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Deric Longden was best known for his books which touched millions in print and on screen, and which were critically acclaimed on both the UK and International stage. Diana’s Story was made into a BBC TV Drama ‘Wide Eyed and Legless,’ which starred Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Dame Thora Hird. Lost For Words was first screened in January 1999, attracting an audience of more than 12 million viewers and won the Emmy for best foreign drama and a BAFTA for Thora Hird as best actress. It was repeated in 2012 following the death of Pete Postlethwaite who starred as Deric.
Files of many "lost" typescripts of the writer were discovered in his basement in July 2013 when he sadly passed away after his battle with throat cancer. His family decided to publish them through Bibliophile, his step daughter's business, as eBooks in digtial form, to share his words with audiences old and new to his sense of humour. The series to collect is aptly titled Radio Times Takes 1 - 4.
Many of the stories he told were drawn from his broadcasting days with BBC Radio Derby and BBC Radio Nottingham, where he enjoyed regular slots and a large audience of loyal listeners. These insights into Deric’s world are drawn from his original ‘Line Up’ Radio Derby scripts, which he often wrote the night before his Friday morning air time and typed on all colours of paper. The stories in this collection are but a small number of those Deric wrote during his twenty plus years of broadcasting. They often became the original source material which Deric adapted and used in his books, magazine articles, lectures, after dinner speeches and by popular demand, were often re-broadcast. They demonstrate both the diversity of his subjects, his witty and humorous style and view of life and how he could make conversations with almost any animal or object.
The very first story in this collection is ‘Living to a Ripe Old Age’ and is the one Deric first submitted to Radio Derby under the pen name Biro. The other stories in this collection cover his early broadcasting years when he lived with his first wife Diana and family in Matlock, Derbyshire.
Deric has also written many widely-acclaimed books The Cat Who Came in From the Cold, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Enough to Make a Cat Laugh, A Play On Words and Paws In the Proceedings. Each demonstrate his unique blend of humour, observation and his fun and adventures with his various adoptive cats.
July 2015 new release!
These typescripts of his weekly Radio Nottingham Sports Review were discovered in the basement of his home, carefully filed and adorned with his handwritten scribbles to assist him during the broadcasts and prompting him as to where to pause for breathe. They give further insight into workings of the mind of this comic genius and his love of sport. They cover a period in the mid-80s which gave us many rich sporting moments and stars. Steve Davis ruled the world of snooker, Liverpool and Everton football, English cricket gave us Gatting, Botham, Gooch; Torvill and Dean skated into our memories, Mike Tyson and Mervin Haglar dominated the boxing ring and Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne at the age of 17 made their league debuts.
Diana’s Story, published in 1989, some years after his wife Diana's death, was a bestseller. The book hit the Sunday Times best seller list straight away and won the NCR book award. It was followed by Lost for Words. They were adapted for television, the first under the title Wide-Eyed and Legless, and an adaptation of Lost for Words. Both were nominated for multiple BAFTAs and Lost For Words, screened in January 1999 and repeated in 2012 after the death of Pete Postlethwaite, attracted an audience of more than 12 million viewers and won the Emmy for best foreign drama and a BAFTA for Thora Hird as best actress.
There is a clear hierarchy in the Longden household: Thermal, Tigger, Frink and Arthur, the four cats, rule the roost, Deric and his wife Aileen come a distinct second...
Ever since Thermal came in from the cold Deric has seen his life taken over by a motley crew of cats. Catering to their various whims and peccadilloes is an around-the-clock occupation and Deric invites his readers into his unique and wonderful world where his time is spent planning their menus, listening to their complaints and observing their adventures. Whatever happened to his full-time job as a writer?
Told with great humour and affection, Enough to Make a Cat Laugh is sometimes sad, often funny but always charming, and very soon the Longden family, whether four legged or two, will feel like old friends.
'A funny, sad, and above all, enormously inspiring story' Clare Francis, Action for M.E.
Diana's Story is told by a writer who can transform the bleakest moment with his warmth and wit. It is an extraordinarily funny account of a marriage based on love and on an exceptional sense of humour.
'A remarkable book, warm and sad…laced with a lot of humour'.' - Sunday Express.
‘It’s not easy to stop the tears when you read ‘Diana’s Story.’ Sometimes they are tears of grief, sometimes of laughter. Mostly like much of what’s good about life, they’re both. Chock full of gorgeous, fruity characters, this is a wonderfully rich, life-enchanting read.’ Maureen Lipman (whose late husband, Jack Rosenthal, wrote the screenplay ‘Wide Eyed and Legless’ based on the book)
'A funny, sad, and above all, enormously inspiring story.' Clare Francis, Action for M.E.
'A remarkable book, warm and sad… laced with a lot of humour.’ Sunday Express
‘I’ve been lucky with the women in my life. My mother brought me up to be tough and self-reliant, but at the same time made quite sure she had removed all those stick-out macho edges before she let me loose on the world.
So when I met my first wife, Diana, I was able to delight in her ambition and independence. We were together for twenty seven years, but life became harder for her over the last fifteen as she became more and more ill and paralysed. Diana never received a satisfactory diagnosis in her life. It was the pain and uncertainty of not knowing what was wrong and the endless rounds of visits to hospital and the endless rounds of invasive tests which led nowhere. Diana said about the doctors, ‘I am beginning to feel sorry for them.’ Diana’s life ended in an awful death by accidental drowning in the bath during a blackout.
I never knew about ‘ME’ (myalgic encephalomyelitis) until some time later and when a diagnosis can’t be made with a sufferer, it condemns them to a lifetime of pain and repetitive trials, if only to prove their pain is real and the doctors are wrong.’
The follow up story, Lost For Words was first screened in January 1999, attracting an audience of more than 12 million viewers and won the Emmy for best foreign drama and a BAFTA for Thora Hird as best actress. It was repeated in 2012 following the death of Pete Postlethwaite who starred as Deric.
'A lovely read.' - Good Housekeeping.
'You know, Deric - ten minutes of this rain will do more good in half an hour than a fortnight of ordinary rain in a month.'
Deric Longden's mum was a wonderfully endearing, eccentric lady whose passions ranged from pot plants and her beloved pussycats to Buttercup Syrup which she consumed in vast quantities. She also provided comfort, advice and her own particular brand of wisdom in the years after the death of his first wife, Diana.
Deric's many happy memories include the vision of his mother's unmistakeable backside as she charged through Marks & Spencers; the way in which she charmed everyone she met, including the surliest of youths, and her unusual technique of selling a house which involved plying potential buyers with iced buns whilst pointing out the damp patches and dodgy electrics. Strangely, it worked.
A funny, poignant and ultimately heartwarming book that may well make you cry, but will certainly make you laugh.
Lost For Words was first screened in January 1999, attracting an audience of more than 12 million viewers and won the Emmy for best foreign drama and a BAFTA for Thora Hird as best actress. It was repeated in 2012 following the death of Pete Postlethwaite was starred as Deric.
When Annie Londgen suffers a stroke, her world and her son Deric’s,
suffer a massive change and she finds herself, literally, lost for
My mother’s eccentricity was something the family took for granted, it had always been there – her inventive way with words and her strange logic that was ever so slightly twisted. Deric Longden
‘Do you want to buried Mum or do you want to be cremated?’
‘Oh I don’t know love. Surprise me.’
I can’t imagine how I would feel if it ever came to the point where it would be better for my Mum to be in a home. Deric is naturally one of life’s carers. He’s very sensitive to everybody and he always looks outside himself. It is amazing what he’s been through but he just copes and does what he has to do. That comes out very strongly in the story.’
Pete Postlethwaite (who plays Deric in the screen adaptation of Lost for Words).
‘ Oh, Deric, I've left the key for you.’
‘Thanks Luv, Where abouts?’
‘ I've stuck it in the lock so you can find it.’
‘I’ve grown enormously fond of her (Annie Longden). She’s a comical lady who has conversations with her cat and who sells her house by showing her buyers that it’s falling to pieces. It’s very funny. It appeals to me that there’s comedy in this tragedy.’ Dame Thora Hird (who plays Annie Longden in the screen adaptation of Lost for Words).
The film ‘Lost for Words’ attracted a TV audience of more than 12 million viewers
Won International EMMY for Drama 1999
Nominated for three BAFTAS in 1999 : Won Best Actress - Dame Thora Hird,
Nominated for Best Single Drama and for Best Actor - Pete Postlethwaite
Royal Television Award for Best Actor – Dame Thora Hird
National Television Award for Most Popular Actress - Dame Thora Hird
George Foster Peabody Award (Peabody Awards) for excellence in broadcasting.
by Deric Longden (1 Dec 2012) - Kindle eBook
since Dame Thora Hird breathed life into the role of Deric Longden’s
mother in 'Wide Eyed and Legless’. She had been on at him to write a
play based on the
sequel, ‘Lost For Words’.
‘And don’t hang about, I’m eighty – three, you know.’
But life doesn’t run in straight lines for Deric. Apart form his duties as official guide dog to his blind wife, the writer Aileen Armitage, he is at the beck and call of three and a half cats, a somewhat bemused vole and a tap-dancing squirrel. He also had a book to finish, so the screenplay had to take a back seat for the time being.
But Dame Thora didn’t give up. She rang him regularly, ‘Come on, lad, get a move on. I’m eighty-five, you know.’
By the time she was eighty-six Deric had finished the script. In January 1999 ’Lost for Words’ was finally televised – by which time Dame Thora was eighty-seven going on thirty–two.
In ’A Play on Words’ he describes the unique experience of seeing at close hand his book – and importantly part of his own life – turn into a film and the continuing chaos of his private world. Somehow or other, despite the usual hilarious interruptions, his own brand of literary work gets done, influenced by such matters as rag and bone men, the Moscow State Circus and crinkle-cut beetroot- and the usual cast of characters.