Jenny Abramsky: My Week

The BBC's former director of audio and music reflects on why being made a dame is really much easier than it sounds
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The Independent Online


I have tea with my 92 year-old dad who I try to see as often as I can. He's wonderful and he always gives me his views on what's happening in the world. My husband had an accident six weeks ago so I spend much of today looking after him. He broke his heel in eight places after falling off a ladder and the consultants likened putting his heel back together to doing a jigsaw. I take him to University College Hospital because his blood levels are terrible. He's gone from one nightmare to another. It's been a bit of a roller coaster over Christmas.


I go off with my daughter to the wedding of one of my dearest friends who is getting married in a pavilion in London Zoo, which is an extraordinary place to get married. My daughter is one of the bridesmaids. It's a lovely occasion. To see two people of my age finding love is really special, and they all look terrific. There are about 40 people and it is great to catch up with lots of my old friends from the BBC.


My phone goes at 7.30am. It's my father, who is terribly excited to find out I have been made a dame in the New Year's honours list. I found out a few weeks before Christmas, when my husband was having his second operation. I received the letter and it cheered me up no end. I told my husband but you're sworn to secrecy so you have to be careful. I receive texts and calls from people all day telling me how thrilled they are for me. Some friends come over for lunch and then in the evening our children, two of our closest friends, Helene Hayman, the Speaker of the House of Lords, and her husband, and their children all come over. The young ones go off partying while the four of us have dinner. We are in bed before midnight but our children phone us at 12 o'clock to say Happy New Year.


Just before I left the BBC, where I was director of audio and music, I heard about Roger Wright, the director of the Proms, creating the Doctor Who Prom for children. I was so upset not to see it but I heard it had been a wonderful success. It is being shown on television today so I sit down to watch it. It is joyous to see all these children looking with total amazement and appreciation at an orchestra. I take my hat off to Roger Wright for creating such a wonderful and exciting event that clearly grabbed children's imagination.


I take my husband back to hospital again to have his plaster cast changed. In the evening some great friends from Canada come over for dinner. We usually meet up every year at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, so it's lovely to see them over here for a change. Last year we saw one of the very first sneak previews of Slumdog Millionaire, which was absolutely terrific. Despite what people may think – with the honours list and all – it has truly been one of the quietest weeks I have ever spent.