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I have been a fan of Lynda Bellingham for many years. A talented British actress, you may know her from At Home With the Braithwaites, Confessions of a Driving Instructor, All Creatures Great and Small or as the Inquisitor in Doctor Who in 1986. She was also very well-known as the mum in the Oxo adverts and more recently has been in Strictly Come Dancing and is a regular presenter on Loose Women. I think Lynda is great and very inspirational. Her opinions on Loose Women are often witty and incisive and she is not afraid to say what she thinks. She has not had an easy life though and over her years on Loose Women, she has mentioned a few of the problems she has dealt with, so I was very interested to read her autobiography and discover more about her.
Lynda is in her early sixties now and in 2008, she married her third husband Michael Pattemore, who viewers of Loose Women will know as Mr. Spain! She talks about all her marriages in her autobiography and is incredibly frank and candid, especially about the violence and intimidation she suffered under the hands of her second husband, Italian Nunzio Peloso, who is the father of Lynda’s two sons, Michael and Robert.
Her autobiography is called Lost and Found – My Story and my copy is a 358-page hardback which was published in 2010 and has a cover price of £17.99, though I bought it cheaper from Amazon. It is currently priced at £10.39 but the paperback is due out next month for £5.24.
The Lost and Found of the title are detailed in the book, with the Lost section taking the first 200 or so pages and the last 150 or so pages are devoted to the Found section. Most of this is to do with Lynda being adopted and her search for her birth mother. She was born in Montreal, Canada as Meredith Lee Hughes to her mother Marjorie, but circumstances dictated that her mother put her up for adoption. Her adoptive parents were Don and Ruth Bellingham who adopted baby Meredith in 1948 and brought her back to England, bringing her up as Lynda.
She explains in her book about her childhood, being brought up in England with her parents and siblings and how, years later, she looked for and found her birth mother Marjorie. I won’t go into the details here, as it is a story worth reading and Lynda describes it very well.
As you would expect with an actor’s autobiography, Lynda’s training at Drama School and her career is detailed, though this section never drags or is boring. She mentions a few relationships and some gossipy anecdotes, but it doesn’t come across as bitchy or exploitative at all. It is often fascinating reading and with my own daughter at Drama School, I recommended she read this too, as it provides a few interesting hints if you are looking for a career in this area.
As you would expect, there are some photographs included here and a stunning front cover, where Lynda looks amazing! There are two sections of photos amongst the text and these include childhood shots, film stills, wedding photos, pictures of her sons, a lovely photo of Lynda with Marjorie and more recent photos with Michael Pattemore and the Loose Women girls.
There have been lots of recent celebrity autobiographies coming out from twenty-somethings who have really done very little in their short time on the planet. This cannot be said about Lynda Bellingham, whose career spans decades and she certainly has plenty to talk about. It is a good mixture of her personal life and her professional life and I certainly found it an interesting read and felt that I learned a lot more about her. If I had any criticism, it would be that the text is sometimes rather dry. I could hear Lynda’s voice throughout the book, but just occasionally it became slightly dull in certain sections.
I would have liked to read less about her second husband Nunzio and more about her time filming Doctor Who and competing in Strictly Come Dancing, but that is my personal taste and I am sure many other readers will feel she has got the balance perfectly right. Either way, it is worth persevering with the book and finish reading it, as Lost and Found is a fascinating story and written very well overall.