broadcast on Break London Listen Now
 

13 March 2014 - Fenella recorded voice links for R4's BROADCASTING HOUSE.
 

14 March 2014 - Fenella present for Q&A at Martin Firrell's METAFENELLA video project www.metafenella.com
 

9 May 2014 - Fenella Q&A on stage at BOSWELL BOOK FESTIVAL
 

8 June 2014  - Fenella appeared at the WATFORD FILM & TELEVISION MEMORIBILIA FAIR.

23 June 2014 - Fenella performed some cabaret at the Arts Theatre, London as part of Eve Ferret's FERRET UP THE ARTS series.
 

5 July 2014 - AN EVENING WITH FENELLA FIELDING Q&A, hosted by  Chris Conlan at Flat Planet, London.
 

12 July 2014 - Fenella read at AOD's launch of SAPPHO POEMS CD in Camden.
 

18 September 2014 - Fenella, as part of AOD, read translations of Greek poetry at a CLASSICS FOR ALL at the City Hall, London.
 

20 September 2014 - Fenella appeared at the LONDON WESTMINSTER MEMORIBILIA FAIR.
 

18 October 2014 - Fenella was a judge at Andrew Logan's ALTERNATIVE MISS WORLD at Shakespeare's Globe details

7 November 2014 - Fenella appeared at Liverpool's HOMOTOPIA FESTIVAL reading poetry by Gerry Potter at the Unity Theatre.
 

22 November 2014 - Fenella appeared at the BIRMINGHAM NEC MEMORIBILIA FAIR

29 November 2014 - FENELLA & SIMON'S ALTERNATIVE MISS WORLD radio show was broadcast on Break London Listen Now

1 January 2015 - FENELLA & SIMON'S FILM & SHOW SOUNDTRACKS radio show was broadcast on Break London Listen Now

13 February 2015 - Fenella recorded '50 Shades of Pink' for Paddy O'Connell's show BROADCASTING HOUSE Listen Now

4 April 2015 - Fenella appeared in a new three part documentary called 'CARRY ON FOREVER' that was first broadcast on ITV3 over Easter.
 

8 May 2015 - Fenella read translations of GREEK POETRY with Mark Katz at the British Museum to coincide with an exhibition called 'Defining Beauty, the body in ancient Greek art'.
 

13 June 2015 - Fenella appeared for AN EVENING WITH FENELLA FIELDING Q&A on stage at the Cinema Museum (London SE11). Hosted by Trevor Blackman.

19 June 2015 - Fenella appeared for a Q&A for students at LAMDA. Hosted by Graham Roos.

9 July 2015 - Fenella appeared on SIMON LOGAN SHOW BBC Radio Newcastle to promote forthcoming appearance at the Tyneside Cinema.
 

2 August 2015 - Fenella appeared for AN EVENING WITH FENELLA FIELDING Q&A on stage at the Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle Upon Tyne). Hosted by Simon McKay.

3 August 2015 - Fenella appeared after Carry On Screaming for a Q&A on stage at the Forum Music Centre (Darlington). Hosted by James Watson.
 

25 August 2015 - Fenella appeared on Simon McKay's '50th Birthday' edition of POST PUNK BRITAIN on Break London Listen Now

29 August 2015 - Fenella appeared for a Q&A on stage at the CAMDEN FRINGE FESTIVAL (Highgate). Hosted by Simon Sheridan.

30 August 2015 - Fenella appeared for a Q&A on stage at the CAMDEN FRINGE FESTIVAL (Highgate). Hosted by Simon McKay.

29 October 2015 - Fenella gave a reading of a Gerry Potter poem at the opening of the HOMOTOPIA FESTIVAL (Liverpool).
 

31 October 2015 - Fenella gave a reading of a Gerry Potter poem and an excerpt from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at the HOMOTOPIA FESTIVAL (Liverpool).
 

14 November 2015 Fenella appeared at the LONDON FILM CONVENTION AT WESTMINSTER.
 

21 November 2015 - Fenella appeared at the BIRMINGHAM NEC MEMORIBILIA FAIR.

22 November 2015 - Fenella gave a reading at a charity fund raiser for ALL DOGS MATTER in Hampstead.
 

25 December 2015 - FENELLA & SIMON'S CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR radio show was broadcast on Break London Listen Now
 

30 January 2016 - Fenella appeared with Peter Wyngarde for a Q&A at the JOHN STEED BALL (Eight Moorgate, London)
 

24 February 2016 - Fenella appeared for a Q&A after Carry On Screaming at the Art House Cinema Crouch End (London). Hosted by Mark Ravenhill.

17 May 2016 - Fenella appeared on CHANNEL 5 NEWS talking about plans just announced for new Carry On films to be made next year.
 

19 March 2016 - Fenella appeared for AN EVENING WITH FENELLA FIELDING Q&A at the Cinema Museum (London). Hosted by Simon McKay.
 

21 May 2016 - Fenella appeared at the LONDON FILM CONVENTION AT WESTMINSTER.

16 June 2016 - Fenella's featured in an EXHIBITION OF PORTRAITS by Lawrence Watson for charity SCT. (Print Space E2: 17-27 June)

9 July 2016 – Fenella appeared at SHEFFIELD HORRORCON at Magna Science Centre

16 July 2016 - FENELLA'S PRE-PUNK BRITAIN (1960s British acts) radio show was broadcast on Break London Listen Now

30 July 2016 – Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London

3 October 2016 Fenella appeared on the JO GOOD SHOW, BBC London promoting Tears, Treachery and A Little Murder

5 October 2016 – Fenella performed TEARS, TREACHERY AND JUST A LITTLE MURDER with Stephen Greif at St James Theatre, London

5 November 2016 – Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London

12 November 2016 – Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London

19 November 2016 – Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London

26 November 2016 – Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London

3 December 2016 – Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London

10 December 2016 - Fenella appeared for AN EVENING WITH FENELLA FIELDING Q&A at the Cinema Museum (London). Hosted by Simon McKay.

11 December 2016 - Fenella opened the CURTAIN UP CHRISTMAS MARKET (raising funds for SEL Sands) St Mary Abbots Centre, Kensington

17 December 2016 - Fenella appeared with GERRY POTTER performing his poetry at Phoenix Artist Club, London

21 January 2017 - Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

28 January 2017 - Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

4 February 2017 - Fenella read from her forthcoming audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

28 February 2017 - Fenella performed JUST A LITTLE MURDER with Stephen Greif at Crazy Coqs/Zedel, London

 

25 March 2017 Fenella & Stephen Greif in SAVAGE BEAUTY, an AOD Fundraiser at a private residence in Eaton Square London SW1

7 April 2017 - Fenella pre-recorded announcements for ETERNAL VILLAGE (Prisoner Convention in Seattle)

16 May 2017 - Fenella was a guest on David Mills 'The Mix'. She read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club. London.

30 May 2017 - Fenella performed JUST A LITTLE MURDER with Stephen Greif at Home House, London

03 June 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London. (This was the launch for the book.)

10 June 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

17 June 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

24 June 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

8 July 2017 Fenella recorded voice for ANTIGONE for use in an AOD Fundraiser at Spruce Wood Kingston Upon Thames
 

11 July 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Crazy Coqs/Zedel, London.

10 July 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Home House, London.

13 July 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Prince of Wales, London.

02 September 2017 - Fenella appeared at the CAMDEN FILM FAIR (Electric Ballroom)

12 September 2017 Fenella performed JUST A LITTLE MURDER with Stephen Greif at Crazy Coqs/Zedel, London

29 September 2017 Fenella attended a 50 YEARS OF THE PRISONER event at Portmeirion. She read a series of announcements over the Tannoy, recreating her role in the TV series.

21 October 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

28 October 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

04 November 2017 - Fenella read from her audio book of MEMOIRS at Unity Theatre, Liverpool (part of HOMOTOPIA FESTIVAL)

16 November 2017 - Fenella appears on BBC Radio 4 FRONT ROW with Stig Abell promoting her MEMOIRS released the next day.

16 November 2017 - Fenella & Simon BOOK LAUNCH 'Do You Mind If I Smoke?' at Covent Garden Waterstones. Watch Video

17 November 2017 - Fenella's 90th birthday party for friends, family and six subscribers to this website at Comedy Museum, London.

19 November 2017 - 2017 JANE GARVEY & PETER ALLEN SHOW promoting memoirs (BBC Radio 5 Live)

20-24 November 2017 - Each day, Fenella reads phrases requested by listeners for Eddie Mair BROADCASTING HOUSE (Radio 4)

23 November 2017 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS (now available in hardback) at Crazy Coqs/Zedel, London.

28 November 2017 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS (now available in hardback) at Crazy Coqs/Zedel, London.

30 November 2017 Fenella announce the winner (!) at the Literary Review's 25th BAD SEX IN FICTION AWARDS

30 November 2017 Fenella appears (prerecorded) on SIMON LOGAN SHOW BBC Radio Newcastle.

02 December Fenella & Simon BOOK SIGNING at Forbidden Planet, Newcastle Upon Tyne
 

07 December Fenella & Simon BOOK SIGNING at Forbidden Planet, Shaftesbury Avenue, London

12 December 2017 Fenella and Simon appeared on the JO GOOD SHOW, BBC London promoting Fenella's Memoirs

10 February 2018 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

17 February 2018 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

22 February 2018 - Fenella recorded voice for ANIMAL MAGIC renamed CONDITIONS.

24 February 2018 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

03 March 2018 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS at Phoenix Artist Club, London.

17 March 2018 - Fenella appeared on SATURDAY BREAKFAST SHOW Radio Leeds to promote a Memoirs reading (which ended up being cancelled because of snow).

28 March 2018 - Fenella was a guest on STEVE WRIGHT IN THE AFTERNOON (BBC Radio 2) Listen Now

15 April 2018 - Fenella performed JUST A LITTLE MURDER with Stephen Greif at Museum of Comedy, London

05 May 2018 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS at Crazy Coqs/Zedel, London.

15 May 2018 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS at the Century Club, London (Sohemians event)

26 May 2018 Fenella interviewed by AMANDA RICHARDS for a programme on BBC Radio Birmingham.

02 June 2018 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS at Crazy Coqs/Zedel, London.

03 June 2018 - Fenella read from her MEMOIRS at Carry On Films at 60 at the Drayton Hotel, Ealing. (Due to subsequent ill health, this turned out to be the great lady's final public appearance.)

18-19 June 2018 - Fenella recorded an audio book, ANGEL BRIGHT written by Jeff Rees Jones, scheduled for release before Christmas 2018.

23 June 2018 - Fenella pre-recorded announcements for 'NOT A NUMBER - A PATRICK McGOOHAN RETROSPECTIVE' at Elstree Studios.

24 August 2018 - Fenella recorded various idents for EDDIE MAIR who has a new show on LBC Radio. (Fenella's final job. Sadly, she fell seriously ill the following day. In tribute to the great lady, and no doubt what she would have wanted: Eddie did use the idents on a number of occasions.)