Deric Longden

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Deric Longden


Deric Longden is our Editor Annie's step-dad. His first book DIANA'S STORY was made into a film called Wide Eyed and Legless starring Julie Walters as Diana, Dame Thora Hird and Jim Broadbent as Deric.

Thora Hird also starred in his second film and she received a BAFTA for Best Actress for LOST FOR WORDS. Deric and his wife Aileen Armitage flew to New York to pick up an International EMMY. 
Deric's brilliantly written, funny and unbearably sad film Lost For Words was on ITV again. Pete Postlethwaite plays Deric.
Both books had gone out of print, so now Bibliophile has, as a publisher, created eBooks of both titles which are available on Amazon Kindle (click links).


Laugh, remember Deric with us and enjoy these funnies.

Bibliophile proudly announces the publication of another eBook to commemorate the anniversary of poor dear Deric's passing.

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. 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.

We discovered manuscripts filed in my late step-father Deric Longden's basement and have curated and collated the best from his radio broadcasts and have published them in chunks of 100 or so short stories each, TAKE 1, TAKE 2 and this week TAKE 3.

Deric Longden kindle books. Also available on Kobo and Nook.



 Radio Times: Take 3 by Deric Longden ) - Kindle eBook 

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  • 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.



Radio Times: Take 1 by Deric Longden (13 Mar 2014) - Kindle eBook

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Radio Times: Take 2 by Deric Longden (14 Mar 2014) - Kindle eBook

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Tailpieces is a special personal collection of his favourite short stories and articles on cats.

 50 amusing short stories for cat lovers by Emmy and BAFTA-winning author Deric Longden. Each demonstrate his unique blend of humour, observation and his fun and adventures with his various adoptive cats. 



Tailpieces by Deric Longden (12 Jun 2012) - Kindle eBook

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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.



Diana's Story by Deric Longden (1 Mar 2011) - Kindle eBook

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Lost For Words by Deric Longden (18 Feb 2011) - Kindle eBook

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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.



The Cat Who Came In From The Cold by Deric Longden (28 Nov 2012) - Kindle eBook

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Enough To Make A Cat Laugh by Deric Longden (28 Nov 2012) - Kindle eBook

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I'm A Stranger Here Myself by Deric Longden (28 Nov 2012) - Kindle eBook

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A Play On Words by Deric Longden (1 Dec 2012) - Kindle eBook

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Comments: 4
More about: Deric Longden, Diana's Story, Lost For Words

Comments: 4

Annie Quigley |
RE: Deric Longden
If you could kindly pass this along to Mr. Longden, I would appreciate it. Many thanks.

Dear Mr. Longden,

Thank you so much for the wonderful stories you've written. I discovered your cat books when I was in my early 20s, and I have savored every one as I read them. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of introducing these books to other cat lovers in my life. My 9 year old step-daughter, Isabelle, insists on having a chapter read to her every night at bedtime. It's such a delight to hear her giggling over Thermal's antics, and it has really spurred her imagination in relation to our own feline companions. She often tells stories about Thief and Moonlight's adventures, which have evolved from the oral tradition into the written tradition by way of her classwork in school.

I read the article in the Examiner last month and was saddened to hear of your health problems. Please know that prayers, warm thoughts, and gratitude are coming your way from our neck of the woods.

With warm regards,

Amanda Stetka
Barto, Pennsylvania, USA
Annie Quigley |
RE: Deric Longden
Dear Mr. Longden,

I was introduced to your books by my English teacher Paul Fox when I was eleven. The class read The Cat Who Came in from the Cold together, taking it in turns to read a page each out loud. Several years later I was given a signed copy for Christmas and consider it one of my prize possessions.

I recently realised that I had missed out on a number of your books and so took steps to rectify the situation immediately. Over the course of about a month I devoured everything from Diana's Story to Paws in the Proceedings. (I decided that I had possibly over done it slightly when on a train I saw a bag in the luggage rack that had crumpled into the shape of a rather mournful looking face, and spent the rest of the journey making up scenarios about why it was so upset. I now find myself anthropomorphising many objects I see!)

I just wanted to send a quick message to let you know how much joy your books have given me. I know of no other author who can make me laugh, come very close to (extremely manly, obviously) tears, and then laugh again all in the space of a single page. I do not often re-read books as there are always so many new ones clambering for my attention, but I shall revisit yours with great frequency.

Thank you again,

Yours sincerely,

David Spragg.
Guest |
RE: Deric Longden
I discovered Derics books when I was staying in a rather ropey BnB many years ago when I started reading a copy of lost for words which had been left in the room which I was staying in , I had to "borrow" the book when I left...since then I have read them over and over and I am on my second set of paperbacks having lent them to many member of my family and friends........
I am so sad to hear of his illness and it almost feels like a long lost uncle is poorly rather than a favourite author as he has shared so much of himself and his family in his books I feel I know him so well
I wrote to him once and he thanked me for finding him in that romm and sent me a lovely postcard handwritten which I shall treasure.
Thank you Deric for sharing your life, loves and cats with us xxx

Claire Martin coventry
Annie Quigley |
RE: Deric Longden
Annie’s Step Father the writer, broadcaster Deric Longden

Deric Longden

Deric Longden, who has died aged 76, wrote books that brought a gentle and life-enhancing humour to the problems of living with disability.

Deric Longden

7:24PM BST 04 Jul 2013

His first book, Diana’s Story (1989), was a moving account of his life with his first wife, whom he had married in 1957 and who later developed a mysterious illness which was eventually diagnosed as a virulent and painful form of ME. Longden cared for her devotedly for 15 years until her death in 1985.

His book became an immediate bestseller and was later adapted into a BBC drama, Wide-Eyed And Legless (1994). Longden co-wrote the screenplay with Jack Rosenthal, while Julie Walters played Diana and Jim Broadbent took the part of Longden himself.

Diana’s Story was followed by Lost for Words (1991), describing life with his elderly mother as she gradually lost her memory. This too was successfully adapted for the small screen by Longden, with Pete Postlethwaite as the dutiful son to Thora Hird’s portrayal of the eccentric and courageous Annie Longden.

Longden once observed: “I really feel the best humour comes out of despair.” Lost For Words opens with Deric asking: “Do you want to be buried Mum, or shall we have you cremated?” Annie Longden: “Oh, I don’t know, luv. Surprise me.” In another scene, Thora Hird is in hospital when a woman winces with pain as she is pushed past in a wheelchair. “Renal colic,” she says to Thora by way of explanation. “Annie Longden,” replies Thora. “Pleased to meet you.” Thora Hird then whispers to Postlethwaite: “She must be French with a name like that.”

Lost For Words, screened in January 1999, won the Emmy for best foreign drama and a Bafta for Thora Hird as best actress.

Longden was inspired to write his first books by the historical novelist Aileen Armitage, a divorcee with four children who became his second wife in 1990. They had first met in 1984 at a writers’ conference, and he did not realise she was blind (she had lost her sight in the 1960s) until she stubbed out her cigarette in a sugar bowl.

At the conference they discussed writing a television script together about disability, with Diana at the heart of the story. Aileen and Diana became devoted friends, notwithstanding the evident attraction Longden and Aileen felt for one another; indeed, Diana hoped that they would marry after her death.

Deric Longden was born at Chesterfield on November 29 1936. His father died when his son was in infancy, and Deric was brought up by his mother, Annie. Having failed the 11-plus and his O-levels, he worked as a clerk in a colliery at Bolsover.

Thinking he could compete with Janet Reger, Longden then ran a small women’s lingerie factory at Matlock, Derbyshire. In 1974 he decided to enter a BBC Radio Derby 500-word short story competition, under the name “Biro”. He won, and the following year entered under the nom de plume “Papermate”, winning again. When the next year he went for the hat-trick, the producer telephoned him and asked: “Are you by chance 'Parker 51’?” Longden agreed that he was, and was offered a job. He broadcast on BBC Radio Derby, and also supplied jokes for Les Dawson and the Two Ronnies.

Diana’s progressive illness eventually forced him to sell the lingerie factory, in 1984, and thereafter he concentrated on his writing and broadcasting career. He wrote regularly for programmes such as Does He Take Sugar? (which addressed the issues surrounding disability) and Woman’s Hour.

Following the success of Diana’s Story and Lost for Words, Longden published a series of books describing his life with Aileen Armitage and their cats, among them The Cat Who Came in from the Cold; I’m a Stranger Here Myself; Enough to Make a Cat Laugh; and Paws in the Proceedings.

Deric Longden, who had been suffering from cancer, is survived by Aileen Armitage, by a daughter and son of his marriage to Diana, and by four stepchildren.

Deric Longden, born November 29 1936, died June 23 2013
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