Jan Leeming - Addicted to Love
By Jan Leeming
Twice voted Newsreader of the Year and TV Personality of the Year, Jan Leeming has had a long and varied career in television. In 2003 she released her autobiography 'Addicted to Love'. Never before released as an audio book, Jan now takes to the Podcast airwaves to put that right.
"Someone needs to give Jan Leeming her own show, immediately. The woman is a revelation" - Stuart Heritage, The Guardian 1/2/2010
"Someone needs to give Jan Leeming her own show, immediately. The woman is a revelation" - Stuart Heritage, The Guardian 1/2/2010
My Search for Rene Mouchotte
When Jan Leeming received an invitation to the annual Battle of Britain Memorial Day in July 2007 she had no idea of the journey it would set her upon. After sponsoring a name on the Memorial she set about finding out more about the stranger she had been allocated. "After a professional lifetime of interviewing and researching I was eager to find out more.... up came Rene's name on a Google search and the fact that he had written diaries during the war, which were published post-war... I am a romantic, pure and simple, and decided I would source a copy of the original diaries in French. Finding a copy in an antiquarian bibliotheque in Belgium, I sent off the very reasonable sum of 10 Euros plus postage and soon received a copy with, would you believe, a little calling card stuck inside the cover to a Monsieur and Madame Griser, thanking them and sending her best wishes from 'Madame O. Mouchotte'. What were the chances of that happening and that book ending up in my possesion? I did not realise then that I was 'on a mission' and the more delving I did, the more I discovered, and the more deeply moved I became." In a special episode of her successful podcast Jan Leeming charts her journey to bring the story of Rene Mouchotte to television and their republication.
November 01, 2022
Chapter Fourteen - Kent and Chris
Jan Leeming concludes the reading of her autobiography 'Addicted to Love' - taking us back to 2002. Romance beckons again and leads to a move to Kent. She talks of her friendship with Jill Dando "I was incredibly flattered when Jill told me I'd been her role model in my days at HTV" and how sunflowers remind her of her. Then returning home she finds a note from her husband and her world falls apart "It took a second or two for reality to dawn. I still remember the cold shiver that went through my body despite the warmth of the day. I felt dizzy and faint and heard an agonized cry from a long distance. I realised the cry was mine." This is the final episode of this series of Jan Leeming's 'Addicted to Love'. The series will be back later in the year. "In the words of Audrey Hepburn's character in the film, Roman Holiday - 'I was born with an enormous need for affection and a terrible need to give it.' I am 'Addicted to Love.'"
July 12, 2022
Chapter Thirteen - The Darkest Days
Reeling from her separation Jan plans a trip to South Africa but the press soon get word of her woes and pursue her for a story. She accepts a job on The Big Breakfast "It was pure adrenalin that kept me going, as I'd had very little sleep for days" before jetting off. "Not only did I miss my husband desperately, but there was no regular work to take my mind off the situation, and I was concerned about the future financially. I knew the house would have to go. It had always been seen as the largest part of my pension plan, to be sold when we retired and to capitalise on the asset. On my own I couldn't afford to retain it. I ran away again." After five weeks in Australia she returns to the UK and begins to rebuild her life. A cruise to the Norwegian fjords with her son strengthens her resolve and she makes plans to move forward "I needed closure and initiated steps to divorce. I needed that finality so that I wouldn't still be living in hope. I had to face the future on my own, to get stronger and thank God for all the good things in my life."
July 05, 2022
Chapter Twelve - The Luckiest Woman on Earth?
Jan causes controversy when Labour's communications director Peter Mandelson writes to the BBC to complain about her recording a Party Political Broadcast for the Conservatives. Plans progress for her forthcoming marriage, to be held in Provence and she becomes one of the first presenters on This Morning, hosting the strand 'Makers' which viewers go wild for. "I've always been fascinated by the Arts and Crafts world and we covered so many interesting subjects: the making of love spoons; creating lifelike pictures of animals from the dyed, dried grass Hare's tails; glass blowing; the making of automata. The series must have been popular, because we went on to make twenty more." She works with Sir Peter Ustinov on a documentary for American television on Jack the Ripper; with Susan George and Simon MacCorkindale on the film 'Stealing Heaven'; and gives her thoughts to Marks & Spencer on what was wrong with their local stores. Then a shock announcement sends her world into turmoil.
June 28, 2022
Chapter Eleven - Leaving the BBC
Jan becomes a firm favourite of TV viewers with viewing figures for the Sunday evening News being watched by over 14 million people. Following the breakdown of her marriage she begins to see Eric Steenson and tells of some of the events she was invited to: "I remember most when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman put in an appearance. They arrived by helicopter and instead of being driven from the field... someone had organised a 'bridge' across the small stream so they could walk directly into the grounds. Sarah trotted across very daintily but Andrew slipped and fell with both legs straddling the plank. Ouch! Remembering his rudeness to me I'm ashamed to say I smiled broadly. But then so did a lot of other people! Sarah was lovely." A change of agents ahead of a BBC Newsroom reshuffle does nothing to help her position and despite still topping polls she is given a shorter contract and told "the BBC would prefer it if I made no waves and that if I didn't 'there would be other work' for me." She recounts her memories of colleagues and friends, (as well as journalists) Richard Baker, Paul Daniels, Anne Robinson, Esther Rantzen, Sue Lawley, Selina Scott, Robert Lindsay, Emma Thompson, Russell Harty among them.
June 21, 2022
Chapter Ten - Eric
Jan Leeming continues reading her 2003 autobiography 'Addicted to Love'. Her professional life on a high, Jan publishes her beauty book 'Simply Looking Good', but separation from her husband leads to some ingenious ways to avoid the press. "We propped up a ladder and I went over the dividing fence into their garden. Then the neighbour drove out of his garage, with me lying low on the back seat.... and drove to a rendezvous point and transferred me to our car." A chance meeting with Eric Steenson turns into something serious and the couple enjoy a holiday in Provence. "Provence is superb in the autumn, when most of the tourists have left and one can see the sights in comfort and still enjoy warm sunshine. It was still warm enough to eat al fresco. We ate in, we ate out, and we made love - so much so that at one point Eric suggested that I occupy myself with reading a book."
June 14, 2022
Chapter Nine - Patrick and Jonathan
Jan receives a call from Miss World and upsets Sacha Distel. A strange phone call puts plans on hold for a return to Australia and Jan gets married to Patrick Lunt. Then her popularity on BBC News forces her to make a serious career decision. "I was offered a year's contract to read news... If I accepted the year's contract then I had to give up my 'staff contract' status with radio. It was all heady stuff and there really was no choice. I went for the 'big time', accepting the insecurity of a contract." She recounts, with affection, her years reading BBC News and her memories of Eurovision 1982 which she presented live to over 300 million television viewers around the world. Royal Variety performances, I've Got a Secret and singing live on the Russell Harty Show.
June 07, 2022
Chapter Eight - BBC Radio 2
An unexpected phone call from BBC Radio 2 takes Jan Leeming to London. "I passed the audition with flying colours and was offered a one-year contract in London. I didn't mind working on radio rather than television at all and was absolutely delighted to have a job." She recounts the rise of the 'personality' DJ in the late seventies and how Noel Edmonds delighted in trying to make her 'corpse' on air. With Radio 2 extending its schedule to 24hrs comes the opportunity to front three shows a week - just at 2am in the morning! Considering her options, Jan returns to Australia and her great friend Michael Laurence, and meets Howard Keel. "Our regular listeners were insomniacs, shift workers, old people and many who were simply lonely in the wee small hours of the night and listened to the radio for comfort. I feel radio is a much more intimate medium than television."
May 31, 2022
Chapter Seven - HTV and Pebble Mill at One
Jan Leeming continues her story. Settled in Bristol her TV series 'Women Only' goes from strength to strength, leading to a call from the BBC and a midweek move to Birmingham to present Pebble Mill. "Marion and I took a brave pill and, feeling that there might be safety in numbers, the two of us had a meeting with Terry in which we pointed out the injustice of our salaries compared with those of the men, plus the fact that we had to run our homes and pay for accommodation in Birmingham. Mr Dobson's answer: 'Ladies, if you don't like it, there's the door.'" She recounts some of the memorable interviews from that time. From Robert Morley to David Soul; Andy Williams to Omar Sharif; as well as her less favourite encounters with Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Charles Aznavour.
May 24, 2022
Chapter Six - Bristol and Jeremy
Jan Leeming's story returns to Bristol as she takes a job with HTV, presenting a 'new programme for women' - Women Only - to go out twice a week and the local evening news programme Report West. "... in the 1970s, the jobs were all held by men. In fact, I think HTV was one of the first companies to have a female boom operator. She was a tiny dot of a girl called Patty, who had worked her way up from the HTV post room and was justifiably proud of making it into a job traditionally held by a man." With Women Only a success, drawing top guests, and syndicated to other regions, Jan settles into life in Bristol where she meets her second husband Jeremy Gilchrist, "He spoke beautifully, with none of the mannerisms of a public schoolboy but all the clarity of diction that I love. In terms of colour, his voice would be golden brown and sexy. He also had beautiful eyes and lovely hair. The rest of him was pretty damned perfect as well!"
May 18, 2022
Chapter Five - The West Country and John
Jan Leeming continues the reading of her 2003 Autobiography 'Addicted to Love'. Sent out with a Uher (the old recording machines reporters used to record interviews) settles into life as a News Reporter at BBC Plymouth before an opportunity to host a new scientific programme for children - Tom Tom - arises. "I remember the audition quite well. You were put on the spot by having to talk knowledgeably about a scientific object that had only been cursorily explained to you. Then there was one minute describing a strange blob of black wood with a hole in it and suggestions as to what it might possibly be. This was followed by a two-minute talk on a subject of your choice, with no chance to write any notes. I went into full flow about my meeting with the opal miner in the outback of Australia." A chance road accident derails her career once more, but then comes a call from HTV with an idea for a groundbreaking TV series.
May 10, 2022
Chapter Four - Home Again
Jan Leeming returns to the UK heartbroken. Devastated by her loss she travels back through Singapore, Kowloon and Hong Kong and sets about getting her Equity card - "In Australia I'd been assured that British Equity would honour my card but they didn't, so I had to set about getting one. It's a silly catch-22 situation. You couldn't get a card until you had a job and you couldn't have a job until you got a card." Turning down work at the Bunny Club, Park Lane and in a new series called 'Crossroads', she finds herself in Manchester working at Granada Television and living in a small miner's cottage owned by Pat Phoenix. Before fate once more takes a hand and a bad car crash leads to a new look.
May 03, 2022
Chapter Three - Australia, Hayo and Michael
The summer of 1965 sees Jan Leeming 'chilling out in the sun on a beach with a bag of fruit and a good book' in Darling Point, Australia. She recounts the story of her romance with Hayo Niebor, a 'dark, handsome man with Lain matinee idol good looks' and theatre success in Sydney, Melbourne and Victoria. Friends from dress designer Carla Zampatti to actor Michael Laurence. Her life seemed settled, until a cruel twist of fate once again shaped her destiny. "I am a fairly naive person in many ways, but even I could see where this one was heading. I've never been good at turning down a man with a blunt 'I don't fancy you' or 'You're not my type'. I usually soften the blow with the excuse that it's the wrong time of the month , or that I have a headache. I must have hurt Paul's ego dreadfully, because I remember saying 'I'm sorry but I really have to go home and do my washing.' I don't think any man would believe you would do your smalls at midnight. I did not get the part."
April 26, 2022
Chapter Two - New Zealand and Owen
Jan Leeming continues the reading of her autobiography 'Addicted to Love'. In this episode she recounts her first failed dinner party; the history behind her name; her diet beliefs and her early touring theatre career. She tells how in 1965 a chance audition led her to become the first woman newsreader in Australia and of her love of France, inspired by her great friend Owen Leeming. From Bangkok to New Zealand, Jan shares her thoughts and memories - and even the secret of her hair tone. "I was now about to embark on a seven-month tour of New South Wales covering 17,000 miles and roughing it, travelling in a van with eight folk who represented almost every category of sexual preference known in the sixties."
April 19, 2022
Preface & Acknowledgements and Chapter One - 'Childhood and Marriage'
"I was born in 1942 in the middle of the Second World War, and have hazy memories of doodlebugs, or V-1s ... to which we were highly susceptible, as we lived in Woolwich, south-east London. I remember the river used to stink of rotten eggs in hot weather." Television Legend Jan Leeming (BBC News, I'm A Celebrity, Real Marigold Hotel, Safari School, This Morning) reads her 2003 Autobiography 'Addicted to Love'. IN THIS EPISODE: Jan reveals her first starring role as King Canute; her time at Convent school; her first crushes (Laurence Harvey in 'Romeo and Juliet' Universalcine 1954); her love of Shakespeare and inability at Latin; her arrival at the BBC - working in the Programme Correspondence Section; meeting Owen Leeming and her first marriage to John Staple. If you have any questions for Jan, please use the Q&A button below. For bookings and availability contact: Simon@simonwhittam.com 01237 721475
April 12, 2022
COMING SOON - Jan Leeming's 'Addicted to Love', read by the author.
Twice voted Newsreader of the Year by the Television and Radio Industries Club and Pye TV Personality of the Year, Jan Leeming has had a long and varied career in television although she began her working life as a secretary in the BBC followed by a period of professional theatre in Australia. Her sunny nature, coupled with a thoroughly professional manner, endeared her to millions of viewers. In 2003 she released her autobiography 'Addicted to Love'. Never before released as an audio book, Jan now takes to the Podcast airwaves to put that right. "Someone needs to give Jan Leeming her own show, immediately. The woman is a revelation" - Stuart Heritage, The Guardian 1/2/2010 Work enquiries: Simon@simonwhittam.com 01237 721475
April 06, 2022
April 6, 2022
April 06, 2022